Desmond Castle is home of Newcastle West's festive fun this Christmas

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

Chloe and Izzy Liston with Faye Murphy, Sarah Benson and Sian Megane at last year’s event

Chloe and Izzy Liston with Faye Murphy, Sarah Benson and Sian Megane at last year’s event

CHRISTMAS is coming in on a wave of excitement and colour in Newcastle West where the festive season gets underway this Saturday with the first in a number of special Christmas events.

And the town’s imposing Desmond Castle will be at the heart of these events. There, Santa Claus and his elves have made themselves a cosy and colourful grotto which they will visit several times in the run-up to Christmas Day, with the very first visit taking place this Saturday evening at 5pm.

The Castle will also be the background for a Twilight Market which will take place on December 14.

The Christmas at the Castle events are the brainchild of the Newcastle West Business Association. “We wanted to add to the festive spirit in Newcastle West,” Flo Flannigan, acting chairperson of the association said.

“It’s all very exciting and we are really looking forward to it.”

Santa’s Grotto, she assured all his young fans, is very beautiful and he will be open for visits from 5pm to 8pm on Thursday, December 14, from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, December 16, from noon to 5pm  on Sunday, December 17 and from 10am to 5pm on Friday, December 22.

The Twilight Market on December 14 will be open all day from 10am.

But to kick off the festivities and add some sparkle to the weeks ahead, the Christmas lights will be switched on this Saturday evening in the Square at 5pm. The chairman of the Newcastle West Municipal District will do the honours  just in time for Santa’s first visit to the castle.

A collection to pay for the running costs of the lights is currently being taken up, Seamus Hunt, of the Christmas Lights Committee said and he appealed to local businesses to support them. There will be a bucket collection in the town on December 22.

Meanwhile, this Friday, Christmas fun will get underway in Abbeyfeale where a sub-committee of the Abbeyfeale Community Council has been working hard on the acquisition of feature Christmas lights for the town. Over a three year period, they have set a target of €30,000 to be spent on new lights.

This Friday, at 5.45, Santa will be coming to town and the lights will be switched on in the Square by champion kickboxer  Kori Goad and Ireland squad footballer Chris Smith. The town’s new Christmas Tree will also be lighted and there will be lots to see and sample in the Square where stalls and local businesses will be tempting people with tasty bites.

There will also a prize for the family dressed in the most Christmassy outfits.