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2 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

MULLINGAR CHRISTMAS MARKET The new and improved Mullingar Christmas Market will be taking place from this Thursday, 5 December, to Sunday, 8 December, and then again for a second bout of Christmas cheer from Thursday, 12 December to Sunday, 15 December, in the Town Park for all to enjoy. Now in its sixth year, the Mullingar Christmas Market has an array of unique gifts, goods, treats, and services waiting for you and yours at the Town Park this year. You won’t need to go any further than Mullingar for all your Christmas needs. Over the past few years, the Market has been developed to become the midland’s biggest Christmas family extravaganza, and with an added bonus of an ice rink to enjoy along with the Market, tens of thousands will be flocking to Mullingar to take part in the festivities. This year Mullingar Chamber of Commerce and Westmeath County Council have gone to great lengths to ensure that 2019 will be absolutely unforgettable.

WINTERFEST Winterfest Mullingar is an award-winning seven week festival that has created a magical winter destination for families in the heart of the Irish midlands and has given a significant boost to local retailers in Mullingar during the busy Christmas period. The main attractions of Winterfest include Mullingar On Ice, the only ice skating rink in the midlands and an annual Christmas Market which runs over the first two weekends of December and is hosted above the pond in the picturesque Mullingar Town Park. Winterfest was launched last year by Mullingar Chamber as an innovative concept to attract visitors into the centre of Mullingar during the busy Christmas retail period to

help boost sales for local businesses who have struggled to combat online sales and competition from large nearby cities such as Dublin & Galway. Last year, Winterfest at tracted over 100,000 people to Mullingar Town Park with 80% of visitors from outside of Mullingar itself, and on average, visitors spent over €50 in local busi-

nesses on their visit. Mullingar Chamber are hoping for an even more successful event with an enhanced visitor experience at Mullingar on Ice and an extended and larger Christmas Market taking place this year. Mullingar Chamber volunteer and local pharmacist John Keane said, “Businesses in Mullingar

have struggled in recent years due to the growth in online shopping and our proximity to big cities such as Dublin and Galway which attract shoppers away from rural towns with large multinational retailers and family attractions such as ice skating. Winterfest was launched to provide an alternative,

easily accessible major family attraction for families in the Midlands and to provide a significant increase in footfall that local businesses could capitalise on. “We were delighted that Winterfest and in particular, Mullingar on Ice made a massive positive impact on the tourism and retail sec-

tors in Mullingar last year and we hope to build on the success of last year’s event to become known as the Winter Wonderland of the Midlands. We hope that Winterfest will give people an even better reason to shop local and support local businesses this Christmas. We have also created over 30 seasonal jobs and were delighted to retain many of the same team members from last year.” Mullingar Chamber have worked incredibly hard with a wide range of volunteers, community groups, partners and sponsors to enhance the experience for visitors to Mullingar this year. Most notably, there is a larger ice skating rink with an indoor cafe and live photography provided by Alpha Pix to capture the best moments on the ice and transform them into beautiful mementos and souvenirs for visitors. There is also a larger and extended Christmas Market

which runs over the first two weekends in December and will host a wide range of arts, crafts and food vendors as well as choirs, performers, Santa’s Grotto, carousels and other amusements for children. John Keane added, “We’re delighted to provide a fantastic day out for families and friends but visitors are advised to book ice skating tickets in advance online on www.iceskating.ie to get the best value and to avoid disappointment during busy periods. We look forward to building on the success of last year’s events and helping families create some magical memories once again.” The Market in the Town Park is set to house craft and food vendors of all descriptions with plenty on offer for the whole family to enjoy. The kids can also enjoy plenty of amusements on offer over the season. Entertainers • Continued page 3

Wishing all our customers a very happy Christmas

Local crowds brave the cold for the turning on of Mullingar’s Christmas lights which took place on Friday, 22 November.

Wishing all our customers Happy Christmas and peacefull New Year

Peter Moore & Co. Ltd

TOPIC NEWSAGENTS Mount Street, Mullingar

(P.E. MOORE, B. Agr. Sc. & F.A.I.A.) Accountants, Taxation and Agricultural Consultants

Rolly Toys Barbie dolls

Over 40 years experience in Farm Accounts 6 Patrick St., Mullingar T: 044 9341577 • M: 087 9875156 Croghan Demense, Tullamore, Co. Offaly Tel: 046 9737146

Wishing all our customers a very Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year

‘Frozen’ figures


TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

3

RETURNS FOR BIGGEST YEAR YET! will grace the Park over the festive season; carollers, dancers, singers, musicians, performers, choirs, and bands are warming up and preparing for a charge of Christmas cheer. Getting the Christmas shopping done for gifts and food can be hectic enough. Mullingar’s Christmas Market will incorporate somewhere to revive and refresh with treats and hot or cold drinks to ensure everyone’s getting a well deserved rest, even if it’s just for a little while. Don’t forget that the big man himself, Santa Claus will be in his grotto to visit with all the children of Mullingar and Westmeath. The Mullingar Christmas Market is regarded as one of the midlands’ finest Christmas markets and with a perfect setting, lovingly at-

Launching the Mullingar Christmas lights were actors Sean Doyle and Celia Murphy who were in town for the ‘Valley of the Squinting Windows’ recently. Also pictured were Santa himself and Seanie Doyle. tended stalls and huts, and romantic Christmas lights creating a warm ambience, it’s not hard to see why. The 2019 Mullingar

Christmas Market will take place from Thursday, 5 December, to Sunday, 8 December, and then again from Thursday, 12 December to

Sunday, 15 December, in the Town Park. ICE RINK The opening weekend saw astonishing num-

Grab a local shopping gift voucher this Christmas -

a perfect present The Mullingar Chamber Shopping Voucher Scheme, with support from Buckley’s Supervalu and Mullingar Credit Union, is a shop local initiative supporting local retailers, businesses and community by encouraging local spending. In 2018, approximately €200,000 of vouchers were sold and Retail Excellence Ireland research shows

that this creates value to the extent of €800,000 to the local economy! Christmas is a particularly popular period for the Mullingar Chamber Shopping Voucher Scheme as vouchers are the perfect gift for friends and family and as an employer, the gift of vouchers to employees up to the value of €500 is tax free! Vouchers

DALY’S BARBERS STOCKISTS OF AMERICAN CREW PRODUCTS Austin Friar St., Mullingar

Wishing our Customers a very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year

can be purchased in the Mullingar Chamber office or the Mullingar Credit Union. Julia Dalton, CEO, Mullingar Chamber said, “We would like to thank the local business and wider community for supporting this initiative. We would also thank Westmeath County Council for their support with this scheme under funding

provided through a Service Level Agreement to market Mullingar. The Mullingar Chamber Shopping Voucher Scheme is designed to promote spending with local retailers and businesses and enhance economic growth for the town. The key message in Mullingar is shop local, support local.”

Wishing all our Clients & Friends a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year from Tormey Auctioneers. Mary Street, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

044 93 33377 / 086 2450616 www.tormeyauctioneers.ie

bers of people get their skates on and take to the ice, and this Christmas is going to be one of the busiest yet for Mullingar. The ‘quiet’ period is expected to end when schools are out for the holidays so Colm says to get online and book now to ensure your place on the ice.

Visit IceSkating.ie now and sign up the whole family. Ice skating runs from Wednesday to Sunday all the way up to Sunday, 12 January. SHOW SUPPORT When asked what should the people of Mullingar do to help ensure a repeat of this year’s successes, Colm Baker, Winterfest PRO replied, “Spread the word that Mullingar has the best ice skating rink in the country and that it’s a wonderful day out for the family without the hassle of travelling to Dublin. If there’s an occasion happening, we want you to come ice skating, if there’s a present to be bought, make it an ice skating voucher, if there’s a party happening, kickstart the craic with a laugh on the ice rink, and if there’s small talk to be made, make it about ice skating. If we all work together we can make it a massive success and an even bigger and better festival for the years ahead.”

FLYNN

Kelly Caulfield Shaw

Wishing all our Clients

S ol ici tors a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New year

Services Include Probate, Wills, Conveyancing, Family Law, Litigation And Personal Injury

1 Chapterhouse, Friars Mill Road Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

T: 044 9348412 F: 044 93 43619

www.kcs.ie • info@kcs.ie

FUELS

Fuelling the community for generations

Home Heating Oil

Agri and Commercial

• Affordable Prices • Quality Products • Dependable Service Order online 24/7 FREE PHONE 1800 359667 www.flynnfuels.ie The Downs, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Wishing our customers a warm and cosy Christmas


4 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

• WINTERFEST IS BACK IN MULLINGAR • Castle St., Mullingar Ph: 044 934 4122 1/2 Price Waxy Wednesdays Spray Tan Thursdays: €15 Late Opening Thursdays & Fridays and selected days over the Christmas - Phone for info. Wishing all our lovely customers and friends a happy Christmas! The Fogerty Family - Yvonne, Seanie, Rachel, and Sean. Sean was former manager of Mullingar Greyhound Stadium enjoying the Winterfest.

In from Killucan was Ella Carr.

Mullingar girls Louise Cawley and Roisin Maguire with their skates on.

Elva Kennedy, Danielle Potter and Layla Potter enjoying the Winterfest in Mullingar.

Ice crew from Mullingar - Tia Clarke, Orla Sheerin and Jessica O’Connor.

