Mountmellick Christmas Tree in Laois
The lighting of Mountmellick Christmas Tree holds fond memories for generations of people in the town.
The famous tree has started to spread its wings again, work has commenced to bring the 65ft focal point to life for the festive season.
The town is well-known for the artificial tree which boasts 2,500 lights and is locally claimed to be the biggest year-round Christmas tree in Europe.
Mountmellick has had a Christmas tree located in O'Connell Square since 1956. The first tree was transported by ass and cart into the Square.
In the following years larger trees were erected until 1961, when it was necessary to put a manhole in the square to take these larger trees. In 1969 a pole structure was used instead of the original live tree.
In 1983 a permanent steel structure was put in place with a skeleton framework, which enabled the wiring to be standardized, and it is this structure that is in use to the present day.
It is necessary every year to dress the tree with branches to give an authentic look. A switching arrangement was later introduced for the lights, which became more intricate over the years.
In 1963 the switching arrangements were finalised and are the same today, other than changed designs introduced in 1968.
Funding for the Christmas Tree comes from the local community through church gate collections and other fundraising events.
Watch this video by John Lynch on the process involved in getting the tree up every year.