Santa Claus came to Emmet Square to turn on Birr's Christmas lights last week after the town enjoyed a fantastic and magical afternoon of festive fun.
Despite the inclement weather conditions that eventually descended, a large crowd thronged into Emmet Square and waited patiently for Santa's arrival on Friday last where local performer, John Molloy was on hand to keep the crowd entertained.
It soon became apparent that organisers had a few tricks up their sleeves along with local Gardai as the Grinch was the first on the scene, chased closely by a local Garda in a bid to stop him stealing all of Santa's sacks dotted around the square.
MC, Paddy Keating was on hand to welcome everyone to the event and thanked all the organisers for their hard work in putting this now annual and much loved event together. He also re-assured the many children in the crowd that Santa would be arriving shortly.
After a short delay, the faint sound of Santa's sleigh could be heard, fast approaching, escorted by members of the local Gardai. Enthusiastically waving from the vehicle, Santa eventually hopped out into the Square and up onto the viewing stand. Chatting to the children, he warned them all to be good girls and boys for their parents over the coming weeks.
Santa was soon poised to do the all important job of turning on the lights and in what seemed like a blink of an eye, the whole town sparkled and the crowd let out a great cheer of delight as the lights were switched on. However, the crowd soon dispersed back down town for another trip on the Santa train while others headed towards Dooly's Hotel to visit Santa, finishing off what many people said was a great day in town.
The general consensus from the earlier afternoon spectacle of festive fun, which included Santa's train, Santa's grotto and mince pies and mulled wine, was that it was enjoyed by both young and old alike and as always hopes are high that this successful event will continue next year.
Speaking to the Tribune, one parent was delighted to be able to bring their children into town for “such festive fun”. “It is good for the town and good for its businesses, I hope,” they enthused.
Earlier in the afternoon, around the town, the mood was certainly jovial as people got into the festive spirit as local school choirs entertained passers-by in the Square and the arrival of the much loved train, along Connaught Street, snaked around from 3pm onwards.
The Tribune popped along to Connaught Street as darkness fell on Birr to get a flavour of the atmosphere and was greeted by excited children, queueing both for the train and to see Santa. Waiting in line for the return of the train, one parent commented: “It's a great bit of excitement” while another was impressed with the train itself and how well the event was organised.