Christmas began in style in Castlecomer on Friday 29th November with the third annual Festival of Light.
The weather was perfect, cold and crisp with a starry sky as an estimated crowd of over 3,000 people of all ages gathered on the square from 5.30pm. John Coogan was the talented MC again this year. The first act on Stage was the beautiful young voices of Kate Cullen, Katie Doyle and Lauren Hamilton. The girls were followed by the sizeable traditional group from the Community School, Firoda and Ballyragget Primary Schools. The 45 strong group playing tin whistles and bodhrans packed the stage and gave it there all for the very enthusiastic crowd. No event in Castlecomer is complete without the Male Voice Choir, their traditional Christmas carols carried perfectly through the cold night air.
And as if by magic, the Kilkenny fire truck with sirens flashing delivered the very jolly man himself to the top of the square. The excitement in the crowd was palpable as John Coogan counted down and the fabulous tree lights were turned on. This historic Creamery House provided a magnificent back drop with each window decorated with festive silhouettes.
Castlecomer Lights Up!
The town embraces the festival every year with silhouettes, trees and Christmas scenes appearing in both business and house windows. A herd of handmade wooden reindeers arrived in town, also in time for the festival. The lime trees lining the square were decorated with lights and the town couldn’t look better. Graham Carew (Artist in the Shop Window) worked with a number of student in the Community School to produce large animal lantern which were illuminated and on display for the evening. Kids from the local schools made festive lanterns from everything from milk cartons to bottles and cereal boxes and brought them out adding to a very festive atmosphere.
The colourful Mad Hatters samba drumming band lead by Thomas Duffy from Coon gave a carnival atmosphere as they followed Santas train from the square, over the big bridge and on the Elf Village at the Discovery Park.
It was a wonderful evening of music, creativity, community spirit and a perfect start to the season of good will.
The Discovery Park has been transformed into a winter wonderland for their Christmas experience which is under way until December 22nd and was the perfect destination for the parade. Awaiting the parade was a craft and food market and more festive entertainment. Local producers, The Good Farm (free range pork) and Olivias Raw Treats were joined by Mag from Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Gerald from Costellos Beer, the Hartrey Kitchen and the very cool Rivesci wagon. The samba drummers kept the beat going and entertained the crowd in the woods until the beautiful Castlecomer Community School Choir lead by Teresa Bourke began singing. Santa and the elves mingled with the crowd, chatted with the kids and posed for photos.
The event was organised by The Synergy Network, Kilkenny Leader Partnership and the Discovery Park. With special thanks to Eddie Brennan, John Coogan, the Gardai, Philippe Beubry and Ger O’Shea from the Local Area Office, all the stewards and everyone who came out and made it another cracker of a festival.