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Time to Celebrate the Winter Solstice in Waterford

Unveiling of a gigantic new clock at the Irish Museum of Time and countdown to a Winter Firedance Firework display at Winterval

A wonderful winter solstice celebration is planned for Waterford City on the evening of December 21st 2022. The collaborative event planned by the Waterford City Arts Office, the Waterford Treasures Irish Museum of Time and the Winterval festival will offer a historic moment, live music and a fireworks display.

The evening will commence at 8pm on the Plaza with a pre-celebration for the winter solstice meanwhile, at 8:15 at the Museum of Time at Greyfriars where a very special new outside clock, named Tempus Fugit (Time Flies) will be unveiled by the Mayor of Waterford Cllr. John O’Leary, horologists David Boles and Colman Curran and a representative of Fáilte Ireland. The clock, which has been designed by artists Eithne Ring and Liam Lavery of Cork and created by Keating Fabrication in Waterford, is an elaborate design featuring wings spanning about six metres; the wings are made up of seven steel dials each. It will chime on the hour and once the sun sets visitors can admire the colourful lighting on the wings and main clock face.

Members of the public are invited to join the occasion where the new clock will be unveiled following a performance from the Thomas Francis Meagher Fife and Drum Band at Greyfriars. Following the unveiling of the clock, once the chimes complete a countdown to the fireworks at 9 pm the city will be alight as the Winter Solstice is celebrated.

This is the 2nd year of the Winter Firedance – the award nominated celebration of the December Solstice. There will be great music on the William Vincent Wallace Plaza from 8pm culminating with the spectacular ‘Skydance’ Fireworks display at 9pm sharp.

Speaking of the new clock and its relevance for the solstice, Director of Waterford Treasures Museum Collection Eamonn McEneaney says: “Over 7,000 years ago our first farmers celebrated the Winter Solstice as a major turning point in the year. It heralded longer days and the beginning of a new cycle of growth. As Ireland’s only Museum of Time, we are delighted to continue to celebrate the Winter Solstice and its significance to timekeeping. The sun has always been tremendously important to the telling of time and for centuries watch- and clock-makers have relied on it to calibrate their timepieces. We would like to thank David Boles, co-founder of the Irish Museum of Time, and Fáilte Ireland, without whose support this sculpture would not have been possible.”

Funding for the creation of this imaginative clock has been very generously supported by Fáilte Ireland’s Urban Animation Scheme and by horologist David Boles and has been supported by Waterford City and County Council.

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals and Events, “Urban animation plays an increasingly important role in transforming and reimagining our public spaces as safe, welcoming and vibrant places to visit. This is important in attracting visitors to our towns and cities and increasing dwell time, to support local tourism and hospitality businesses and jobs. The new clock that is being unveiled on December 21st is part of Fáilte Ireland’s Urban Animation project “City of Lights” in Waterford City, which is due to launch in 2023. Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and this project will bring old tales to life in new, innovative ways, so they can be enjoyed by visitors, as well as the local community.”

In addition to the celebrations on the Quayside, the Winterval festival will remain open late until 9.30 pm on the evening of December 21st.

Billed as Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, Winterval in Waterford offers a trail of 38 events with 25 on offer free of charge in addition to the special one-off events to celebrate the festival’s 10th birthday celebrations from November 18th to December 23rd.

Highlights include the Gerbola Christmas Circus, the vintage Ferris wheel at Arundel Square, a vintage carousel, the Port of Waterford Eye, the Winterval Mini Express train, a virtual ride in Santa’s sleigh, plus a Wizards and Dragons interactive exhibition and even Santa Paws for doggies. Waterford’s heritage takes a prime position with Déise Medieval who will host a traditional Viking Settlement, plus Santa’s Central Station is on Broad Street where he is meeting and greeting boys and girls for the entire festival.

In addition, there is an abundant programme of Music and Theatre. Ben Hennessy presents a new Shadow Puppetry Show at the beautiful GLOW Gardens at Winterval on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. At the Apple Market each weekend a free show sponsored by WAMA & Theatrebox, which will engage with young spectators who can take part in the collection of Santa’s posts will be on offer.  Join Winterval’s Resident Storyteller Kitty Caboodle for a selection of songs and stories at The Book Centre.

The Winterval Live Stage offers 20 Days of Live Performances during the festival. House of Waterford Crystal is delighted to present its Annual Winter Music Series and there is lots more.

The full Winterval Festival programme is available to view and book online at www.winterval.ie

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