December 8th - Toledo Irish - News and Events - iIrish

December 8th – Toledo Irish

Toledo Irish: December 8th   
By: Molly McHugh

Does December 8th hold a special meaning to you? Perhaps the Immaculate Conception, or maybe my birthday? I assume the latter! This year, I’m turning 21, finally! And if you believe that, then I also have a bridge to sell you!

Historically in Ireland, December 8th was certainly representative of the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception (at least for Irish Catholics), but it also signified the beginning of the Christmas season: think Christmas decorating, Santa and shopping! Because the Immaculate Conception was and is a holy day of obligation, children were off school allowing parents to bring their children out to see the sights and sounds of the season.

The shopping part, however, meant the day was very important to the Irish retail calendar as well. This is primarily because when the 8th rolled around, people from the “country” journeyed into Dublin or to a more urban area (Cork, Galway) to get their Christmas shopping underway.

What’s ironic is that, at the same time the “country folk” were making their way into the city, the local “city folk” were making a mass exodus for the day. Ah, reminds me of NYC in summer. Who spends summer weekends in Manhattan?

Anyway, in my humble opinion, they really should have made it the day for Christmas shopping plus a day shopping for my birthday! Alas, I may not be turning 21, but I’m also not that old; consequently, when this date became a day of shopping, surely, I wasn’t in mind. Pass given.

While the 8th may no longer hold the same excitement as it did in bygone times (thanks to online shopping) there is still so much magic on Grafton Street in Dublin, or on Shop Steet in Galway during the Christmas season.  If you find yourself there this season, don’t forget, it’s my birthday as well and my address is … just kidding!

Merry Christmas!
May your days be merry and bright!

*Molly McHugh is a Toledo native and holds her MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management from National University of Ireland, Galway. Molly can be reached at