Santa making good progress as he visits children across the world
*Santa expects to be in Ireland tonight at 9pm - and urges children to be asleep by then
Santa Claus will be above Irish skies tonight at 9pm.
Santa does not follow a definitive flight plan due to the nature of his work.
But it is believed he is aiming to be in Ireland by 9pm this evening.
It is thought he will be visiting a little earlier this year, due to adverse weather conditions across Ireland, the UK and France.
Winds of up to 130kmh have been forecast for the West of Ireland.
However, before undertaking the arduous task of delivering presents to children around the world, Santa said he had experienced his fair share of bad weather and there was nothing to worry about.
“I live in the North Pole – it’s full of gale force winds and arctic conditions all year round. A little bit of wind won’t be worry me,” he told independent.ie.
Santa’s journey got underway just after 11am today when he made his first stop to Novoye Chaplino, in Eastern Russia.
As it’s Santa, there is no advance flight path.
However, he usually sweeps down from the North Pole, heading across the world from east to west, before looping into the Pacific to Hawaii and a traditional final stop in Alaska en route back to his Arctic home.
He was reportedly sighted in New Zealand at midday, and Japan at approximately 1pm.
He was then sighted in Brisbane, Australia, some 20 minutes later.
It is thought he will reach Europe at 6.30pm Irish time.
Ireland is the final stop on his European schedule before he takes on the tough task of crossing the Atlantic to the US.
It’s understood Santa will use his visit in Ireland for re-fuelling for a quick break.
NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – has been tracking Santa since 11am.
Rudolph is key to NORAD’s tracking system – the heat emitted from his red nose sends a signal to NORAD satellites which allows them to keep tabs on Santa and see his route.
Speaking to independent.ie ahead of his trip, Santa said Mrs Claus was key to his Christmas preparations.
“Mrs Claus is a fantastic woman – indeed as all women are – and she will have something ready. Our usual feed is milk and a mince pie, and cocoa as well. But she’ll have a special feed ready before the trip.
“Mrs Claus – she wags her finger when she says like a lot of women do – said that after last year, people were too good. They left out too much to drink.
“So she told me no more drink. A cup of milk, or maybe some lemonade, or some tea. But no more drink.
“So this year, I would like a cup of tea and a mince pie.”
Speaking about Rudolph, Santa said he has been training well ahead of tonight.
“Rudolph is doing well – the only thing though is that he’s getting old.
“And he can misbehave a bit.
“But I have his cousin Randolph on call. So if Rudolph can’t do it, Randolph can.
And in a special message to Irish children, Santa urges them all to get to bed early tonight.
“I’ll be starting my trip very shortly.
“I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.
“Early to bed, no peeping, no traps.
“And by the way, no lego on the floor... that’s a very sore thing,” he added.