Rev. Paul Arbuthnot of St Anne's Church on Dawson Street and Fr. Enda Cunningham of St Andrew's Church on Westland Row blessed the cot.

“Tradition is such an important aspect of Christmas and for many Dubliners, including myself, the Mansion House live animal cot was always a huge part of that,” Mr de Róiste said at the occasion. That's why I'm happy to see it return this year.

“I'm sure the farmers will treat the animals with the utmost care this year, as they always do.”

Children from St. Josephs Nursery on Morning Star Road in Dublin 8 joined the Lucan Gospel Choir for a performance on the steps of the Mansion House, helping to get the throng into the holiday spirit.

Echoing the remarks, Mr Cullinan called the live crib "a gift from the farmers of Ireland."

On the basis of animal welfare, there has been some criticism to the live crib despite endorsement from the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA).

For the first time in thirty years, the live crib was cancelled last year.

The public may view the live crib from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day until Saturday, December 23. On Christmas Eve, it will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.