December 8th has historically been a key date in the lead up to Christmas as shoppers from across the country would travel up to the Big Smoke for what’s been jokingly called ‘Culchie Shopping Day’.
We at The City managed to speak to a number of people from outside the Pale to see what the day involves for them.
Sarah Cummins (24), a student doctor from Tullamore, Co. Offaly, tells us of the traditions behind her annual pilgrimage: “It all started when I was younger, my mam would take us up to Dublin each year. Until I was 18, it was the only reason I’d ever had for coming up! We would all get the earliest bus up, have breakfast in the cafe, then spend the day on the move. I think I’ve seen more of the inside of Arnotts than any other part of the city.”
Betty O’Sullivan (40), a former receptionist from Ventry, Co. Kerry, still uses the day to prepare for her family’s Christmas: “It was less busy than I would remember, maybe it’s because it’s a weekday. I used to be given the day off each year, so we would pack the car up [and] spend the day in town. My daughter lives in Dublin now, so the last two years I’ve come up the night before and stayed with her. It’s just a great excuse to see her.”
James Munro (21), a student from Navan, Co. Meath, no longer enjoys the traditions: “When I was younger there used to be a big thing about going to Dublin on the 8th, but we haven’t really done it in years. The deals aren’t necessarily worth it and you have too many options, with Blanch being closer too. We do most of the shopping on the internet now anyway.”
Sadhbh Long (20), a student from Dublin claims it’s not always just been a day for the non-Dubs: “I remember town would always be jammers on the 8th, but my mam would always traditionally bring us in to see Santa. I guess thinking back the atmosphere was what made it so special.”