Carla and Sophie Sabatini having fun at the Winterfest.


TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

5

• WINTERFEST IS BACK IN MULLINGAR • The hugely popular Winterfest ice-staking rink in the Mullingar Town Park attracted all the crowds last year from across the midlands, and it looks to be doing the same again for 2019. The opening weekend has already seen thousands of people get their skates on and take to the ice, and slots are filling up fast for the coming weeks. The rink will be available all the way up to Sunday, 12 January with slots available from Wednesday to Sunday. Our photographer snapped a few photos of locals with their skates on over the first few days.

Pals Kaitlin White Delaney, Blaithin Flood, Sophie Byers and Grace Agayi out for the skating in Mullingar recently.

DAVID O’MALLEY’S Wishing all our Customers a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year

33 Dominick Street, Mullingar • Tel. 044-9348300

WATCHMAKER, JEWELLER FISHING TACKLE SPECIALISTS FIRE ARMS & AMMUNITION Call in and see our large range of jewellery and watches

Purchase your watches and jewellery from a qualified watchmaker The Jones lads from Clonygowan William, David and Daniel enjoying Winterfest in Mullingar.

Abigail and Jennifer Loftus from Mullingar, happy out on Kirsey and Geraldine McKeon on ice. the ice.

We also cater for fishing & shooting enthusiasts

Christmas Opening Hours 300 Underground Carpark Spaces

t Do n’t f o rge a u our ann l Mar ke t Ch r is t m as no w o p e n f rom m as u n t il Ch r is t

Late Night Shopping! Open 9am ‘til 10pm from 16th-23rd Dec Open Christmas Eve 8am - 6pm Closed Christmas Day Open St. Stephen’s Day from 10am

fairgreenmullingar.ie

The Lathowski Family - Karl, Chris, Kasia, Jacob, and Kornel.

OPEN/CLOSING TIMES MAY VARY Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all our customers from management and staff in Fairgreen Shopping Centre.


CHRISTMAS PUZZLES 6 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Colour the picture..

• Spot the difference •

Can you find the differences between the pictures?


Steps to a stress free Christmas

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Christmas is definitely in the air. The excitement is building, the shops are dripping with Christmas fare, children are bubbling over with excitement and plans are afoot for ‘your best Christmas ever’. But what if this creates too much stress? What if you now feel under far too much pressure to get everything right? Suddenly everything changes

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH Try shopping online to reduce the chance of impulse buying.

CARDS Get your Christmas cards done as early as possible. Even if you sign your cards in November and put them back in the box ready for posting them in December. Just remember to leave them in a visible place so you don’t forget to post them.

CAFFEINE

from great fun to growling and snapping at each other. However, a lot of this can be avoided by taking some simple steps to make life easier.

PLAN AHEAD

run up to Christmas, make it as detailed as possible. Then you break it down into bitesized, manageable groups so it doesn’t feel so daunting. Most importantly, every time a task is done you must strike it off the list, this gives a great sense of achievement and spurs you on to complete the rest.

SET YOURSELF A BUDGET

Cut out coffee or at least decaf them. Caffeine produces cortisol in our bodies. This is the same hormone that is released when the fight or flight response is triggered in our brain. This causes a whole body wide stress response, it reduces blood flow to vital organs and the digestive system, makes the heart pump faster and reduces oxygen to the brain.

ALCOHOL Tis the season to be jolly, but, like caffeine, alcohol comes with all too apparent detriments which can make said season a lot more difficult than it needs to be. One can still enjoy themselves without ruining the next day or two with a monstrous hangover. Family events can also be marred and remain in the memory for years to come if the

7

social limits of acceptable intoxication are surpassed. Don’t be that guy/girl.

KNOW WHEN TO STOP Know when to stop the Christmas preparations and reduce the workload to the bare minimum. This will give you time to relax and enjoy the festive season too.

KEEP CALM On Christmas Day stay calm, use some relaxation techniques. Try abdominal breathing (place your hands on your abdomen and breath good and deep to fill your lungs right to the bottom, this will push your stomach out, then exhale slowly. Repeat this twice then breathe normal, then twice again and breathe normal) this will re-oxygenate the body and get rid of the stress hormones that are floating around your bloodstream. Light some scented candles and put on the Christmas carols. Incidentally, turkey contains tryptophan, our body uses this to create serotonin which is a powerful brain calming chemical. This explains why we all love a good snooze after our Christmas dinner. Remember Christmas is supposed to be a mix of fun and relaxation and neither can happen if you are stressed.

Sending gifts abroad this Christmas

You’ve just grabbed a bargain from one of our local advertisers, and now you’re looking to send one abroad to a loved one. A gift to your family or friends from home will always go down well. Whether you’re thinking of shipping Christmas gifts, personal effects or important documents, there are a few things you need to consider before sending your shipments. An Post has released a handy guide to upcoming dates which detail your last possible chance to post your cards, letters, packages, and parcels abroad. There are also some

Santa is not the only one who can make a list. Write out a list of all the things you would like to achieve on the

common restrictions for international deliveries, and you may not be aware of country specific import restrictions. As a general guide, we also have an overview of what to consider and what can and cannot be shipped to the USA, Canada and Australia to help you plan.

LAST CHANCE TO POST For International Standard (airmail) and International Tracking Signature services: INTERNATIONAL Friday, 6 December marks the last chance to post internationally for the majority of

countries around the world. There are exceptions to this with Monday, 19 December being your last chance to use the International Courier Service (only available at selected Post Offices). USA Friday, 6 December marks the deadline for standard post parcels and registered post to the USA, and Tuesday, 10 December being the deadline for standard post letters. You can use the international courier service up until Tuesday, 19 December. EUROPE For Europe, the deadline for standard post parcels is Friday, 13 December; for standard post letters, registered, and the international courier service is

By giving yourself a budget for gifts, decorations, food etc., and sticking to it, it removes the pressure of trying to find that extra cash at the last minute.

Thursday, 19 December. GREAT BRITAIN Last posting date to Britain for standard post letters and parcels, registered post, and the international courier service is Wednesday, 19 December. NORTHERN IRELAND Northern Ireland deadline is Friday, 20 December for standard post letters and parcels and registered post; and the deadline for express post is Saturday, 21 December. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND Finally for Republic of Ireland, the final posting date for standard post letters and parcels, and registered post is Friday, 20 December; and for express post is Saturday, 21 December.

CUSTOMS

PACKAGING

Every country has its customs regulations, which set the duties and taxes. Typically, the recipient must pay these taxes upon entry of that country. Unless you are shipping documents, you will need to provide a customs invoice. Duty and taxes are based on the reason for export and the value of the items. For example, high value goods for resale can attract a higher level of import duty and tax than gifts. Even if you are sending a gift that may be exempt from duties and taxes, customs paperwork is still required.

Whenever you send a parcel, especially one containing fragile items, it is best to invest in a new double corrugated cardboard box for the outer packaging. Wrap each item individually in bubblewrap and fill any remaining space left in the box with leftover bubble wrap, newspaper or foam. Seal the box with plenty of packaging tape and secure all flaps and seams with multiple layers of tape. Clearly display the packaging labels and make sure each item is clearly listed on the shipping invoice. This will avoid your goods being delayed at customs.

SHIPPING FOOD

Sending food to anywhere can be a tricky proposition, as there are a lot of details to get caught up in. Generally, couriers won’t take any food items with an expiry date of less than six months from the date of shipping. They will take preserved foods like jam or marmalades and they will of course take whatever variety of sweets you’ll think those down south might be having a hankering for, as long as they have a shelf life of over six months past the day of dispatch. That should be good news for the Christmas

hamper you’ve been compiling, but remember to bear in mind that countries such as Australia are hotter than we Irish are used to, so some food – chocolate is the first thing that comes to mind – may not end the journey in exactly the same state it started in To make sure that there are definitely no problems with what you’re sending, you should make sure you post them in the sealed manufacturers packaging. You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve clearly noted everything you’re sending in your package or hamper to make sure that it’s easy to identify everything.

TRANSIT TIMES While most express services offer transit times of two to three days, this does not take into account potential customs delays, service disruption or deliveries to remote areas of the USA, Canada, and Australia. It is recommended that customers ship a few days early, just in case there is a delay at customs, and transit times do not take into account customs delays. Include full contact details of recipient including mobile, email, address and a second contact number if possible.

Kieran O’Malley, Mark and Rachel Potterton, and James Campbell at Bloomfield, for the North Westmeath Hospice Jingle and Mingle Ball.


8 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

FOR THE KIDS

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Every Christmas, little ones all over the world go crazy for the latest and greatest in toys, and below are just some of the most popular on the PLAY-DOH market this year. Some COMPOUND are slimy, some are CORNER educational, some are cuddly, some are creative - all will keep your little darlings busy for hours.

Happy Christmas

Dominick Street, Mullingar

Full off licence Full hot and cold deli

Moves Sloth introduces your baby to counting, colours, and the alphabet, and is very helpful in giving their gross motor skills a workout.

The Spiced Bean Cafe • Deli / Sandwich Bar • Eat in / Take out • Fresh Homemade Savories / Pastries

Mary Street Mullingar Co. Westmeath Tel: 044 9349967

HOT WHEELS ID ’70 DODGE CHARGER

These oozy Play-Doh compounds for children three years and older come in lots of satisfying textures and fun colours. Classic, crackle, squeezy, stretchy, and squishy stuff are perfect for children after a sensory activity.

