Lighting up for a heart-felt Christmas

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

AN Askeaton family is preparing a heart-felt welcome for Christmas this year – and doing their bit for the Irish Heart Foundation at the same time.

AN Askeaton family is preparing a heart-felt welcome for Christmas this year – and doing their bit for the Irish Heart Foundation at the same time.

The McCarthy family, on Plunkett Road has been lighting up for the festive season for almost a quarter of a century. But this Friday, for the first time, they will switch on their Christmas lights display for charity, hoping to raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation.

Their chosen charity is one that resonates very much for this family with its history of heart problems.

Patsy McCarthy had a heart attack five years ago and his brothers Michael and Tossie have had by-passes. Patsy’s son, Pat, who is only 35, has also had a by-pass operation.

“It’s in the family,” says Patsy, pointing out that his father and many of his uncles died at a young age as a result of heart disease. But thanks to medical expertise, subsequent generations have not had to face that tragedy.

“We were all well looked after,” Patsy says of the family experience.

As a result, they felt it would be good to show their appreciation and decided, after Michael’s by-pass last summer, to try and raise money for the Irish Heart Foundation.

Patsy and his wife Frances are old-hands at lighting up for Christmas. “I would say we are doing it for about 25 years,”says Patsy. “The lighted crib was the very first thing we did.”

In the years since, they have added to their display which has been dramatic enough to appear in both local and national newspapers. “Youngsters in the area have grown up with the lights. They know straight away if there is a new one,” Patsy explains.

This year’s display will involve over 10,000 lights which the family has acquired in local shops and in the US. Lighting up will take place this Friday at 6pm and the festive display will continue each night until January 6.

Last Friday, Tony Noonan of Tullig North, Templeglantine switched on his stunning visual feast of lights which this year will raise funds for the Alzheimers Centre, Adare, Milford Care and the Brothers of Charity.