It’s a long-running tradition.
Christmas lights and decorations are up and ready to be switched on at Willie and Diana O’Donovan’s in Union Hall this weekend.
The couple have been setting up a Christmas display in their garden -in front of what was once Union Crafts- for ne’er on 43 years, hosting Santy every Christmas to raise funds for local charities and to spread some well-deserved holiday spirit.
The format of the evening has changed somewhat since its inception: there was a time when Santy would arrive by sleigh and appear atop the roof of the former toyshop to the uncontainable delight of local children.
But alas, due to health and safety concerns, he’s had to change tacts completely.
This year the North Pole native will arrive in the decorated bucket of a digger which will deliver him from the church to the Church Road residence some 500 metres down the road, brandishing the Andy Scannell Cup in one hand- won by the Senior Castlehaven men this year in the championship final- and a bag of sweets in the other.
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It’s no secret that Santy is a big fan of the ‘ole GAA and rumour has it he used play in goal for the Haven back in the day- that is before his knees gave out and inflation made flying to training uneconomical.
“This year’s chosen charities are the Skibbereen Community Hospital and Cancer Research,” announced the community group on Instagram.
There will also be some Christmas tunes sung by carol singers from the local school and Willie has promised Yay Cork that there to be hot chocolate available to purchase on the night.
At the same time, the Union Hall village lights will also be switched on and families traditionally will walk through the village after the excitement of Santa’s arrival has died down.
Santy will be arriving at Willie and Diana O’Donovan’s garden via digger at about 5pm and lights will be switched on at around 5:10pm- 5:15pm, on Saturday, December 2nd.
The garden is located on Church Road, next to the GAA pitch. Parking will be challenging so it is advised to arrive early to make sure you don’t miss the excitement.