FISHER PRICE LINKIMALS SMOOTH MOVES SLOTH

The Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth gets your baby moving and learning with exciting lights, music, songs, and dance moves. Press the buttons on the sloth’s feet to hear all about numbers, colours, and more, as the sloth claps and boogies. When the Smooth Moves Sloth recognises other Linkimals friends nearby, they create a synchronised music and light show. The Smooth

This craft kit offers children six years and older great glitter play in a less messy way. This set features 84 glitter dots in a variety of colours allowing your child’s creativity to shine. Squish, spread, and sparkle on the provided cardstock or other surfaces to make your own designs. All supplies are safe and non toxic.

MELISSA & DOUG SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE PLAY FOOD SET

A pretend sweet playtime treat, this colourful wooden set includes wooden sliceable cookies with toppings, wooden knife, spatula, cookie sheet, and kitchen mitt for safe and deliciously imaginative play.

We wish all our Customers and Friends a very Happy Christmas and a Safe Prosperous New Year

Everyone’s favourite baby shark is now available as an interactive singing puppet. When your child moves the mouth of the baby shark puppet, the song will play in its entirety, and the global sensation comes in three characters Baby, Mommy, and Daddy. When the shark’s mouth moves faster, so does the song.

FISHER PRICE WONDER MAKERS DESIGN SYSTEM VEHICLES

Playtime gets extra creative with this set of six Wonder Makers toy vehicles. Each push along vehicle features separate pieces that snap together and come with a character to drive. The toys contain real wood, and kids can let their imaginations run wild as they create fun stories with the vehicles and characters.

HAIRDORABLES SHORT CUTS DOLLS

Alterations and Embroidery

Castle St, Mullingar • (044) 939 6757

a collectible perfume bottle, two surprises, and one collector’s guide.

Hot Wheels ‘id’ is a unique system of play that blends the exhilaration of Hot Wheels racing with a safe, connected platform of creativity and competition. Each racer has an embedded NFC chip giving it a unique identity which can be scanned with your phone to measure performance, giving a new revolutionary way to play with Hot Wheels vehicles and track. There are lots to collect and race against each other.

TREASURE X ALIENS DISSECTION KIT

Treasure X Aliens offer a new, slimy and always surprising twelve step reveal experience. Follow the mission objective to dissect the aliens and root through the ooze and insides to find a rare space gem. Eighteen to choose from, this is the ultimate play experience in the universe.

It hits the top lists every year with no signs of ever disappearing. What better way to enjoy Christmas than to take on friends and family members in a capitalistic struggle to rule the city. This edition includes a speed die to give the players options for faster gameplay.

These adorable Ty plush soft toys are ready for play time fun. The quality plush is soft and cuddly, and handmade with the finest fabrics. Perfect for the younger children. Ages three years and older.

BAKUGAN BATTLE ARENA GAME BOARD

PIKMI POPS CHEEKI PUFFS

NOW AVAILABLE

Wishing all our customers a happy Christmas and thank you for all your custom throughout the year

Unit 17, Zone A, Mullingar Business Park Mullingar, Co. Westmeath Phone/Fax: 044

9390391

E-mail: info@totaltiles.ie Web: www.totaltiles.ie

These short and sweet Hairdorables with a “big hair, don’t care” attitude, come with eight surprises inside, and you can also interchange styles and accessories between the dolls and customise however you want.

New from the sweet world of Pikmi Pops, Cheeki Puffs are an irresistibly cute range of plush characters packed with scented shimmer. There are four shades to brighten up your child’s day, and each Cheeki Puff surprise pack comes with a scented shimmer plush displayed inside

These adorable dolls are full of fun and play, and their head bobbles with every movement. With interchangeable clothes and removable shoes you can accessorise and customise your Kindi Kids as well as mix and match their favourites food - ice cream, marshmallow, and cake.

LUMIES DAZZLE GOGO

TY BEANIE BOOS FANTASIA

Personalised Stocking Printing

printing services for mugs, candles, logos..

KINDI KIDS SNACK TIME FRIENDS

MONOPOLY SPEED DIE EDITION BOARD GAME

CRAYOLA GLITTER DOTS SPARKLE STATION CRAFT KIT

Wishing all our customers, friends and staff a happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year Wishing all our customers a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2020

WOWWEE PINKFONG BABY SHARK SONG PUPPET

The Bakugan Battle Arena is the ultimate way to brawl with friends. A hexagonal grid allows kids to lay out and battle their Bakugan, mythical creatures from an alternate dimension and find out who reigns all in the world of Bakugan.

Lumies are loveable, rainbow charged pompom pets that interact with colour in magical ways. With a simple tap, Lumies can match any colour and even turn them into musical beats. They will react with over 100 sounds and phrases depending on their mood and colours that they are ‘fed’.


TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

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CHRISTMAS FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY AT ROCK ’n’ BOWL Celebrating their tenth anniversary, Rock ’n’ Bowl is one of the most popular entertainment centres in the midlands, hosting an extensive indoor playground - Jungle Joe’s, a bowling alley, cafe and restaurant, and the ideal location to host your child’s birthday party, all located in the one building on the Lynn Road, Mullingar.

HISTORY Rock ’n’ Bowl was started by the O’Brien family, of the O’Brien car showrooms, Centra shop, and filling station all also on the Lynn Rd. The family business began in 1963, started by Paddy O’Brien in Rochfortbridge, but relocated to Mullingar in the early ‘70s. In 2009, the O’Brien’s branched out into the entertainment industry with the construction of Rock ’n’ Bowl, originally managed by JP O’Brien and now managed by Enda Murray. The activity centre has a work force of 20

people who look after the day to day running of its many facilities the bowling alley, indoor playground, food and refreshments, and the popular party venues located upstairs. JUNGLE JOE’S Entering Jungle Joe’s, one’s eyes are immediately drawn to the gargantuan indoor playground to the left where screams of joy and excitement are ever present as children of all ages scramble to race around and bounce off everything imaginable, offering plenty of exercise and release of

energy. The soft play area is the perfect place to bring the kids to get them away from the screen or enjoy some activities if the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor play. Jungle Joe’s is divided up to ensure that each age group is protected from harm against some of the bigger kids. Both wobblers and toddlers are

catered for in their own special areas so that you don’t have to worry about those with firmer footing running or knocking into the smaller children. PARTIES Children’s parties are well looked after at Rock ’n’ Bowl. Each birthday party gets their own host or hostess to look after the

whole affair, and kids have an opportunity to enjoy all the facilities, including Jungle Joe’s, the bowling alley, bouncy castle, laser tag, and the all new Teddy Mountain. Upstairs, the kids, their friends and family are catered for in a private area where they can enjoy their food and birthday cake.

ALSO ON OFFER The range of entertainment at Rock ’n’ Bowl doesn’t quite end there, as there are many other activities for the whole family to enjoy. Take the kids on a run around the track in a go-kart, or let the older children enjoy the games arcade. The cafe and restaurant has a wide variety of treats and refreshments and in cludes the much needed tea and coffee for parents on their last legs. ULTIMATE FAMILY DAY OUT At Rock ’n’ Bowl on the Lynn Road, Mullingar, the whole family can enjoy and experience the ultimate family fun day out this Christmas. Rock ’n’ Bowl ten pin bowling is open seven days a week from

10.00am until late closing and offers a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of our wet and cold winter days and keep the kids active and out of the house. For more information on Rock ’n’ Bowl and all it can offer you, your family, and friends this summer give them a call on 044 93 33 300 or visit www.RocknBowl.ie.

KIDS AY L P T F SO

Ro Gif ck ‘n’ tV B ava ouch owl ilab ers le

OF FUN IN MULLINGAR!

er n i D / e f Ca s y a D 7 Op e n

J.P., Enda and the team would like to thank all of our customers for their support during our first 10 years

Rock ‘n’ Bowl Ten Pin Bowling • Jungle Joes Kids Play Area • Kids Party Rooms • Café/Diner • Kids Go Karts • American Style Pool and Amusements Rock ‘n’ Bowl, Lynn Road, Mullingar 044 9333300 www.rocknbowl.ie •

Open 10am till late


THIS CHRISTMAS, GIFT THE BEST READS OF 2019 10 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

THE GUARDIANS By John Grisham

clients forgotten by the system. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated. They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.

THE INSTITUTE In the small Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues. There were no witnesses, no one with a motive. But the police soon came to suspect Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s. A lawyer named Cullen Post travels the country fighting wrongful convictions and taking on

By Stephen King

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

truders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did. As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

THE WATER DANCER

of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

THE DUTCH HOUSE: A NOVEL

The novel follows a brother and sister who grow up in a fairy tale—a huge house, a loving father, and a caring staff. The only thing that’s missing is their mother, who had a more fraught existence, and fled the pressures of managing the household when they were young. When their father dies and leaves his fortune to their stepmother, the kids are left to fend for themselves, going on to live a drastically different life than they had imagined.

ment to a loan shark, it’s the Albanian street gang holding the ledger which ends up taking the punishment. And if Reacher has to ignite a turf war between rival gangs in order to mete out that punishment, well, why should he try to solve just one problem when he might neatly square away two?

