Lights, camera and action as Bruree couple raise €2,605 for St Joseph’s

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

CHRISTMAS is a time for giving and that’s exactly what the Carroll family have done.

CHRISTMAS is a time for giving and that’s exactly what the Carroll family have done.

Joe and Bernie Carroll, of Coolruss, Bruree handed over a cheque for €2,605 to St Joseph’s Foundation from their Christmas lights display.

The Carrolls have spent thousands of euros on their vast array of light monuments and after suggestions from visitors they installed a charity box three years ago. In 2011 alone they spent €580 on new attractions and €800 for ESB.

“As long as we can afford to pay the ESB bills we’ll keep doing it!” said Joe.

Since they started, every year larger and larger crowds have been descending on their display which features everything from penguins to reindeer to snowmen.

Joe is particularly proud of his collection of rare Disney characters.

Despite the recession they collected over €800 more this year compared to 2010. In total, they have raised €6000 for St Joseph’s Foundation in three years.

“Why was it more successful? - word of mouth, repeat people coming back and people being encouraged by others. The mild weather also was a big factor. We did a trial run with Santa Claus this year and it was a big success,” said Mr Carroll.

Some parents presumed they had to pay for their children to meet Santa but Joe just said “give what you like”.

The reasons the Carrolls open their front garden to everybody is to see children’s faces beam like the lights.

“It is to see the enjoyment and the satisfaction on the children’s faces and when you’d hear them insisting to their parents to get money to put in to the box.

“Parents would tell you - it happened on a number of occasions - the children didn’t want come in at the start.

“They were shy and timid but at the end their parents couldn’t get them in to the car to go home. They couldn’t get enough of the display,” said Mr Carroll.

It may only be mid-February but the Carrolls are already planning for Christmas 2012.

“I have some lights bought already. We have bought another penguin for the waterfall and I’m looking at buying another train and another horse and carriage,” he said.

Mr Carroll even has been in touch with Bridget Reidy of Bridget’s Stores in Charleville, who is at a festive lights trade show in Birmingham this week.

“She is having a look for me as well so it will be even bigger than last year,” said Mr Carroll.

He takes photos of the children in Coolruss marvelling at the lights and emails them to parents so they will have e a permanent memory of their visit to Coolruss.

Mr Carroll also plans to send on an email to show that their donations will support the excellent work being carried out by St Joseph’s Foundation in Charleville.