Fiona Lemasney and Jenny Geary do their Christmas Shopping during The Cork City free parking period.
Photo: Gerard McCarthy Photography

Nothing says Christmas quite like Cork City Centre and in an effort to spread the good word, Cork Business Association and Cork City Council have launched a Christmas shopping marketing campaign to drive footfall into the unique city centre and boost trade throughout the festive season.

The second city has atmosphere on tap, from its fabulous festive lighting and carol singing on Patrick Street, to the S.H.A.R.E crib and the world-famous English Market. If it’s good enough for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, it’s good enough for us to pick up our turkey, ham and traditional spiced beef!

The multifaceted marketing campaign aims to convey the message that consumers can combine Christmas shopping in the city centre with a visit to GLOW – Cork’s festive carnival with street markets, a Winter wonderland and entertainment, including a giant Ferris wheel on the Grand Parade – or sample the city’s fantastic array of restaurants and cafés or perhaps catch a panto or show.

And to ensure it’s as easy as possible to access the city centre, the good people at Cork Business Association and Cork City Council have introduced free parking from 5pm in Paul Street and North Main Street car parks every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until January 12, meaning there will be 1,000 free car parking spaces for shoppers in Cork City Centre for three nights per week for almost two months!

Not only that, but there will also be increased park and ride services, along with additional late-night buses, and a doubling of frequency on the 220 route between Ballincollig and Carrigaline, making the city more accessible than ever throughout the busy Christmas period.

Also just begun is a new Shop ‘n’ Drop valet service on 1-2 Cook Street (previously Specsavers), in aid of Breakthrough Cancer Research. It aims to encourage shoppers to enjoy the city by allowing them to drop off their bags and go for a drink or a meal, hassle-free. It is open Mondays to Saturdays 11am to 7pm and on Sundays from 12pm to 5pm until December 23.

Other marketing activities that have been launched as part of the initiative include a PR campaign, engaging with fashion and gifting media, photo and video shoots with city centre retailers and hospitality tradespeople, influencer engagement, radio, print and online advertising, and the launch of social media sites.

The new Cork Business Association and Cork City Council backed social media platform, which includes Cork City Shopping channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, aims to promote shopping in the city centre, highlighting the city’s fantastic range of boutiques, high street stores, quirky shops and quality bars and eateries that make Cork City Centre so unique.

All Cork City retailers are being encouraged to follow the Cork City Shopping social media channels and to share their content with the site administrators in an effort to attract shoppers from the Cork surrounds and further afield. The social media shopping platform also offers a fantastic opportunity for retailers in the city to work together to promote how unique the shopping experience is in Cork City Centre and how the atmosphere really is second to none.

CEO of Cork Business Association, Lawrence Owens, commented: “Our mission at Cork Business Association is to help businesses work together and be in a position to meet their customers’ ever-changing needs, not just in terms of products, but in how their customers want to shop and when they wish to shop.

“Cork Business Association and Cork City Council are doing everything we can to encourage people to come in to the city centre to shop, enjoy our fantastic local food, catch a show and savour the incredible festive atmosphere that makes the city so unique.”