THE TESTAMENTS: SEQUEL TO THE HANDMAID’S TALE By Margaret Atwood

BLUE MOON: A JACK REACHER NOVEL

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Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory

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More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up

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TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

11

LOCALS ENJOY MOATE CHRISTMAS MARKET Moate Indoor Market took place in Moate Community Hall on Sunday, 17 November, the place was packed with people getting ready for the holidays and Topic were present on the day to take some photos of the event.

Willie Penrose TD

Pictured at Moate Indoor Market are Jess and Alex Dalton.

Anthony Doolin, John Frawley and Tom Doolin at Moate Indoor Market.

Constituency Office: Convent Lane, Bishopsgate Street, Mullingar Open 9.30 - 5.30 Monday - Friday

Tel: 044 93 43987

I would like to wish all my constituents a very Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year Instead of sending Christmas cards this year I will be making a donation to charity.

Christmas Greetings from Linda Jo Quinn and Caroline Lawlor from Westmeath Community Development with Mary Greally, Chairperson of Mount Carmel Drive Residents Organisation.

Angela Hoare, Mary Byrne and Josie Costello at Moate Indoor Market.

9am-7pm Mon-Fri • 9am-2pm Saturday

ENDA FINNERTY, DECLAN O’BRIEN, CAROLINE FARRELL JULIE CAMPBELL JENNY ALGAR

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Seasons Greetings from Féile, Izabella and Siofra Carroll with their kitten Ginger at Moate Indoor Market.

Betty Lynam from Drumraney, Caroline Lawlor and Elizabeth Fitzgerald from Castledaly at Moate Indoor Market.

Wishing all my customers a very Happy Christmas

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12 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

North Westmeath hospice host festive ‘Jingle & Mingle’ ball Sean and Monica Reddy at the fundraiser ball.

Peter and Doreen Lynch at Bloomfield for the festive fundraiser.

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Kicking off the festive season in Mullingar was the Westmeath Hospice fundraiser ‘Jingle and Mingle’ Ball which took place in the Bloomfield House Hotel on Saturday, 16 November. The fundraiser had a number of events raising much needed moneys for the organisation including a raffle and auction, which were preceded by a drinks reception which attendees enjoyed and were entertained by the local Sweet Tunes Choir. Compere on the night was The Snapper and Ballykissangel actress Tina Kellegher who has made a home in Mullingar and is involved with North Westmeath Hospice. Partygoers enjoyed dancing, entertainment, food and drink on the big night which saw great support from the local community.

Denis Larkin, Troy Fearon, Tom Daly, and Willie Fearon.

Seamus and Patricia Carroll.

Percy Mills and John Smith at the fundraiser in Bloomfield. Cepta Wallace, Joe and Gretta Connell, Teresa O’Flynn, and Margaret Tully enjoying the ball.

Diarmuid Coughlan and Mary Griffin at the Jingle and Mingle Ball in Bloomfield. Mary Winterlich, Tina Kellegher and Agnes Weafer in Bloomfield for the North Westmeath Hospice Ball.

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Margerie Donoghue, Julie Delahunty Moore, Dr Tom Moore and Annie Boyan at Bloomfield, for the North Westmeath Hospice fundraiser.


TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

13

CLONKILL HOSTS FESTIVE CHRISTMAS MARKET Marking exactly one month before Christmas Eve, Clonkill hosted a wonderful Christmas Market. The big day arrived following weeks of organisation where attendees got a chance to peruse some of the goodies on offer from local businesses, enjoy lots of entertainment and Christmas cheer, and catch up with friends, family and neighbours. The day was a huge success, and funds raised from the market will be donated to numerous local charities. Organisers wish to thank all who supported the event.

Niamh Murtagh and Anthony Coyle pictured out for the Christmas Market in Clonkill.

Elaine and Mary Byrne pictured at the Clonkill Christmas Market on Sunday, 24 November.

Ann East at the Christmas Market in Clonkill. Kelly Kirby, Noah Shaw, Samantha Heraty, and Gerard Heraty pictured in Clonkill for the Christmas Market.

Joan Wellon and Ruth Selby in Clonkill for the recent Christmas Market. Brendan and Yvonne Coffey enjoying the Christmas festivities in Clonkill.

Richard and Cynthia McCormack in Clonkill for the recent Christmas Market.

Happy Christmas from all at Brendan Cullen pictured at the recent Christmas Market in Clonkill.

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Gina Carey and Catherine Feeley enjoying the festivities in Clonkill.

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Shelagh Nangle in Clonkill for the market.

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Plenty of festive activity for everyone in Delvin and Clonmellon 14 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

And so the message is clear and remains the same that local businesses depend on local support if they are to remain viable and survive. But unlike so many other rural communities where their local village is no more than a church and school in many cases that is certainly not the case in North Westmeath where many businesses, including the not so well established ones, are battling valiantly to remain profitable or at the very least viable. Topic paid a visit to a

number of of these businesses recently, with their preparations for Christmas in mind, and discovered that even without the presence of a departmental store or giant supermarket between Mullingar, Athboy and Kells there is still plenty of scope for Christmas shopping in the local shops and particularly with regard to gift-buying. On the social and spiritual scene there is also plenty of activity in the region ranging from Christmas Fairs and the formal Delvin

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TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Lights ‘Switch-On’ in the Courtyard on Saturday 7 December. The countdown to Christmas in Clonmellon got under way with the annual Christmas Fayre on 29 November in the Community Hall. Mulvaney’s and the Isaac’s Well are the main centres of entertainment in Clonmellon and particularly the Isaac’s Well which has enjoyed another actionpacked year and its function room is always in demand for social and community groups. Both Leonard’s and Gala - the two local village shops also deserve your support and the Cafe in the Market Square, especially over the Christmas period. YULETIDE IN DELVIN AND CLONMELLON When it comes to Christmas shopping in Delvin there is no doubt that McCormack’s Topline offers the best range in terms of Christmas-related merchandise and general household items, as well as solid fuels coal and briquettes etc and consumer durable goods. This will be their second Christmas since their enforced relocation to their corner premises after the devastating fire in their

old showroom in March 2018. On the approach to Delvin on the Mullingar Road look out for Seamus Gaffney Car Sales and Service opposite Delvin GAA Grounds in Clonyn on the Martinstown Road. Seamus, who is celebrating his 20th anniversary in the business this year, offers the usual car maintenance service supported by mechanic Mark Ennis and he also offers a highly recommended car-wash service. With over twelve years involvement in car sales Seamus also offers a used car sourcing service and can be contacted on 087 2475539. Michael Leonard’s shop, and Delvin Post Office in the same building, remains the main ‘hub’ and meeting-place for many Delvin shoppers. Al ways assured of the best of personal service and hospitality there is plenty to see in Michael’s well-stocked store adjacent to the village’s iconic Delvin Castle and directly opposite the Caman Inn - the only gastro-pub in the village. Just beyond the Ballyhealy Road junction on the right hand side and celebrating twelve

years in Delvin in 2019 is the Headquarters hairdressing salon adjacent to Carmel Gaffney’s pub. Owner Lindsay Jordan confirmed that she will be open for extra hours every Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the run-up to Christmas. Another popular barber situated on the Mullingar Road end of the village is Castle Barbers run by Marianne Busuioc or ‘Mary’ as she likes to be known by her many loyal customers. Mary, who works long hours and is hopeful of recruiting an experienced barber in the near future, wishes all her customers the best of festive greetings in what will be her third

Christmas in Delvin. Delvin also boasts one of the the few remaining craft butchers in the county in Lenihan’s family butchers. John Coll now owns the awardwinning business that was originally opened by his own grandfather and offers a range of ready-to-cook foods as well as locally sourced beef and lamb in a very well presented shop. But despite the pressure on many rural pubs to survive there are still five very popular ‘watering-holes’ in The Valley. Apart from the already mentioned popular gastro-pub The Caman Inn and Carmel Gaffney’s, O’Shaughnessy’s, The Blue Hackle (Balla-

haws) and The Greyhound all have a packed programme for Christmas. And in nearby Drumcree, Bartley’s will also be enjoying a packed programme of entertainment over the festive season. But sadly The Crowenstown Inn on the N51 has been closed since early in the New Year. Further north along the N52 on the Clonmellon Road just a mille outside Delvin is the Gala supermarket and filling station franchise run by Paul Williams and Sarah Orme. This Moyleroe-based business and general store, that also offers homecooked bread, is generally busy throughout the year with local customers and some of the passing trade on the busy cross-country link to the North. Down the N51 from Delvin towards Athboy is Crowenstown where

artist Hazel RevingtonCross runs her successful Purple Raven Gallery and Crafts Centre. There are plenty of gift ideas in her gallery shop just off the main road and adjacent to St. Patrick’s NS. Beside the currently closeddown Crowenstown Inn is Tommy Quaid’s garage. Clonmellon mechanic Tommy has been in business here for well over a decade. There is therefore plenty of goods and services on offer locally this year without having to travel further to any of the nearby towns. Just remember that money spent locally funds local jobs and keeps local companies and ventures in business. So it is really a case of keeping rural life alive by using these businesses or losing them for any Christmas in the future.

