Tuesday 18 June 2019

Festive fun and frolics in Mallow

Large turnout to see the Christmas lights turned on and to help Santa usher in the festive season

Eugene Cosgrove

The turning on of the Mallow Christmas lights coupled with ideal weather conditions made the whole colourful seasonal event a huge hit with both young and old this year.

The town centre was a hive of activity last Saturday ahead of the much-anticipated event, which saw by far the biggest attendance ever at the turning on ceremony at the Plaza at 4.30pm. Chief organisers Mallow Chamber Alliance changed the day of festivities from Friday to Saturday, which proved a major success. 

The colourful entertainment commenced just after noon, with the 30-strong St Patrick's Boys National School choir,  under conductor Bill Myers, performing many Christmas favourites at the Town Hall. 

Santa's elves roamed around town from the outset, giving out seasonal goodies, and they were a huge success with the children.

The popular musical outfit Benjie Hallihan and the Wandering Minstrels - featuring Denny O'Sullivan, Pat Doolin and Michael McCarthy dressed in seasonal costume - entertained outside St Mary's Church, while Eileen's School of Dance attracted a large audience at Market Square as they danced to many Christmas musical favourites. 

Another set of welcome visitors on the day was Mallow Fire Service personnel, under the guidance of Jonathan Madden, and one of their fire tenders which brought massive interest from children, who were photographed as they posed donning fire helmets on the tender. 

Santa Claus arrived at the Square at 3.30pm, and 45 minutes later he marched down O'Brien Street and Main Street to the Plaza followed by the siren-blasting fire tender and accompanied by councillors Gearóid Murphy and John Paul O'Shea, and Mallow chamber president Pat Hayes. 

On their arrival, the Plaza area was rocking to the excellent three-man local group Longbeach, who certainly brought the atmosphere to an all-time-high fever pitch. 

Councillor Murphy and chamber president Pat Hayes briefly addressed the huge gathering before Jason Buckley of Mallow Cope Foundation officially switched on the street lights to mark Christmas 2018. 

Some 30 minutes later, the switching on of the Mallow Rotary Memorial Tree took place in the grounds of St Mary's Church, where Rotary president Willie John O'Flynn - accompanied by his daughter, Phillipa - did the honours to great applause.

The organisers of this event and Mallow Gardaí must be congratulated for ensuring this day went off so successfully and with lots of fun and enjoyment.