Sophia Quish, Olivia Quish, Aaron Quish and Amelia Quish at Stowaway Crafts and Toys Bantry encouraging people to shop local this Christmas. Photos: Alison Miles/OSM PHOTO

'Enjoy this magical time of year'

Spend some time in Cork county this Christmas.

That’s the message from Cork County Council as people are being encouraged to the many local businesses on their doorstep this festive season.

From gazing at gorgeous Christmas windows with a hot chocolate in Bantry, to taking a winter walk along Youghal Boardwalk on a family day out to selecting that special something made locally at BlackWater Valley Makers, Christmas in Cork county guarantees a great day out while supporting the county’s jobs, businesses and communities.

There is a wealth of unique family run businesses in towns and villages across the county including several craft collectives proudly supported by Cork County Council. The Christmas Elves Pop-up Shop is open in Dunmanway until 24 December and features original handcrafted gifts and decorations made by local artists.

Passage West Creates, a collective of crafters and artists from Cork Harbour and beyond, is located on Main Street in the town and is open every day until Christmas. Blackwater Valley Makers has also extended its opening hours for the month of December with local art, craft and design work at its makers shop in the centre of Fermoy and online.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins said: “Christmas in Cork County is really about supporting everyone. It's giving everyone an opportunity to enjoy this magical time of year while supporting our amazing local businesses.

“When we buy from a local business, we’re helping that person to buy school shoes or a GAA jersey for their child, we’re helping them to put fuel in their car, pay their electricity bill or treat their families to something nice this Christmas. By shopping in our local towns and villages, we’re also doing our bit for the environment, cutting down on transport costs and reducing our carbon footprint.”

As an additional incentive, Cork County Council is providing for special car parking arrangements across its own operated carparks throughout the month of December. Visitors are encouraged to check the offers in their local area.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey said: “Our Local Enterprise Offices continue to support these businesses and have enabled many companies to begin trading online over the last 2 years.

“I would encourage anyone who has to shop online to look at the websites of businesses located in county Cork first. There is fantastic value and quality to be had and it’s great to know that you’re supporting the locality,” he added.