Best wishes to all our customers & neighbours this Christmas



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Eanna Kiernan ‘doing the hard sell’ with his buddies Shane Henry and behind Aaron O’Brien pictured during last years Brownstown Winter Fair at the Brownstown Community Centre.

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TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Idyllic Festive Tyrrellspass could be depicted on a Christmas card! Tyrrellspass will be hosting a number of festive events in the lead up to Christmas throughout the village. And the countdown to Yuletide is already well underway since the very enjoyable annual Christmas Fair and Coffee Morning hosted by Tyrrellspass’ Parents Association of St. Anne’s School in the GAA Centre last Sunday. This Sunday, 8 December Tyrrellspass Tidy Towns will be lighting up the town again

for Christmas on the The Green at 5.00pm. There will be seasonal treat, Christmas Carols and Santa Claus himself will be along to turn on the lights. The Barn is another very popular social hub in the village. Meanwhile further out on the Kilbeggan Road end of the village the Tyrrellspass Castle restaurant is also another popular venue at all times of the year. Finally the very impressive New Forest Golf Club is also a splendid venue for a function or just

Bethlehem PIZZA& PASTA

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

a meal all year round and especially the festive season. After Christmas on 28 December the New Forest is the venue for a Festive Ball in aid of Tyrrellspass GAA New pitch development. A monster draw with some very attractive prizes also takes place on the evening. Further details about tickets for the prize draw and the Festive Ball are available from Joanne on 086 387 4464, Bernie on 087 280 3293 or Darren on 087 273 7277.

15

Restaurant & Takeaway Main St., Tyrrellspass

044 9221840

Aoife Clarke with Santa at the Christmas Tree Lights up event in Tyrrellspass last year.

Wishing all of our customers a very Happy Christmas

WITH LIVE ENTERTAINMENT BY

DIARMUID GUINAN

Mark McGivney, Michael Conor and Lucy Mcgivney with Santa at the Christmas Tree Lights up event in Tyrrellspass last year.

Willie’s and the Village Barn

Friday, 13th December Saturday, 14th December

Children with Santa at the Christmas Tree Lights up event in Tyrrellspass last year.

Would like to wish each and every customer all the best for Christmas and 2020

For enquiries call David at 087 2709646 or visit www.thevillagebarn.ie

Happy Christmas from

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New Forest Gift Vouchers Higginstown, Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath - the ideal Christmas present

info@newforest.ie • www.newforest.ie Follow us on Facebook


Distillery Open Day among this year’s top Kilbeggan Christmas events 16 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

The first Kilbeggan Distillery Open day in almost ten years on this Sunday 8 December from 11.00am - 4.00pm is expected to be one of the major preChristmas events this year. The ‘Big Wheel’ on the oldest existing steam engine in its original place in Ireland will be in motion for the first time in three years and that fact has already attracted many enquiries since the details of the event were announced over three weeks ago. The day will also be a rare opportunity for the local people to appreciate their own local heritage at first hand and see the developments that have taken place over more than a decade in the revival of Kilbeggan Distillery that now attracts up to 40,000 vis-

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

BAILeY's IRIsh cReAm cheesecAke RecIpe

Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the crushed biscuits and mix until the butter has been absorbed. Remove from the heat. While it's still warm, press the mixture (using the back of a spoon) into the bottom of a lined 23cm/9inch springform or flan tin. Leave to set for one hour in the fridge. While it is chilling in the fridge, grate the chocolate. If your kitchen is warm, you should pop the gratings in the fridge, too. In a bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is soft. Beat in the icing sugar and a shot of Baileys. Fold in the whipped cream and three-quarters of the chocolate. When the mixture is smooth, smooth it evenly onto the biscuit base. Refrigerate and allow to set for at least two hours. If you can bear to leave it overnight, so much the better. To serve, remove from the tin and decorate. You can either sprinkle the remaining grated chocolate over the top for a simple finish, or add some individual chocolates and flakes for a more elegant and ceremonial dressing. • METHOD

itors a year. In addition to the usual visitor centre and distillery attractions there will also be a craft and food fair of local produce presented by a number of stall holders. Entry is free and visitors on the day will have an opportunity to

learn how Irish whiskey is made, and see the 132 year old steam engine in operation, and enjoy the festive local food and craft fair. There will also be live music, personalised whiskey bottles, a selection of gift baskets and

a variety of whiskey tastings. The Distillery themselves say that the main aim of this year’s open day event is to showcase the vast variety and high quality of craftmanship and local suppliers in the area, and in turn to promote local businesses to both

existing and new customers. “In addition, we are hoping to welcome visitors from near and far to experience the distillery free of charge.,” said Ruth Wyer, Visitor Centre Manager.

serve with all the ceremony and aplomb that a Baileys Irish cream cheesecake deserves! The recipe below is a seriously easy version that involves no cooking and no gelatine. And it takes only ten minutes to prepare. The only hard part is the three hours wait while it chills in the fridge! INGREDIENTS FOR A 9-INCH CHEESECAKE: • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter • 250g/8¾oz biscuits such as Digestives, hobnobs, Oaties. crushed. • 450g/1lb cream cheese such as philadelphia • 1 slug of Baileys Irish cream • 100g/3½oz icing sugar • 300ml/10½oz double cream • 60g/2oz chocolate (dairy or plain, as you prefer)


TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

’Tis the season in Kilbeggan Kilbeggan's preparations for the festive season are already well underway after a very successful Christmas Market and Craft Fair in St. James’ Hall on Sunday, 24 November. Kilbeggan Tidy Towns will once again host their annual Santa Visit on Saturday, 14 December in the Kilbeggan Parish Centre. Straight after 8.00pm Mass the residents usually assemble outside the Centre in anticipation of the arrival of Santa in a fire-engine. After his arrival the children have the opportunity to visit him inside his specially prepared Grotto with his Elves helpers. A similar pre-Christmas family event is also being organised by

the Kilbeggan Festival Committee in St. James’ Hall on Sunday afternoon - 23 December which also includes stall holders and crafts people who have an opportunity to showcase their skills, services and products. The annual St. Stephen’s Day Kilbeggan 6km Fun Run/Walk is now very much a part of the town’s festive season’s celebrations. For the past eleven years the event has grown in popularity as well as raising much-needed funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Now in its eleventh year, organiser Dermot Smith is appealing for another large turnout for a very worthy cause as well giving the runners an opportunity to ‘run-off’ some of the the Christmas ‘ex-

cesses’. RESTRICTED RETAIL OPPORTUNITIES Kilbeggan’s close proximity to all three Midlands Gateway towns of Mullingar, Tullamore and Athlone has meant that retail shopping opportunities have been restricted in the town. Nevertheless, any place that can attract such a high volume of visitors and tourists for the world famous Kilbeggan Distillery undoubtedly has future potential if it is harnessed in the correct way. It is not surprising therefore that the Centra/Topaz M6 Services Centre attracts most of the retail business in Kilbeggan. Apart from the parking space on offer this retail unit and filling station attracts much of its

business from the passing trade of the nearby motorway. The town’s square also hosts a weekly market on Saturday mornings. Cafe Mocha has also recently opened in the square and is well worth a visit. Londis is the only supermarket in the centre of the town along with Whelan’s general stores and newsagency. But the town does have Murray’s butcher shop and two hardware stores – Noel Moran and McLaughlin’s. But just three pubs remain trading today, which is surprising for a town of its population size. Like so many other tourist centres Kilbeggan’s commercial activity is strictly cyclical but there is plenty of evidence of enterprise and industry all

WHICH PICTURE OF RUDOLPH IS DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS?

year round. The revival of the local distillery has resulted in giving the town a new lease of life and the emergence of Kilbeggan Chocolate, the creation of local chocolateer Michael Donegan, is another great local success story in recent years. Michael also runs a coffee shop adjacent to Kilbeggan distillery and Londis supermarket. Kilbeggan also has a Brazilian shop serving its own local community which number in excess of 200. In recent years, Fit Factory Kilbeggan was opened. Fit Factory Kilbeggan provides a small gym with a variety of fitness classes including TRX, boxercise and ladies toning. Another business just after celebrating its third anniversary is the much acclaimed ‘Little Big Town’ Playcentre in the modern Riverview development quite close to the whiskey distillery. Since the bypass opened for the new M6

motorway Kilbeggan has had to slowly adjust to life as a ‘bypassed’ town for more than a decade. While this development has claimed some commercial casualties, it has also presented Kilbeggan with an opportunity to reassess its role in local community life. Not too far from Kilbeggan is the rural heartlands of Rahugh, where the local Social Services are also holding their annual Christmas Party this Sunday - 8 December at 3.00pm. All senior citizens welcome.

17

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SHELTER WISHES Tips on savings AND SANTA PAWS – at Christmas 18 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Maxi Zoo is making Christmas special for ALL animals this December

Santa Paws will be at Maxi Zoo, Mullingar on Saturday, 14 December for a big charity Christmas party where donated gifts will go to Friends of Animals, Mullingar.

