The organisers of one Christmas market in an Irish town have come up with a heartwarming way to reach out to the elderly this Christmas.
The organisers behind the Strandhill Christmas Market in Sligo are encouraging people to offer their elderly neighbours a lift to this year’s market to include them on the festive fun.
And those who bring their elderly neighbours along for a welcome bit of festive cheer will be treated, along with their guests, to a free cup of coffee or mulled wine at the market from the unique ‘Driftwood Coffee Cart’.
“This time of the year can be particularly difficult for the elderly; people who’ve lost their partners, or whose children have moved too far away to visit. It’s easy to forget that the family-oriented holiday season can be the loneliest of times for people with no relatives,” said Allan Mulrooney, founder of Strandhill People’s Market, (SPM) which is behind the Christmas Market.
“That’s why we will have a warming cup of something for those who would like to bring an elderly neighbour or friend along so they can too can soak up some of that nice vibe.”
Strandhill People’s Market, now in its fourth year, opened its Christmas market last Friday, 1 December. Based in the unique surrounds of Sligo Airport’s Hangar, the market has become one of the biggest along the Wild Atlantic Way with over 50 stalls to choose from on each date.
The organisers behind the family-friendly venue are constantly looking for new ways to expand its audience and make it an event for everyone to enjoy. In October, they hosted the inaugural Strandhill Food Festival – the first to be held in an actual airport.
This December, they’ve brought back late-night opening at the market – it’s on every Friday leading up to Christmas.
The market has already proven to have had a significant economic impact on the surrounding area, creating employment, generating visitor spend, and making a substantial contribution to the winter economy in Sligo.
Visitors to this year’s Christmas market will have a chance to purchase high-quality gifts, and indulge in hearty food from the artisan food and craft producers that will descend on the village for the festive markets.
New to this year’s market include:
- Carrow Coffee. Based on Carrowgarry Farm, Sligo, the new roasting business is run by coffee enthusiasts, Andrew and Paola who used to live in Colombia.
Andrew, whose background is in journalism, spent four years covering the topic of coffee for international news agency Bloomberg News, in Colombia.
After taking a course in roasting, Andrew and Paola decided to return to his family farm in Sligo and set up their own roasting business. Since introducing their coffee at the Christmas market, they’ve been selling out fast.
Also featuring at this year’s market is
- ‘West-Strand By Nina’ – an Austrian who uses an 18th century Austrian technique to create slippers and other products from 100% wool. The craft — called Doggln’ back in Nina’s hometown of Westendorf, – has proved a hit with visitors to the market.
Strandhill People’s Christmas market takes place every Friday, 5 – 9pm and every Sunday, 11 – 4pm up until Christmas.
More at strandhillpeoplesmarket.ie