By Áilín Quinlan
CHRISTMAS arrived with a splash in Knockavilla near Crossbarry this week when one local family threw the switch on a dazzling extravaganza of lights.
A dancing Santa, a giant choir and Baby Jesus in his life-sized crib all joined the Christmas celebrations at the home of Neilus and Margaret Lehane.
Up to 200 different colourful and singalong Christmas-themed decorations have already raised nearly €40,000 for Marymount Hospice in 10 years.
The bungalow and garden at Knockavilla, near Crossbarry, is carefully signposted and attracted more than 1,000 visitors last year.
The first signs for the display beian several hundred yards from the house in either direction on the Crossbarry to Bandon road.
The Lehanes began decorating their home and garden about 15 years ago, and started to use their Christmas display to raise funds for Marymount.
‘It started off the first year with €600 raised. Last year the donations were almost €7,000 and to date we have raised €38,863 for Marymount,’ she said.
Neighbours help to erect the display, which costs the couple between €500 and €600 to run and will run from 5pm to 11pm every night until January 6th.
‘Neilus and I pay for the electricity ourselves, so all donations go straight to Marymount,’ said Margaret.