Mullingar’s Maxi Zoo will make Christmas extra special not only for pampered pets, but also less fortunate animals over the festive season. All are invited to pop into your local Maxi Zoo store in Mullingar throughout December and support their Shelter Wishes charity campaign, which will help animals less fortunate than your own this Christmas. Each store has selected their own Shelter Wishes animal charity partner, who will compile a wish list of products available in store which their beneficiaries need and want. These gifts, of varying value, can be purchased in store, donated and

placed under the Shelter Wishes Christmas Tree. Maxi Zoo Mullingar’s Shelter Wishes partner is Friends of Animals Mullingar, which is a registered charity dedicated to rescuing, rehoming and rehabilitating dogs across Ireland since 1977. Their dog rescue centre is based in Mullingar. Each charity involved will collect the donated gifts from Maxi Zoo stores on Christmas Eve, ensuring that needy animals are not forgotten this Christmas. Anthony Cremin, Marketing Manager at Maxi Zoo said “At Maxi Zoo we love animals, and we believe all animals deserve the very best. The thought of animals

suffering is at the forefront of our minds, especially at Christmas, and this is why Shelter Wishes was created – to make life a little brighter for less fortunate animals at this time of year.” For those pets lucky enough to have a loving home year-round, Maxi Zoo will host a very special free Christmas party in stores on Saturday, 14 December. The big man himself, “Santa Paws” will be in store from 12pm to 4pm, and pet owners are encouraged to bring their fur babies along and take their own special Christmas photo with the man in red. Anthony added “On Saturday, 14

December, we’re inviting our customers to come along with their pets and take a fun photo with Santa Paws. The day will also be a great opportunity to support our Shelter Wishes campaign, and also pick up those all important Christmas presents for the pets in your life - from festive jumpers to tasty advent calendars.” For further information about Maxi Zoo’s Shelter Wishes campaign and Santa Paws Day, chat to the pet experts at Maxi Zoo Mullingar at Lakepoint Retail Park, Delvin Road, Mullingar, visit @MaxiZooIreland on Facebook, or www.maxizoo.ie.

Christmas is an exciting time of year but many of us are short on time and money. If you’re trying to tighten Santa’s belt this Christmas, follow our Christmas shopping tips this festive season. CREDIT CARD Leave the credit card at home and bring cash or your debit card instead Credit card debt can be very expensive if you can't repay it in full immediately or within a few months. When you are spending the cash in your pocket or in your bank account, you will be much less likely to overspend than if you pay with a credit card. If you do need to use your credit card, then keep your mind open to credit card cost comparison. There are still some providers offering 0% interest on balance transfers. If you can't afford to pay your Christmas credit card bill in full, you could take advantage of one of these offers in the New Year. But before you sign up, make sure to check what rate will apply when the introductory offer ends and if there are any conditions attached to it.

APPROACH Try a new approach to buying presents. You could agree a spending limit with your friends and family or try an option like a Secret Santa, so each person only has to buy one present. Or if there is a special item that you really want to give to someone, consider splitting the cost with a friend or relative. Keep an eye out for coupons or deals on gifts wherever you can. RESEARCH Do your research. If you have a present in mind, shop around and compare prices, both in store and online. Keep your eye out for discounts and promotional offers. If you do plan to do some shopping online, be careful. What might seem like a great deal could be more expensive when you add on delivery charges, so be sure to take them into account. Make sure you leave plenty of time for delivery too.

LIST List everyone that you intend to buy for, then budget a reasonable amount that you can afford to spend on each person. Making a shopping list will also help you avoid impulse buying and keep track of your spending. Our Christmas budget planner can help you plan for and keep track of all your expenses.

CREDIT Don’t get caught out by credit. In the run up to Christmas, personal loans and in-store credit may look like attractive options, especially for larger purchases like PCs, electrical equipment or furniture, where stores may offer you 0% finance for a period of time. Before signing up to store credit or a personal loan, consider the full costs and not just the monthly repayment. Would the repayments still be affordable if your income dropped for any reason, or if you had an unexpected expense?

LAST MINUTE Avoid shopping at the last minute and try to arrange to go shopping when it’s quieter. Shops are a lot quieter late at night or first thing in the morning. Leaving yourself plenty of time and avoiding busy shopping times will make your Christmas shopping a bit easier.

BE REALISTIC Be realistic with your food shopping. It can be easy to buy more than you need, but bear in mind that most shops are only closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, so there’s no need to go overboard.

WHICH PATH LEADS FATHER CHRISTMAS TO THE CHIMNEY?


TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

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RSA AND GARDAÍ LAUNCH CHRISTMAS ROAD SAFETY APPEAL    3,518 people have been seriously injured between 2014 – 2017 Vulnerable road users represent half of all serious injuries An Garda Síochána and The Road Safety Authority (RSA) have called on all road users to act responsibly and safely when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period. This year’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal, which was made at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, focuses on those who have suffered serious injuries in road traffic collisions. Research presented at the launch by the RSA shows that 3,518 road users suffered lifealtering injuries between the years 2014 to 2017,* with vulnerable road users (motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists) represent-

ing half (50%) of all serious injuries as a result of road collisions. Of those seriously injured, 64% were male. 36% were aged 18 to 34 and 41% were aged 35-64. The research revealed that a greater proportion of serious injuries amongst drivers and passengers happen on rural roads (speed limit 80 km/h). While for vulnerable road users, the opposite pattern emerged, with 84% and 79% of serious injuries amongst pedestrians

and cyclists respectively occurring on urban roads (speed limit 60 km/h). Dublin accounted for the majority of serious injury collisions (29%), Cork accounted for 11% of serious injury collisions while Galway accounted for 5% and Limerick for 4%.

AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, An Garda Síochána said: "An Garda Síochána is committed to working to reduce fatalities and

serious injuries on our roads. We would like to thank the majority of the public who have heeded the road safety messages throughout the year and have helped to improve safety on Irish roads. Unfortunately there are still some people who are prepared to put their own and other people’s lives at risk. From this weekend (Friday, 29 November) An Garda Síochána will be launching its six week Christmas and New Year road safety campaign. This

will include a focus on Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the country to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. Of course our members will continue to enforce all other road traffic legislation, including the more recent ‘dangerous overtaking of cyclists’ and ‘unaccompanied learner driver’ laws.” Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Shane Ross TD said: "Today’s

Christmas and New Year road safety appeal serves as a serious reminder to us all of the life-changing consequences of road traffic collisions particularly for vulnerable road users. It is for this reason that I recently introduced an amendment to the dangerous overtaking laws to target drivers who put the lives of cyclists at risk with dangerous overtaking. It is also why I am introducing a system of graduated speeding fines which will see higher penalties, for drivers who break the speed limit by significant amounts. We have graduated penalties for drink driving so we believe we should have them for speeding as well.”

ROAD SAFETY AUTHORITY Ms. Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority said: "Road deaths represent only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of road collisions. As we can see from our analysis, 3,518 people have been seriously

injured on Irish roads between 2014 – 2017. Survivors of a serious collision may be viewed as the ‘lucky ones’ but in reality, they are often dealing with life-changing injuries and personal trauma requiring many months and years of medical attention, rehabilitation and support. Not only are they learning to cope with their injuries, but their families, friends and loved ones are also coming to terms with these life changing injuries and how to support them every day. It is evidence of why we must all work together, as individuals and agencies, in our road safety goals, and stay focused to ensure that fewer families are impacted by road collisions. Our message this Christmas season is stay safe on the roads and make sure you get home safely.” Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said, "Not everyone who survives a crash is

able to continue living the life they had before that collision. The reality is that many people suffer serious injuries from traffic collisions each year. Those injuries have a profound effect on their lives, and their families. There is a lifelong impact from serious injures not only on the individual but also on communities. This is the message we are delivering today.” She added, "This Christmas & New Year if you are planning to head out for a drink, plan how you are going to get home safely. Organise a taxi, hackney, minibus, public transport, designate a driver or arrange a lift. Remember you may not be safe to drive the morning after. Drink driving is drink driving no matter what time of the day or week it is. To date in 2019, a total of 132 people have died on our roads, six more than in 2018.

‘Twas the lights before Christmas Top tips to help your festive display dazzle in the safest and most energy efficient way The traditional date is approaching to deck the halls with boughs of holly or indeed string the lights for a house of folly! Reports show that Ireland has consistently been the biggest or secondbiggest Christmas spender in the percapita league table over the past decade. Our fondness for letting our festive spirit soar carries through to some pretty amazing décor and lighting displays all over the country. Christmas lights range from modest displays to show good cheer to million-bulb lightappaloosas that draw attention from near and far. Irish lighting experts Solus have some top tips to help your festive display dazzle in the safest and most energy efficient way.

SAFETY FIRST Accident and Emergency departments are filled with homeowners who lose fights with their Christmas lights and fall off ladders or suffer electric shocks. To avoid the Christmas black and blues, never hang lights solo; instead, work with a partner who holds the ladder. Also, avoid climbing on roofs after rain or snow. USE LED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS These consume 90% less electricity compared to old Christmas lights and incandescent bulbs. LIGHT ONLY AT NIGHT Don’t turn on the Christmas lights during the day, it is a waste of energy and electricity and no one can really enjoy looking at the lights during the day. Use timers to auto-

matically switch the lights on and off. TREE LIGHTS ON ROOM LIGHTS OFF When the tree is lit, there is no need to have other lights on. Save energy and enhance the festive atmosphere. UNPACK CAREFULLY Lights break and glass cut so unpack your lights gingerly, looking for and replacing broken bulbs along the way. EXTENSION CORDS ARE YOUR FRIENDS Splurge on heavyduty extension cords and UL-listed for outdoor use. Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead. This could cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire. Remember, that there

are now battery and solar powered options available for use in those awkward places. Instead of wrapping the lights around the tree, it is better to divide the tree into three triangular sections from top to bottom, and to hang the lights one section at a time. Never leave lights turned on while unattended. Always turn off the lights before you leave the house and when going to bed. Store Christmas lights in a ball. It sounds counterintuitive, but the best way to store lights is to ball them up. Wrap five times in one direction, then turn the ball ninety degrees and repeat. Store your light balls in cardboard boxes, rather than in plastic bags; cardboard absorbs residual moisture and extends the life of your lights.


