It’s Time For Live Crib Extra!

By Dermot Carmody

There is nothing that endears something so much to the people of Dublin as the threat of taking it away. From the efforts to remove the non-functional chimneys at The Pigeon House, to the scare about the removal of the Bounty bar sweet from Celebrations selection boxes, nothing makes us sit up and take notice of suddenly vital and precious things that we never gave a thought to previously. (Okay, I know I might be an outlier with regard to the Bounty bar sweet, but I found its removal personally egregious. It takes all sorts, especially in assortments).

Small wonder, then, the furore caused recently when the Lord Mayor suggested that it was time to shut the stable door on the traditional “live crib” outside the Mansion House this year. There were unpleasant scenes with suggestions that this was some sort of a Woke Green Conspiracy. What next? A ban on the horse-drawn carriages on Stephen’s Green? Dog only lanes? Equal rights for herring gulls at picnics? The response was that the protestors were merely seeking to make political capital out of a no-brainer re-setting of the clock to the presence where the life quality of a goat deserved more consideration than to put it in a small plywood box in the city centre to be viewed by a stream of urban urchins who, God love them, wouldn’t otherwise have a chance of poking a goat in the concrete jungle they were condemned to live in.

In my opinion however, those that sought to retain the yuletide lambs and donkeys did not go far enough. They needed to go big and, rather than merely protest against being denied the live crib, to propose a larger and livelier variety for the 21st century. They needed to double down on its liveness. Not only should they have insisted the wee baby animals be retained in their narrow enclosures, they should have pointed out the glaring omission of a human element. There are live humans involved in the nativity scene are there not? These too should have been included in a doubling down on the notion of the live crib with a no-expense-spared Live Crib Extra! There would be a Mary and Joseph played by Irish superstars. Sonia O’Sullivan would make a great Mary, whilst the grizzled visage of Roy Keane would be perfect to play Joseph. The inclusion of these two famous Corkonians would head off the inevitable “why didn’t we get one of them too?” from our cousins in the Deep South. There would be shepherds and wise men. If we couldn’t find wise men I’m sure it would be easy enough to find three wise mansplainers, who could enthral visitors with pointing out at length what was going on in the fabulously presented spectacle.

Of course Live Crib Extra! would need a baby Jesus. Here the Woke Green Conspirators might truly balk at the suggestion that we could endorse the use of child labour. This could be headed off by the proposers of Live Crib Extra! by substituting a leading figure of the centre right in place of the infant messiah. Micheál Martin will be free soon, for example. And if there is controversy there between the two big parties in the coalition there could easily be a compromise whereby a rotating saviour would occupy the Live Crib Extra! on alternate days during the Christmas period. It would be great. Bill Whelan could write the music and Glen Hansard and Bono could perform it. (On second thoughts that might be an overabundance of messiahs. Ronan Keating would do nicely instead).

Perhaps I’m asking too much of the imagination of our leaders. Perhaps my spectacular Live Crib Extra! might be seen as too showy in these times of cost of living crisis. But surely we need celebration at this time more than ever? Or at least meet me halfway and give me a big box of Celebrations. With the bounty bar sweets.