Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Raheny Christmas Tree

I keep rattling on about how Raheny, although it is close enough to Dublin's city centre, has kept a village atmosphere despite the steady expansion of this suburb over the last half century. This has been evident at the Raheny Festivals and it was also evident at the turning on of the Christmas lights on Sunday last.

Part of the main street was blocked off to traffic and the resulting space was packed tight with people of all ages. There was the inevitable squad car with its flashing blue lights. Gardaí were on special duty and stewards in high visibility jackets kept a wary eye on the proceedings.

The occasion kicked off at 3.30pm but I didn't arrive until it was nearly time to turn on the christmas tree lights at 5pm.

There was music a plenty, from the ballads and carols of the choir and its accompanying guitarist ...

... to the rousing sound of the Dublin All Stars Marching Band, with its innovative multi-material French Horn ...

... and a bit of percussion from Santy himself - well, you know what I mean.

Nuff of the entertainment, it's nearly time to get down to business. Ian Dempsey is this year's celebrity MC and here he is introducing the tree to an expectant crowd. And no, I don't want any Hitler sound tracks thank you. This is a serious matter, though the young lad on the right has not quite made up his mind.

On the left is celebrity GAA All Star and local lad, Brian Fenton. Brian was man of the match at the All Ireland final in September when Dublin beat Kerry for the Sam Maguire Cup. I haven't yet forgiven him for putting Mayo out of the Sam.

But first we pause for the blessing. Rev Norman McCauseland just missed this occasion by days when it was his turn in 2013. He arrived to take up duty in the Raheny & Coolock Church of Ireland parish at the end of November that year to replace Rector Jim Carroll who had just retired. So this year he finally gets his innings and we get a Protestant Christmas tree.

It's a fierce cold day but local photographer and historian, Leo George Devitt, is not deterred and thanks to his North Face gear is on hand to record the event.

At the end of the communal count down, led by Blossom Ireland, the lights are turned on and it's officially Christmas.

Next day, with the crowd dispersed, the tree can be seen in context, on the open space between the Marie Hayes memorial cross and the old church site and graveyard.

It will remain there until early January next, under the watchful eye of the mini-ravens who patrol the graveyard.

1 comment:

Póló said...

Just got an email from Colette at Blossom Ireland:

Once again it was a fantastic community event, and it raised a phenomenal €2,825.00 for Blossom Ireland!

So on behalf of all the Blossom Families may we wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year.