LANTERNS glimmering in wet little hands defied the elements as Feile na Soilse launched the festive season in Dingle under a torrential downpour on Sunday evening
It was an occasion for the brave as the Dingle Fife and Drum Band led the Feile na Soilse parade of lantern bearing children - and umbrella bearing parents - which departed from The Tracks on a route around town and back to the Garda Station where the town's Christmas Tree is situated.
Sunday had been something of a washout with heavy rain dominating the day, but the warm glow of smiley faces and happy hearts helped lift the gloom as the children of West Kerry ushered the festive season in Dingle.
Dingle had beaten Annascaul in the West Kerry Championship Final earlier in the day but inter-parish rivalry was set aside as children from throughout West Kerry came together in a scene that would certain warm the cockles of the heart of even the most ardent Scrooge.
"The way it is you could be putting something like this off week after week if it was down to the weather," said a drenched, but jovial Richard Williams of Dingle Business Chamber. "The kids are here, they are ready to go and if they are up for it, so are we!"
Gardaí, the Dingle Business Chamber and local volunteers provided stewardship throughout the event while Murphy's Ice Cream provided hot chocolates for all who needed warming up afterwards before the town's Christmas Tree was illuminated to cheers and applause.
The Kerryman received a very special telegram from the North Pole later in the evening from Santa Claus who said he was very impressed by the hardy Corca Dhuibhne kids, adding that he was looking forward to visiting them later in the month.