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The rescue of a live Nativity scene speaks volumes about Christmas


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Cerith Gardiner - published on 12/05/22

In Ireland, a 27-year-old Christmas tradition involving real life animals nearly came to an end.

There was recently a little Christmas controversy in Dublin, when Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy decided to cancel the live animal Christmas crib that has taken place outside Mansion House for the last 27 years.

Her decision didn’t go down too well with Dubliners, however. In fact, the Office of Public Works (OPW) took it upon themselves to find a new location for the Nativity scene just up the road from its original site.

According to Dublin Live, an OPW spokesperson shared:

“A firm Christmas tradition and beloved institution for many, young and old, the Live Animal Crib will be back on 8 December in a new, central location in the heart of the capital. This year, the Summer House in St. Stephen’s Green Park will provide shelter to a donkey, two sheep, and a goat, gathered around a scene which captures the Nativity story that unfolded in Bethlehem over two millennia ago.”

The animals will be kept safe and sound during the live scenes. The owners will be there to take care of the four-footed actors, who will certainly help bring the Christmas story to life, and spectators will have to view their performance from behind a barrier.

The animals will also be ensured a good night’s rest after their daily performance: they will return to their farm to get some country air before taking up their roles the following day.

Their participation is reminiscent of the first live Nativity scene that St. Francis of Assisi created. So it is lovely that Dubliners fought hard to make sure this Christmas tradition was maintained.

And as the president of the Irish Farmer’s Association, Tim Cullinan, pointed out:

“The Live Animal Crib is a central part of the pre-Christmas experience in Dublin. It also allows children to see animals in a traditional Nativity scene. The Crib also serves to bring rural and urban communities together.”

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