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TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

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Rochfortbridge will be a busy place as usual in the lead up to the big day with plenty for the local residents to enjoy throughout the festive season. And unlike last year there will be an impressive communal light-

ing display to illuminate the village from Sunday 8 December. A total of thirty-five trees festooned with lights will be among the main attractions for the Christmas period this year as well as a fully illuminated crib located in the village green across from the play-

ground which will be a constant reminder to everyone of what Christmas is really about. The big ’switchon’ takes place this Sunday 8 December at 5.00pm. Meanwhile the Tidy Towns will be hosting the local Senior Citizens Christmas Party in the Parish Hall on Wednesday 11 Decem-

ber in St Joseph’s Hall following 6.00 pm Mass. Another big diary date will in Bagnall’s on Friday 13 December when former Eurovision singer Mickey Joe Harte is in town. After Christmas the same venue hosts the return of the New Wolfe Tones on Friday 27 December.

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Senior Citizens’ Party PANTO SHOUT! gets Milltownpass Shade in every area Christmas countdown containing a dot to discover a popular under way pantomime shout The Christmas lights are traditionally switched on usually a week before Christmas marking the start of the annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus. The Milltownpass

senior citizens party in the Community Centre will also take place on Tuesday 10 December. As always, it will begin with Mass at 6.00pm and will be followed by a party and lots of fun.

As is tradition, Santa Claus himself will take time off from this busy schedule to make an appearance later in the evening with a present for everyone.

• CODED Follow the code and read the message


Christmas celebrations in Ballynacargy

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Christmas is a time of cheer, a time of happiness and joy and in Ballynacargy the celebrations at this lovely time of the year will reflect all of these characteristics.

Local families will welcome loved ones as people get together to celebrate and there is plenty in Ballynacargy to provide festive cheer, including music, song and dance for everyone to enjoy. The village now has a well established and proud link with

Comhaltas and one of the great success stories of the last decade is the local Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) branch, which is now one of the best of its kind and continues to grow, with membership of approximately 300 at this stage. The branch is preparing for what should be a great end of year concert on Friday, 13 December, in the Church of The Nativity, where members will get the opportunity to showcase their talent and the skills they have developed since joining CCÉ. As usual, there will be a gospel and Christmas theme to the evening, which is set to begin at 7pm. It promises to be a wonderful evening of music, song and dance. Members of the Ballynacargy CCÉ

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

Branch will remain very busy and active over the Christmas period and musicians will be performing in the local churches. They will also link up with other members of the Westmeath CCÉ for different events over the Christmas period. Hunting the wren on St Stephen’s Day is a great tradition and in Ballynacargy different members of the CCÉ and indeed other musicians and sing ers, are sure to be out and about, so please give them the support their efforts deserve. The CCÉ are also looking forward to their Annual Table Quiz on 17 January, under quiz master, Ken Eades, with tables of four entering for €40 each. It’s always a great night and there will be the usual spread of

refreshments for everyone. The beautiful crib outside the Church of The Nativity always adds greatly to the spirit of Christmas in the village as the Church of The Nativity becomes a focal point for the community. Christmas Eve Mass is always very popular and people returning home for Christmas enjoy this beautiful vigil Mass, which is one of the highlights of the Festive Season for local families. There’s a special Children’s Mass at 5pm, while Midnight Mass takes place at 9pm. There will be Christmas Eve Mass in Sonna at 6.30pm. Mass on Christmas Day is at 11.30am and, of course is very special also. Christmas Day Mass in Sonna Church will take

place at 10am. There will be a Reconciliation service on Tuesday, 17 December, at 7pm in the Church of The Nativity, Ballynacargy. The local St Brigid’s National School usually have their annual nativity play which is traditionally one of the highlights of the Christmas period. Already shoe boxes have been donated to the Christmas Shoe Box Appeal. ENTERTAINMENT Munnelly’s Pub in the heart of Ballynacargy is one of the oldest family run businesses in the village and there is certain to be some great celebrations over the Christmas and New Year period. Hosts Adrian and Aisling will provide a warm welcome for customers and it’s a great

place to meet up with friends who may be home for the holiday period. T.V. AND BROADBAND SERVICE

Christmas is also a major time of the year for television and nobody wants to miss their favourite movies, sports or soaps during the season. If you want the very best service, you can rely on Cahill Aerials, who have been in business in Ballynacargy for many, many years and will provide the very best service. Whether it’s Sky T.V., Saorview, or broadband, you can contact the team at Cahill Aerials on 086 609 7271 and they will ensure you are up to speed for the busy festive season.

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUILDER For those planning any kind of renovations or extensions to

FESTIVE CHEER AT BALLYNACARGY CHRISTMAS MARKET

their home, or are building a new dwelling in 2020, you can rest assured that Frank Lynam, Ballynacargybased brick and block laying contractor, will provide a great service. Again, it’s a great way

21

to show your support for local industry and ensure local jobs are maintained. Contact Frank on 087 2712260 for all your building projects.

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Bernie McGuinness, Willie Penrose, and Jimmy Rogers enjoyed Ballynacargy Christmas Fair last year.

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Cecilia Connolly, Vincent Connolly, Joan Murtagh, Caroline Boyce, and Karen Scarnicchio pictured at the Ballynacargy Christmas Fair in the local hall on Saturday, 15 December, 2018.

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22 CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

Christmas in Kinnegad, Killucan The festive season is well underway in Kinnegad, Killucan, and Raharney. Killucan has already hosted its annual Christmas Market at Edmonton NS on Sunday, 1 December which was a roaring success with lots of food, drink, entertainment, raffle prizes, hampers, and plenty of Christmas cheer for all who attended. But there’s lots more going on in the area over the holidays so have a look and make some plans for the festive season. Wishing all our customers a very Happy Christmas from

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be a visit from Santa Claus in it for the kids.

Killucan Rathwire Killucan Christmas Apostolic Lights Society Christmas is here and the lights are (nearly) ready to be switched on in Killucan for 2019. The Killucan Rathwire Tidy Towns Committee have informed us that the lights are ready and waiting to go on; however, there is currently some difficulty in getting the power to them. The group have told us that they are aiming for a Saturday, either 7 or 14 December depending on ESB. Keep up to date with Topic; as soon as the date is set, it will be printed and you can join your community for a lovely evening of catching up, Christmas cheer, carolling, and lovely hot chocolate. There may even

Bingo If you would like somewhere special to go on Friday night, 6 December, come to Rathwire hall, where Killucan Apostolic Society are hosting their annual Christmas bingo, starting at 8pm. There will be hampers, turkeys, hams and Christmas goodies. Donations and gifts will be gratefully accepted and can be left in with Margaret at Killucan post office, or with any committee member. Come along and support this very worthy cause. Your support will be gratefully appreciated and you may win something nice for Christmas.

BINGO ON DEC. 8

Another bingo event will take place on Sunday, 8 December. Killucan & Raharney Oscars, with the cast of The Derry Girls have organised an afternoon of bingo, which has now moved from its original date of Sunday, 1 December to the following Sunday. Bingo takes place in the Granite from 3.00pm and all are very welcome to attend.

ChRIStmAS FOOD & CRAFt mARKEt IN KINNEGAD The comfortable surroundings of Harry’s Hotel, Kinnegad, is the venue for the eagerly awaited Christmas Food & Craft Market and it all takes place from 11am to 5pm on Sunday, 15th December. A raffle will be held during the Market with

Christmas Hampers as prizes and proceeds will go to the Kinnegad ICA which is currently being revived in the area. Michelle Cole hosts the Christmas Food & Craft Market and there is something for everyone - handbags and jewellery, decoupage, wool and patterns by Wooly Castle, homemade jams, homebacking FJK woodturning, Paperthings by Ita Copley, BestTech sought after gadgets and technology, Crafty Drawers personalised framed pictures, make up, St Vincent de Paul, Pyro Works, knitting and crochet, handmade soaps, Tribes Press from Galway with books Christmas wreathes, and much much more. The market is being run as a fundraiser for the newly revived Kinnegad branch of the ICA. Locals can enjoy a raffle on the day with hampers as prizes as well as spot prizes from Kinnegad businesses. Thanks are extended to O’Brien’s Centre in Mullingar for supply-

ing wonderful hampers. For more information visit the Kinnegad Christmas Market Facebook page. Anyone wishing to get involved with the newly reestablished Kinnegad ICA, you can get in touch with Maureen Cole on 0872214627. Michelle looks forward to meeting you all at the market in Harry’s, Kinnegad.

