Down District Council



Released: 22 November 2011

You better watch out, you better not shout, Santa Claus is coming to Down!

Everyone is preparing for the forthcoming Christmas season and nowhere is more in tune with its festive preparation than Downpatrick, as it makes way for the annual Christkindl Festival, which will run from Thursday 1 December to Saturday 24 December 2011.

As children eagerly count down the days to Christmas Eve, Downpatrick is preparing for a visit from Santa on Thursday 1 December for the Christmas lights switch-on, which will take place in the newly completed St Patrick’s Square from 6.30pm. Come along early to meet BBC Radio Ulster’s Alan Simpson, as he mingles with shoppers.  St Patrick’s Square will come alive with Narnia characters as some of the UK and Ireland’s leading stilt performers weave through the crowds.

The shops will be decorated with a Narnia theme and shop assistants will be dressed in costumes to create a real buzz and charm in the county town. Why not become your favourite Narnia character with free themed face painting by local art and design students from Downpatrick South Eastern Regional College?

There will be live music from Ireland’s freshest and youngest band, The Professionals, who are currently taking the country’s music scene by storm. With plenty of other musical entertainment on offer to get you in the mood for the festive season wrap up warm and come and have a ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’.

Following a very busy year of planning, hard work and excitement, Down Arts Centre is finally ready to open her doors. After the Christmas lights switch-on in St Patrick’s Square, follow the Snow Queen to Scotch Street to listen to the sound of Festival Brass. Wander through the Christmas exhibition in the gallery and pick up that special Christmas gift in the craft shop. For further information on all of the events taking place in Down Arts Centre this festive season contact 028 4461 2233.

As well as this fabulous event, there will be a host of other seasonal activities to entertain you and all the family, right through to the big day. Remember to book your visit to see Santa at The Saint Patrick Centre, where the kingdom of Narnia will be there for all to discover from Wednesday 30 November to Saturday 24 December.  Contact 028 4461 9000 for full details.

Downpatrick and County Down Railway will operate their magical Lapland Express on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November and every Saturday and Sunday until Sunday 18 December. Children will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus on board his steam train, but remember to book in advance so you don’t miss out! Contact 028 4461 5779 for more information.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the seasonal pantomime and this year the district is hosting c21 Theatre Company’s production of ‘Hansel & Gretel’, on Friday 2 December in The Great Hall, Downpatrick. Tickets are available by booking direct on 028 4461 2233. The McPeake Christmas Band Concert on Friday 9 December in Down Arts Centre is one of the highlights of this festive season. The band will play Christmas music from Ireland, popular carols and instrumental numbers, upbeat dance tunes and original McPeake compositions to celebrate the Christmas season. Tickets are available by booking direct on 028 4461 2233.

Down Cathedral will once again hold several carol services featuring the Down High service on Monday 19 December, leading up to the Community Carol Service on Friday 24 December. For more details contact 028 4461 4922.

For further information on the full range of events across the district and a FREE copy of the festival programme, contact Downpatrick Tourist Information Centre on 028 4461 2233 or visit |