Christmas is here!
THE people of Scartaglin turned out in droves on Sunday as their village celebrated the final turn of the calendar and the run-in to Christmas.
They were joined by visitors from many other parts of the surrounding areas for their first, big Christmas celebration.
It was billed as 'Christmas in Scartaglin' and there were promises of entertainment and food and fun and stalls - and they were all there in seasonal abundance.
Pat O'Shea and Des Teahan were credited with taking the plans for the event to a reality and received high praise for the outright success of their first Christmas in Scartaglin venture on Sunday.
"It takes the stranger to make us see what we have under our noses," was one woman's complimentary appraisal of the scene unfolding before her.
Scart's own TD, Tom Fleming and his wife Lena were out and about, delighting in the atmosphere which had gripped the village since mid-morning.
"This event is all about giving back and saying thank you" said Pat O'Shea, Chairman of the Scartaglin Community Development Plan Committee.
He praised the locals who supported the plan during the year by volunteering their time cleaning and tidying up the village.
He went on to say that all the hard work is not just for the Tidy Town's competition.
It is one of the many goals set for the committee, but part of a community based, long term plan.
"The committee decided to organise a 'Christmas Village in Scartaglin' as part of a big thank you to all the volunteers and local businesses who helped make a real difference to the village," said Mr. O'Shea.
There was something for everyone at this event from storytelling to set dancing and a heritage centre kitchen in over-drive, but coping.
Meanwhile, a minor emergency unfolded in the village after a cat was heard screeching for help from inside a brown glass recycling bin near Riordan's Garage.
A hastily organised rescue party, including Hugh Boyle, Paul O'Sullivan, PJ and Siobhan Teahan and myself, were put to the pin of our collars to free the terrified creature.
Through brute force, a little ingenuity and the leverage of a length of 4" x 2" we eventually managed.
Freed at last the cat took off westward and away from the madding crowd like the proverbial rocket.
Up along the village there were market stalls with crafts of all kinds and gift ideas to help you to tick off items on your Christmas shopping list.
There would be general agreement that the highlight of the day was the 'ride-on mower racing' and, for sheer entertainment, it will be back by popular demand.
The village was cordoned off and bales of golden straw were placed at all corners as the mowers no more than made their way around a Monaco style circuit with ideal vantage points for all the spectators.
Ger O'Connell and Niall Kerin risked suspension early on in the race as they were seen jostling and bumping each other on the opening straight.
However, O'Connell, on his Turbo-Cut, took the lead on the hill up towards the village and seemed to become complacent then. He lit a fag two bends from the line and nearly left the slow finishing Kerin back into contention.
Kerin came in a close second after passing a broken down mower and its distraught driver, David 'Francie' O'Connor, who was dragging his stricken machine manfully towards the finishing line.
The dry day made it a memorable experience for all who visited or volunteered on the occasion. One gets the feeling that Scartaglin is on the march to greater things and that Sunday was no flash-in-the-pan.
It was one heaven of a start for the organisers and the villagers who dared to dream - and a close shave for the cat who dared to scream.