New location at Arthur’s Quay Park
A REVAMPED Limerick On Ice, which returns to the city this Christmas for a fifth year, has a new home, at Arthur’s Quay Park.
It will have a totally new layout and will involve putting up a state-of-the-art semi-circular dome with glass windows, and the trees in the park will be lit with festoon lighting to give the Christmas spirit.
The ice rink will have its own snow surrounding the dome generated from the resurfacing three times a day. The snow is made from the shavings of the ice rink, which are spread around the dome.
The project costs in excess of euro 300,000 to mount, with 65,000 tickets printed and 200 skaters can take to the rink at a time.
The ice rink comes from Holland and the ice dome from Galway, and 35 to 40 people are employed in this seasonal undertaking.
It’s a privately-run operation by Limerick-based Futureama Productions, and Limerick City Council gave permission for the use of the city’s facilities. For the last number of years, it was located at the Potato Market.
Limerick On Ice opens next Thursday December 11 and runs until Sunday January 4.
The Managing director of Futureama Productions, Fran O’Donnell, told The Post that they changed the venue to Arthur’s Quay to bring the ice rink nearer to the city centre, making it part of the Christmas experience in the city.
He said ice skating has really taken off in Ireland, and Limerick was the first Christmas ice rink in the country. His company similar ventures in other locations in Ireland.
He added: “We have seen well over 100,000 people visit the ice rink in Limerick and we have had bookings from Dublin, Sligo, Cork, Kerry, and even as far as Donegal.
“We have had a fair share of non-nationals such as Polish, Canadians, Americans, Spanish and British. We have seen a lot of groups visit the ice rink, for example school groups, corporate groups, social and community groups. A lot of the schools use the ice rink for rewarding pupils for their efforts at school”.
Fran revealed that they have had visits from high-profile people like entertainer Jon Kenny, Mayors of Limerick including Cllr. Ger Fahy, who took to the ice last year, and the present Mayor Cllr. John Gilligan opened the first ice rink in Limerick in his capacity as deputy Mayor, and he will be invited to open it this year as Mayor.
The wives and girlfriends of the Munster rugby team have also skated on ice, and model agency owner Celia Holman-Lee, is to take part in a photo shoot to promote the project.
Said O’Donnell: “it’s a very expensive operation and it gives good seasonal employment.
“I think the people of Limerick and around expect to have their ice rink every year now going hand in hand with the magic of Christmas and the city centre illuminated with the Christmas tree and the lights”.
All sessions are pre-booked and people can take their chances on getting in in a walk-up situation. The booking office is in Arthur’s Quay and is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. telephone: 061/400200.