IT was third time lucky for Santa Claus and his yearly visit to Noonan’s Winter Wonderland of Lights in Templeglantine.
Tony Noonan, the man behind the fund-raising lights extravaganza, had initially invited Santa Claus for a big party on December 6. But high winds and storm conditions got in the way; the gardai advised caution and Mr Noonan decided to postpone the event for a week on safety grounds.
But the following Saturday was also a bad, blustery day and came with an orange weather alert, leaving Mr Noonan with very little option but to postpone the party yet again.
“The weather cleared about 3pm but it was too late to do anything then,” he said.
Sunday, December 13, however, proved to be unseasonally mild and calm and finally, that evening, Santa Claus was able to make his way to the Noonan’s house, accompanied by a garda escort.
There, some 380 children were given special surprise presents, the adults were treated to tea and cake and there was entertainment from the Carrigkerry Wren Boys. In addition, visitors had the chance to meet many of the Newcastle West GAA club players who won so many county titles this year.
Despite the postponements, Mr Noonan said, people were tremendous in their support. But he is now hoping that the next two weeks will see a big influx of visitors.
“This is an outdoor event,” he pointed out. “And unfortunately we have had a lot of poor weather since Mayor Liam Galvin switched on the lights on November 27. Since last week, we have been flying it. People will support it but we are depending on the weather.”
The Winter Wonderland is scheduled to continue until January 10 and a warm welcome is assured to all comers. It is a free event, Mr Noonan is anxious to stress and while any and all donations to his selected charities will be welcome, there is no obligation on anyone to contribute.