CHRISTMAS is a time for giving and thatâ€™s exactly what the Carroll family have done.
Joe and Bernie Carroll, of Coolruss, Bruree handed over a cheque for â‚¬2,605 to St Josephâ€™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 â‚¬580 on new attractions and â‚¬800 for ESB.
â€œAs long as we can afford to pay the ESB bills weâ€™ll keep doing it!â€ 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 â‚¬800 more this year compared to 2010. In total, they have raised â‚¬6000 for St Josephâ€™s Foundation in three years.
â€œWhy 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,â€ said Mr Carroll.
Some parents presumed they had to pay for their children to meet Santa but Joe just said â€œgive what you likeâ€.
The reasons the Carrolls open their front garden to everybody is to see childrenâ€™s faces beam like the lights.
â€œIt is to see the enjoyment and the satisfaction on the childrenâ€™s faces and when youâ€™d hear them insisting to their parents to get money to put in to the box.
â€œParents would tell you - it happened on a number of occasions - the children didnâ€™t want come in at the start.
â€œThey were shy and timid but at the end their parents couldnâ€™t get them in to the car to go home. They couldnâ€™t get enough of the display,â€ said Mr Carroll.
It may only be mid-February but the Carrolls are already planning for Christmas 2012.
â€œI have some lights bought already. We have bought another penguin for the waterfall and Iâ€™m looking at buying another train and another horse and carriage,â€ he said.
Mr Carroll even has been in touch with Bridget Reidy of Bridgetâ€™s Stores in Charleville, who is at a festive lights trade show in Birmingham this week.
â€œShe is having a look for me as well so it will be even bigger than last year,â€ 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 Josephâ€™s Foundation in Charleville.