Early arrivals saw a Crib scene, hundreds of candles and a Christmas tree floating on the lake. In addition there was an opportunity to bedeck a memory tree with red ribboned cards on the island over the bridge. Silver balloons, colourful elves, snowmen, cowbells and visitors wearing Christmas attire all added colour and joy to the crisp evening.
After supping soft drinks, with mulled wine for adults and listening to the youth club choir, traditional musicians and ballad singers, the excitement grew as Santa’s igloo home commenced to glow in the trees across the lake. It was followed by a strange sound, as bells, jingle bells in the distance could be heard coming from the high ground around Carraig na gCapall.
Having left the reindeer grazing in the wood where the Sommer's family once lived on the Hill Road, Santa and Mrs Claus changed to a vintage car festooned in Christmas lights for the last part of the trip.
After missing the entrance to the hurling pitch and amenity walk he made a circuitous trip around the village as he travelled to his igloo home, made for him, after almost two thousand litres of milk had been consumed from two litre cartons.
As they settled in to their new well lit and insulated home, the trail to visit them lit and opened up. It wound across the stream and into the woodland where the trees were bedecked with hundreds of homemade candle lanterns, twinkling lights, silver brush and ornamental decorations made from recycled materials and suspended from silver painted branches hanging over the pathways. Posted on the trees along the way were colourful scenes depicting the twelve days of Christmas.
They went two French Hens, Three Turtle Doves, Four ………… and A partridge in a Pear Tree. The pathway passed through a wooden gate with the light being provided by more lanterns mounted on the wooden fence. The queue of young families and all ages moved upwards and swept left by a colourful and ornamental lit arch made from tree branches that were widely enhanced with decorations including silver painted shuttlecocks.
From this point, the views looking down on the lake saw the entire area bathed in light with the tree lanterns being reflected in the water beside their floating counterparts. Un-capturable with a camera the music and song wafted in the breeze as the stars began to twinkle overhead.
Excitement grew and then turned to silence as the queue neared the igloo. It then re-erupted as Santa and Mrs Claus were in great form greeting everyone by name, inviting them in to their Igloo home and dispensing gifts and snippets of advice.
After the visit it was away along the path to complete the loop back to the car and home.
Enjoying the occasion were all ages from babes in arms to senior citizens with Maureen Ryan, Mamie Morrissey and local TD Kathleen Funchion and her children amongst those making the special visit.
Missing but surely watching down somewhere was a regular at all events when the community celebrated or was at play as Richie Cashin who had attended the bazaar on the previous Sunday had passed away. A native of Ballingarry Richie had spent the last eight years in the village and dropped down to all the matches and training sessions for a chat, was involved in the Tidy towns and often finished up with a drink in the local.
As seven o’clock passed and the crowd dispersed the fabulous evening of free festive entertainment looks set to become a calendar fixture on the last Sunday before Christmas. Its arrival after long months of quiet innovative planning became a real community event and gave a new night time view of the amenities and skills in the area.