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Family Christmas Light Show in Galway‘taking a break’ this year


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Family Christmas Light Show in Galway‘taking a break’ this year Family Christmas Light Show in Galway‘taking a break’ this year

There will be disappointment for hundreds of families this Christmas, with the news that the Carrick Family Light Show in Galway is taking a break for 2023.

The brainchild of patriarch James, the show with music and 70,000 LED lights on a house in Renmore attracted up to 400 people nightly to watch, and had become a firm tradition over the past four years.

James usually begins work on the major project in March, building controllers to synchronise the lights with the lively out-of-the ordinary Yuletide tunes. He then spends a week working flat out to erect the lights on every inch of the semi-detached home and garden in Lurgan Park.

His employer, Cisco in Oranmore, give him a week off to carry out the momentous task, as part of their company policy to reward employees who give back to the community.

What began as a way to indulge a hobby for Christmas lights has morphed into an annual charity extravaganza, raising €20,000 so far for Madra, Claddagh Watch and Galway Autism Partnership. But this year, the family is going to take a break.

“I decided early on in January we weren’t doing it this year. It’s an immense effort, it ties us to the house for two-and-a-half months because we can’t go wandering off leaving that amount of gear sitting around,” he explains.

“I’ve three-year-old Jay now and he’s seen only the inside of the house every Christmas. He gets handed to me every evening at 5.30 after work, his mammy works in the evening and by the time I play with him for three hours, I’m wrecked.

“So we’ll take a break and come back next year, which I’m already looking forward to. I might even  do something small for Halloween next year, you never know.”

The family – which includes two girls – is heading to Dromoland Castle to see Santa and will fit in as many treats as they can on their first ‘normal’ Christmas.

“The ladies typically hide when it starts and pull the curtains so they don’t see the few hundred people staring in every evening. We have it down to a fine art at this stage. It starts on the button of 6.30pm and is over exactly at 7.30pm.

“We will often get people driving up after it’s over, asking can we put on another song, and it’s a hard no. We have nice neighbours, they haven’t complained, but they know we only do this at this time, so they will have the lights, the traffic of people, but then it’s over.”

James had to cancel the last few days of the show last year after a fault kept interfering with the lights. The previous year, he also had to pull the plug on one show due to the big freeze.

Meanwhile, this weekend marks the start of the Christmas Market, which is trading for a record two months this year, following the decision to reopen on St Stephen’s Day for another for 13 days.

Already pre-booked tickets for the beer tent costing €6 – which guarantee a seat and a queue skip – have sold out.

The market opened last Friday until December 22. Amusements will be open until lunchtime on Christmas Eve while the bars will close down at 10pm on December 23.

Then on St Stephen’s Day, a smaller version of market opens until January 7.

(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: James Carrick putting the finishing touches to his Christmas lights last year).

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