Updated: Nov 10
In the heart of Dublin, a festive tradition has taken root, one where wagging tails and jingling collars are as synonymous with the season as jolly old Saint Nick. The Doggy Christmas Market, born from a dog lover’s dream to include our furry friends in the holiday cheer, has quickly become an annual highlight. Just Add Rover caught up with Nikki O Carroll, the market's founder, to discuss the inspiration behind this unique celebration, the dedication to canine safety, and plans for the market's bright future. (Editors note: This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Inclusive Celebration: The Doggy Christmas Market emerged from a desire to include dogs in holiday festivities, successfully creating an annual tradition where owners can enjoy the yuletide spirit with their four-legged friends.
Canine Consideration: Safety and enjoyment for dogs are prioritized through venue choice and responsible pet ownership, ensuring a stress-free environment for canine companions.
Future Flurries: With each year, the Doggy Christmas Market aims to expand, bringing in more vendors and new experiences to enrich the paw-liday season for attendees and their pets.
Q: What inspired you to start the DOGGY CHRISTMAS MARKET, and how has it evolved since its inception?
A: In 2022, the first Doggy Christmas Market took place, and it was a tremendous success. The inspiration behind this event came from my personal love for taking my dogs everywhere, especially during the holiday season. Unfortunately, traditional Christmas markets in Dublin Castle do not allow dogs so we couldn't go to the Dublin Christmas Markets unless we left our furbabies at home. I was also keen to capture a memorable photo of my dogs with Santa. However, the Santas available during previous Christmases were primarily meant for children and not dog-friendly. Hence, the idea of a Doggy Christmas Market featuring Irish small businesses related to dogs was born, where people could enjoy shopping and have their photos taken with Santa. Initially, it was intended to be a one-time event, but due to its overwhelming success, we've decided to make it an annual tradition.
Q: How do you ensure that the event remains dog-friendly and safe for all attending canines?
A: The event takes place at the super dog-friendly BrewDog bar and restaurant and dogs are welcomed inside the entire venue. However, we do emphasise that owners must exercise vigilance. We kindly request that those with reactive dogs or dogs who may not handle crowded and stressful situations refrain from attending. Fortunately, our attendees last year were responsible and fully aware of their dogs' needs. Ultimately, dog owners are the best judges of their pets' capabilities, and throughout the booking process, we stress the importance of their responsibility for their dogs' well-being.
Q: Can you share some of the standout Irish dog companies that will be present at the market this year?
A: We are thrilled to have a diverse range of fantastic Irish small businesses participating in this year's market. Attendees can expect to discover a variety of products, from enrichment and snuffle devices to premium pet food, stylish harnesses, delicious dog treats, and even the artistic craftsmanship of a stained-glass artist.
Q: What measures have you taken to ensure that the photo session with SANTA PAWS runs smoothly, especially with the high demand and prebookings?
A: To enhance the photo session experience with Santa Paws, we've introduced a new ticketing system this year. Instead of allowing guests to arrive at any time, we are selling tickets in time slots. This approach aims to distribute arrivals more evenly throughout the day, reducing the crowds compared to the previous year while accommodating the same number of guests over an extended period.
Q: How do you envision the future of the DOGGY CHRISTMAS MARKET? Are there plans for expansion or addition of new features in the coming years?
A: I envision the Doggy Christmas Market growing even further in the future. This year, we've had to turn down several vendors who were eager to showcase their products, so my goal is to make the event even larger next year. We're always exploring opportunities for expansion and adding new features to make each edition of the market even more exciting.
Q: Aside from shopping and the photo sessions, are there any other activities or highlights attendees should look forward to?
A: Apart from the shopping and photo sessions with Santa Paws, attendees can soak in the delightful Christmas atmosphere. BrewDog will be serving mulled wine, and the festive spirit will be in the air. After shopping and capturing cherished moments with Santa Paws, guests can enjoy a meal in the dog-friendly restaurant downstairs, making it a truly enjoyable day for all.
For More Information:
Get your tickets for the Doggy Christmas Market: Eventbrite
Follow @thedailycavalier for the latest updates: Instagram
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