The live crib has officially returned to Dublin’s Mansion House.
The almost 30 year tradition sees the Christmas nativity scene recreated using live farm animals on one of the city's main streets.
This year's crib features sheep, a goat and a donkey, supplied by farmer Fionn Sherlock - maintaining his own family tradition of providing the animals.
The crib was the centre of heated debate last year when then-Lord Mayor and Green Party councillor Caroline Conroy raised animal welfare concerns, which ultimately led to it being relocated to Stephen’s Green.
"Will you bring back the crib?"
Current Lord Mayor Daithí de Róiste says he’s delighted to bring the Christmas tradition back;
"When I was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin on 26th June, it is far and away the most common question that I got - 'Lord Mayor, will you bring back the crib?'"
He also welcomed some positivity in the city following the riots on November 23rd;
"It's so, so important, especially when we consider the events of the last week and a half to have a bit of Christmas cheer."
The crib was officially unveiled on Dawson Street this morning, with Lucan Gospel Choir and the ‘Little Angels’ from St. Josephs Nursery on Morning Star Road entertaining those in attendance.
It was also blessed by Rev. Paul Arbuthnot from St. Anne’s Church, Dawson Street and Fr. Enda Cunningham from St. Andrew’s Church, Westland Row.
The live crib has returned to Dublin's Mansion House.
Last year saw it moved to Stephen's Green following animal welfare concerns from the then Lord Mayor.
Welcoming the animals' return, the IFA says, "You can see how happy and relaxed they are there in their straw beds." pic.twitter.com/WaYNtOfZiZ
— Ellen Butler (@LN_but) December 6, 2023
Not everyone is keen on the idea though.
John Carmody is among the animal rights campaigners calling for the tradition to be scrapped once and for all, describing it as heartless and cruel;
"There's traffic passing up and down, and people are stopping to gawk in at these poor animals.
"There was a time in Ireland when we were ignorant towards the feelings and suffering of people and animals, and we now need to move on from those dark days."
The staging of the live crib involves a partnership between the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Irish Farmers' Association that dates back to 1995.
Director-General of the IFA, Damian McDonald denies that there are any animal welfare issues;
"He [Fionn] brings them home every evening and brings them back in. Anyone who knows anything about animals can see how happy and relaxed they are there in their straw beds. For farmers, they look after their animals 365 days a year. Farmers would feed their animals before they'd feed themselves."
You can visit Dublin’s resident sheep, goat and donkey from today until Saturday 23rd December from 11am to 5pm daily, and on Christmas Eve from 11am to 1pm.