By Michael Tracey and Elizabeth Lee
A YEAR to remember, a Christmas to enjoy. Over the last nine months we’ve been living through history, but now it’s time to savour the present.
The Christmas season is upon us with Carlow towns and villages lighting up and businesses opening up.
Today (Tuesday) shops, hairdressers and gyms will open their doors for the first time in six weeks today, while restaurants and bars serving food will welcome customers back on Friday.
The Christmas period promises to be crucial one for all local businesses and Carlow people are being urged to shop local as part of the Look for Local national campaign this year.
Oona Conroy of Oona Conroy Boutique, Tullow Street, Carlow said: “If people can bear in mind to support the Irish websites and to buy as local as you can, it will keep a lot of businesses like mine in business.”
Lorraine and Helen Whelen from Thrive Café in Tullow were also getting ready to welcome back customers.
“It’ll be brilliant to have people back. That’s what we’re all about – to have people here, around a table, eating good food and being well,” said Lorraine.
There was also some much-needed festive cheer in Bagenalstown as the Christmas lights were switched on with a special drive-through vintage run on Sunday.
Santa’s sleight was pulled through the town along with around 40 vintage cars and tractors from the Carlow Vintage Club and Carlow to Cork Tractor Run.
It was the biggest event in Bagenalstown for months, with people wearing masks and socially distancing on the streets.
The event and the lights were organised by the Bagenalstown Area Chamber and Bagenalstown Improvement Group.
“It was fabulous,” said area chamber chairperson Colin Rea. “I think it was just relief for people getting out. The amount of goodwill and messages we have received yesterday an even today has been unbelievable. I think people needed it for their mental health more than anything. People were delighted to get out and see people.”
It was a similar story in Kildavin, where all houses in the Glasheen estate embraced the Christmas season by erecting spectacular festive lights and vignettes while raising funds for suicide charity Pieta House.
Resident Stephen Tangney said: “It’s been great to see as well that with people not being able to go to Santa some can come here. We have a slay in the garden and people are taking pictures of their children in front of it. The kids love it.”