What is your favourite Christmas memory? Caitriona Kenny, correspondent for Tipperary Town caught up with some personalities around the town to ask them to share their favourite memories.
Louise Morrissey, Singer and most successful Recording Artist spoke about going to get the Christmas tree with her father. "Every year I would go with daddy to get the Christmas tree and the Holly. It was really special and part of the whole preparation for Christmas," said Louise. "My other favourite memory was getting a beautiful doll with black hair when I was about 8-years old. I absolutely loved it."
Mary Leahy who works at the Excel, told me how her son Raymond heard the reindeer bells of Santa's sleigh one Christmas. "We had new neighbours who were from Switzerland and over there they put bells around their cows necks so they can find them up in the hills. We didn't know this and on Christmas Eve Raymond, then 7 years old, came rushing to tell us that he could hear the bells outside of Santa's sleigh. Sure enough, we could all hear them and began to believe it ourselves until my husband went out to investigate and found a few of the cows with bells nearby."
Michael Lynch, author of Behold Aherlow, spoke of his father reading the entire Christmas story to them. "It was an old big bible book and we all sat around the fire listening intently and even interrupting to ask, 'was the straw in the stable there for the animals too?' My father was a school teacher so he really could read well and give all the intonations required to make it a lovely story. Afterwards we got lemonade and biscuits; it was about 1938.
Martin Quinn, National President of Muintir na Tire recalled his favourite memory of Christmas from his childhood at home in Bansha. "Waking up early one Christmas morning myself and some of my siblings went in search of what Santa had brought us. To our shock there were no presents under the Christmas tree in the sitting room. Had Santa arrived yet? Had he forgotten us? Could he not get down the chimney? What would we do next?" recalls Martin. "My parents called out from their bedroom and we bolted to their room to tell them that Santa hadn't called at all. Inside the bedroom door however, we were greeted by all the presents laid out by the fireplace in the bedroom. We were overjoyed to find our presents and amidst the excitement my Father pointed us to the fireplace and there we saw these really big footprints in the ashes around the fire grate. They were too big to belong to my Father so they couldn't be anyone else's except Santa's footprints. We could hardly believe our eyes but there they were for everyone to see - Santa's footprints in the ashes of our fireplace. What a memory and certainly one to last forever!"
Fran Curry, Station Manager of Tipp FM and presenter of the Classic Caf remembers receiving a 'Bontempi' electric organ. "I was about 7 years old and I was so excited. It was brown, short, keyboard with buttons on the left hand side to press for chord accompaniment. This was my first piano."
Presenter and Ad Manager at Tipp Mid West Radio, Tom Hartnett told of his favourite memory. "I was about 5 years old and I got a Henry Green steam train for Christmas. It was battery operated and had lights and a smell of smoke. It was the best present a 5-year old could have got!"
Anne Marie Ryan, proprietor of Hair FX, hair salon on Bridge Street remembers getting a doll bigger than herself when she was 4-years old. "I absolutely loved it and tried to carry it everywhere with me. Also, each Christmas, my siblings would squabble over the biscuits so one year my father bought us all a tin of biscuits each so we wouldn't argue," said Anne Marie. "I have to mention that another great memory was coming out of hospital on Christmas day at 12.40pm after the birth of my son Luke. He was born prematurely on December 19, so they kept us in for a few days. I was so happy to be out of the hospital and going home with Luke on Christmas Day to be with our family."
Paul Murray, Tipperary Town Clerk recalls his favourite Christmas moment. "My favourite memory of Christmas was being woken up at 6 am (or earlier), to the sound of my excited children running into each others rooms to wake each other up and then tearing down stairs to open their presents."
Betty Lynch, Chorus Mistress of the Tipperary Singers spoke of her favourite time. "I remember one year on Christmas Eve I was attending the St Michael's pageant and I was walking up St Michael's avenue to the church. It was a beautiful night with a bright moon and I got lost in time at the beauty of it all. The stars, the moon and the wonder that the story of Christmas, has been told under the same stars each year for so many years."
Tom O'Donohue, PRO for Arravale Rovers Juveniles. "My favourite memory of Christmas is a bitter sweet one. Santa answered my plea and brought a beauty of a new Hurley and I couldn't wait to show it off to my hurling buddies. Of course like all great sticks it had a good spring and as one of my friends tested it, he accidentally went a fraction too far and the wood cracked. I was inconsolable, until my Dad said he knew a real friend of Santa and an even better Hurley arrived before the day was out. Only I could test the spring of this one."
Jim Keane, Radio Presenter of the Arts Show on Tipp Mid West Radio spoke of Christmas as a time for family and friends, a time to meet and enjoy each other's company and to watch others rushing madly around buying like the shops would never open again. It's a time to remember family and friends who are no longer with us but who are celebrating Christmas in Heaven. To enjoy Christmas morning Mass, Christmas carols and everyone wishing each other a Happy Christmas and of course, to enjoy all those soppy, romantic but lovable Christmas songs. "My favourite memories of Christmas are of the time when Santa came and the children would rush up the stairs burst into the room shouting look what Santa brought. The sheer joy and excitement on their little faces… honestly, no money could buy. We would then have to accompany them down stairs to view with sheer amazement at all that Santa had brought and marvel at his great wisdom in knowing exactly what they wanted. The only drawback was that all this excitement took place around four in the morning ,which was usually only a couple of hours after we had gone to bed. Why Santa had to deliver so early to our house is still a mystery to me."