Santa arriving for the turning on of the Downtown Portlaoise Christmas Lights on Main Street Portlaoise. Picture: Alf Harvey.
Santa will be busy in Laois again this Christmas season as a busy festive season continues in Laois this weekend with light switch-ons, seasonal markets.
Christmas kicks off in Mountmellick in Laois with the switch on of the Christmas tree lights on Friday, November 30 at 8 pm before the Late Late Toy Show.
The ceremony traditionally includes an ecumenical blessing, and a big countdown, with St Joseph's Accordion Band heralding Christmas with festive tunes in O'Connell Square.
The festive fun will continue on Sunday, December 2 with the Mountmellick Christmas Fair. Over 45 stalls selling seasonal crafts and foods will create the ideal festival afternoon, from 1 pm to 6 pm. There will be carol singing, Santa in his grotto, mulled wine, a huge raffle, and live music and dancing by local groups.
Portarlington lights will be switched on lights been switched on Sunday, December 2.
In Timahoe the official turn on of the village lights will take place on Saturday evening December 1 at 6pm on the green. There will be festive Carol's and festive refreshments served in the Corner Shop afterwards. All are very welcome to come along.
Santa Claus has contacted the Heritage Centre in Timahoe and said that he will be visiting the village on Sunday, December 2 after Mass. He presence over the last number of years has brought great joy to the village.
Mountrath will be the venue for a special Christmas Cottage Market on Saturday, December 1, at the usual location at The Macra Hall on Main St from 10 am - 2 pm. Some 30 marketeers with loads of new products and produce.
There will be festive music and plenty of surprises and cheer for young and old. Be sure not to miss this last Cottage Market of the year!"
A special Christmas edition of the Ballylinan Craft Fair takes place on Sunday, December 2 at the ABK Centre (formerly St. Patrick's National School or Old School), Athy Road, Ballylinan from 12 noon to 3 pm.
The stalls include everything from woodcrafts, ceramics, metalworks to personalised gifts, bric-a-brac, baking and sweets and treats.
Entry is free for visitors and the organisers still have a few stalls remaining. Anyone who is interesting in attending and a table is €10.
Christmas Express will be held at the Woodland Railway, Stradbally on December 8 and 9. This festive season the enchantment of the North Pole is coming to life.
Embark on a magical train ride, visit with Santa Claus and join mischievous elves on a journey through our winter wonderland. As well as an unforgettable train journey, every child will get to meet with Santa and receive a wrapped present, a delicious cookie and some yummy hot chocolate.
Abbeyleix is the place to be on Saturday, December 8. The organisers say this year's market will be the biggest and best to date.
Now in its seventh year, the Abbeyleix Christmas Market & Craft Fair has lots to see and do for all the family and a lovely way to get Christmas. The event takes place under the lights in the Heritage Town of Abbeyleix town square from 4 pm to 8 pm.
Stallholder enquiries should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Down the road, the Ballinakill Christmas lights festival will be held on Sunday, December 9 in the Market Square from 5.30pm until 7.30pm.
After last year's great success the committee hopes 2018 will be even bigger and better. If you want to have a stall on the day please contact Eamon Delaney on 087 224 2027 or Sharon Drennan on 086 345 8540, there will also be Carol singing, entertainment for children and face painting.
There will be a raffle on the night for a monster hamper.
Visit Santa on Sunday, December 9, at Trumera Community Hall at 5pm. Price is €5 per child. Tea/Coffee and refreshments for everyone. Everyone welcome.
Rathdowney National School and Parish are having a Christmas Fair serving Tea and Coffee, cake sale, raffle prize, handmade crafts on Sunday, December 9, 12 – 1.30 pm in the Rathdowney Parochial Hall.
The Christmas Lights are being turned on in Rathdowney on Saturday, December 8 after 7.30pm Mass. Switch on about 8.15pm. All welcome.
All businesses clubs have been asked to make a donation towards the cost of the lights and collection tins have been left in each shop, pub and takeaway in town. All donations are much appreciated.
Members of the Clonaslee, Portarlington and Clonaghadoo Christmas Carollers are hosting a Christmas Carol Concert in Clonaghadoo church on Sunday December 9 at 4 pm and in St Michaels Church, Portarlington on December 16 at 4 pm. All welcome to attend and admission is free.