Fedamore man Frank Ryan has built a “mini-Ardnacrusha” in his back garden to power his Christmas lights display.
Mr Ryan - who has raised thousands of euro for charity over the years in a series of novel fundraisers - says his latest project was aimed at teaching his grandchildren about where electricity comes from.
“My grandchildren didn’t realise when they turn on the tap where the water comes from, or where electricity comes from,” he said.
“It’s a fierce education for children, rather than thinking electricity comes from the wall.”
Frank originally devised a water pump system to take water from a stream flowing through his land. This is was capable of pumping about a litre of water every minute.
With the help of a neighbour, he then built a water-wheel to power a mini turbine to which he has connected a series of Christmas lights and other decorations.
“It is a mini-Ardnacrusha in a small space,” he says.
Two glowing santas and a series of Christmas lights are now lit up by the miniature power station.
“The grandchildren think it’s a great idea that the stream below was lighting the Santa Claus over near the road,” he says.
Frank hopes that, as well as educating people about how electricity is generated, his display can help raise funds for the Mid-West School for Hearing Impaired Children.
He has issued an open invitation for people to come along to see his display and he will explain how it works. In return, there will be a donation box where they can contribute to his chosen charity.
A excavator operator by profession, Frank says he is self-taught when it comes to electricity generation.
But this is not the first unusual project he has undertaken in the name of charity. In 2011, he and others helped arrange a fundraiser in which a 13-tonne digger was excavated from a bog in Annacotty where it had sunk five years before. That event raised over €16,000 for a number of local charities. He was subsequently involved in a similar project in Fermanagh which raised over €30,000.
Frank has also spend many summers working with the Niall Mellon Township Trust to build homes for residents of the townships on South Africa.
To arrange a visit, contact Frank at 087-2574239.