St Vincent de Paul Annual ‘Giving mass’ The annual St Vincent de Paul ‘Giving Mass’ will be celebrated in the Parish Church, Kinnegad, on Saturday, 14th December (Vigil Mass) and again on Sunday, 15th December, 12.00 noon

Mass. The Vincent de Paul are very appreciative of your continued generosity and would like non perishable food items, new toys and other gifts that would fit in their Christmas Hampers which they distribute to many local people over the festive season. Please give what you can and help make Christmas a little more special for those who are finding it difficult to make ends meet, again your generosity is greatly appreciated. The Vincent de Paul wish to thank everyone who attended their Annual Christmas Fair at Vincent’s Shop on Saturday, 16th November and again on Sunday, 17th November. Great to see all the children enjoying their visit to Santa and the adults seemed to enjoy having a chat with the man himself. Just a reminder with Christmas around the corner we have top quality women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes, toys, books, fur-

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Padric and Dylan Morley pictured with Miriam Croash in Killucan for the Christmas lights switch on last year.

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Santa pictured with Rose Mullen and Mary Gilsenan in Killucan for the night of Christmas festivities, 16 December 2018.

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TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

23

and Raharney nishings, costume jewellery etc and the prices quite simply are unbelievable. Why not drop in and see for yourself the fabulous bargains that are available at Vincent’s Shop. Run by the Kinnegad Branch of St Vincent de Paul, the shop is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10.30am until 3.00pm and on Thursdays from 10.30am to 5.00pm with a break from 1.30pm to 2.00pm for lunch. The committee wish to express their appreciation for the valued support the Shop receives and would like people to know that all money raised by the local Vincent de Paul is used locally to assist local people who have fallen on stressful times. The help these people receive restores their dignity and is a stepping stone for them to return to and experience the quality of living they truly deserve.

If you feel that you might like to avail of the services please do not hesitate in contacting St Vincent de Paul, Kinnegad, in confidence on 087 9725076. Please remember if you need some help it is at the end of the phone. just pick it up and ring this number 086 0706571. You will get the help you need and everything is confidential, so don’t just think about it - make the call you will be glad you did. The St. Vincent de Paul committee really appreciate all the help they receive from the people of the area and if you can, please help this Christmas. Thank you. The Vincent de Paul would like to hear from anyone who might be interested in giving a few hours voluntary work with them each week, so please drop into the shop during business hours or contact the above mobile number.

Dark evenings – be safe be seen!! The darker evenings are with us and with them come the added dangers for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The road is a much more dangerous place during the hours of darkness and we all need to be extra vigilant and take extra precautions to avoid unnecessary accidents and heartbreak for so many families. Our local Gardai continue to receive a substantial number of reports of cyclists and pedestrians using the roads without the proper lighting and protective high visibility clothing. Without appropriate clothing

cyclists and pedestrians are putting themselves in grave danger, they cannot be seen until a car, van or lorry is unable to take evasive action with disastrous consequences. Please, in everyone’s interest, especially your own, if you are going out at dusk or after dark, wear a high visibility vest/jacket, they can be purchased almost anywhere at little cost, or free if you contact the Road Safety Association. Don’t put your life in danger, it’s not worth the risk, be safe – be seen.

VI1GIL MASS

Thomas Bartley pictured at Kinnegad Christmas Market on Sunday, 16th December last year who was doing face painting on the day.

Bernie McGrath with her lovely display of sweets at the Kinnegad Christmas Market on Sunday, 16th December last year.

Wishing all our customers a very Happy Christmas

Kerri-Ann Rusk with some of her knitted items on display at Kinnegad Market last year.

The vigil Mass for the month of December will take place in Raharney church

Browsing at Kinnegad Market last year were Nicola Prendergast, Kaiya L’Estrange and Lauren and Thomas Prendergast

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TOPIC • 5 December, 2019

CHRISTMAS IN WESTMEATH

Christmas greeting from

Daniel and James McCabe pictured with Santa in Castlepollard last year.

Festivities in Castlepollard and North Westmeath BY PAUL O’DONOVAN

The Christmas festivities have truly begun in earnest in north Westmeath with the turning on of the Christmas Lights in Castlepollard on Sunday last, while Santa arrived in both Castlepollard and Fore last Sunday afternoon too. It is that time of the year again when the hustle and bustle of Christmas grips everyone. All the adults and children are busily preparing for the festive season and north Westmeath is no different. The local school children took part in last Sunday’s switching on of the Christmas lights as they sang Christmas Carols before Santa arrived in the Square. The new large Christmas tree outside St Michael’s on the Square looks magnificent now that it is lit up. Castlepollard Square is glowing with bright lights adorning all the trees around the

The Seven Wonders Bar Christmas greetings from

Fore, Co. Westmeath

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Square. The shops are full of bright lights and Christmas decorations, offering you the opportunity to buy presents in the build up to the big day. All over Castlepollard and the surrounding areas of north Westmeath various Christmas events have been organised by the hard working committees and volunteers in the background. Throughout all of North Westmeath there are plenty of events, parties, music concerts and religious ceremonies taking place to celebrate Christmas.

CHRISTMAS FAIRS St Vincent De Paul held a Christmas Fair in the Hotel Castlepollard last Friday evening, which was a great success, as was the Christmas Fair held in Castlepollard Community College last Saturday afternoon.

The Tullynally Christmas Market always proves to be very popular at this time of year and this year’s market will be held this coming Saturday, 7 December and Sunday, 8 December. This is a great opportunity to get some early Christmas presents at bargain prices as well as enjoying some tasty food and refreshments for all the family. Also on Sunday, 8th of December the Roscommon Solstice Choir will perform in Coole Church and this is a concert that should be well worth attending. On Wednesday 11 December and Wednesday 18 December Castlepollard Library will host a number of 15-20 minute slots where various local groups, schools and choirs, can showcase their forthcoming events in the lead up to Christmas. Entitled ‘Pop Up Christmas Festivities’ this is a new and unique concept by

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND THE VISIT OF SANTA TO COLLINSTOWN Over in Collinstown the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will take place on Sunday, 8 December at 6pm. Why not enjoy some Christmas Carols and watch the village of Collinstonw light up for Christmas. There are strong rumours that Santa himself will visit and he is looking forward to seeing all the boys and girls in the Lough Lene Inn. Thanks to David Cunningham and Carmel Murphy who

organise the Christmas tree and lights for Collinstown every year. Thanks also to Bill Connell who is providing the Christmas tree again this year. This will be a lovely, family friendly, community event and we look forward to seeing you all there. So don’t forget to pop down to Collinstown on Sunday, 8 December for the lights, the tree and the visit of Santa and of course don’t forget to put on your Christmas

jumper. Prior to that on Thursday morning December 5 Collinstown Hall will host an ‘Open House’ from 10am until 12.30pm. During this ‘Open House’ there will be a display of work from Collinstown Healthy Club and a wonderful display of Christmas tea towels, which will be well worth seeing, and these tea towels will make wonderful Christmas presents.

Castlepollard Library. Castlepollard ICA will hold their December meeting on Monday, 9th December, in Hotel Castlepollard, which will followed by their Christmas Lunch. The meeting will include fabric painting for Christmas. The Hotel Castlepollard is always a hive of activity over the Christmas period and a ‘party night’ will be held in the Hotel on Saturday, 14 December. Make sure you, or your work colleagues, book your place for this great night of fun and entertainment. Music on the night will be provided by the excellent ‘Hard to Handle’. Contact Russell in the Hotel for more information. On Sunday, 15 December a Christmas Poker Classic will be held in the Seven Wonders Bar in Fore commencing at 5pm with all proceeds going towards the Jack and Jill Foundation. Refreshments will be served and a raffle will be held, during what should be a good night out in aid of a very worthy cause.

THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

when children from the local national schools will sing Christmas Carols.

Of course throughout all the fun and games and Christmas parties we cannot forget the real meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. There will be many religious ceremonies taking place in both St Michael’s Church, Castlepollard and St Michael’s Church on the Square, Castlepollard as well as in the churches of Finea, Coole, Whitehall and Fore.

CHRISTMAS IN COOLE

ANNUAL PARISH FUNDRAISER The Castlepollard, Castletown and Finea Parish will be holding their annual fundraiser and draw in the Parish Centre on Wednesday, 18 December. This concert always provides great entertainment and then there is the opportunity to win some great prizes in the Christmas Draw. Don’t forget to buy a line or even a card for this draw which has a first prize of €1,000. As always Micheál Cassidy will erect the Christmas Crib on the Square and this wonderful display of the Christmas scene will be blessed on Monday morning, 16 December,

In the wonderful visit of Coole the Christmas Crib will be blessed on Wednesday morning, December 11th at 11am, when the young children from Coole National School and the local Montessori school will attend the blessing outside Coole Hall and of course the Coole Choir will sing some wonderful Christmas Carols too. You never know, Santa might pay a visit to see all the boys and girls too! Over the Christmas season Pat’s Bar in Coole will have plenty of entertainment, craic and festive fun, so pop in and enjoy the Christmas fun in Pat’s Bar.

CHRISTMAS WISHES Finally, above all remember to enjoy the Christmas celebrations and stay safe at all times. Don’t forget to shop local and support your local town and businesses where possible over Christmas and into the New Year of 2020 and we wish all our readers, contributors and advertisers a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ryan and Amy Higgins were some of the many children to meet Santa in Castlepollard last year.

Profile for Topic Newspapers

Christmas in Westmeath  

Christmas in Westmeath  

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