Live animal Christmas crib to return to Dublin’s Mansion House after one-year hiatus

Nativity scene moved to St Stephen’s Green last year after then Green Party mayor objected on animal welfare grounds

The live animal crib is to return to the Mansion House in Dublin this Christmas, Lord Mayor Daithí de Róiste has announced.

There was controversy and a break with tradition last year when the crib – featuring a donkey, two sheep and a goat gathered around a scene depicting the nativity – moved to St Stephen’s Green after then lord mayor, Green Party councillor Caroline Conroy, objected to it citing animal welfare grounds.

The crib, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, had been in place on the forecourt of the Mansion House since 1995.

Announcing the return of the crib to the Mansion House, Mr de Róiste said tradition was “such an important aspect of Christmas” and that for many Dubliners, including himself, the crib “was always a huge part of that”.


The mayor said he respected “the decision of my predecessor not to feature the animals last year” but said he was “looking forward to seeing them return . . . and watching the smiles on the faces of young and old as they get to see the animals up close once again”.

“I have spoken to the Irish Farmers Association, who for so many years have been a key part of this tradition, and they have confirmed to me that they are also delighted that we are bringing it back for Christmas 2023,” he said.

“I know that the farmers always take great care of the animals and that this year will be no different.”

The blessing of the live animal crib, supported by the lord mayor, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will take place on December 6th.

IFA president Tim Cullinan welcomed the decision to return the crib to the Mansion House.

“It’s a gift from the farmers of Ireland that creates a traditional nativity scene on the forecourt of the Mansion House,” he said.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist