ONE Limerick family is lighting up the Shanagolden countryside with their huge display of Christmas lights, and all for some very worthy causes.
The Hayes family from Shanagolden deck more than just the halls each Christmas, their annual Christmas lights ceremony has become a highly anticipated yuletide beacon outside the Limerick village. Each year the family cover their the entire house and garden in an array of festive lights in order to raise money for four worthy charities.
This year, the display will raise money for Milford Care Centre, the Mid Western Cancer Foundation, Cliona’s Foundation, and St Gabriel’s Foundation.
Speaking to the Limerick Post, organiser of the Hayes Christmas Lights campaign, Cormac Hayes, said that this year’s display is the family’s biggest yet.
“It is massive this year, there’s everything; hedgehogs, crocodiles, an ostrich, a six-foot giraffe. I’ve a full-size car with Santy in the driver’s seat and Mrs Claus in the passenger seat. We’ve little rats that light up. It’s just madness here at the moment,” Cormac explained.
Running since the mid-1990s, with a break form 2007 to 2017, Cormac said that the lights display is run each year in memory of his father Timmy and brother Noel, both of whom sadly passed away.
The chosen charities are ones close to the Hayes family’s hearts, with each of them chosen for a specific reason.
“They’d all be linked, I suppose,” explains Cormac. “When my brother Noel passed away, which would’ve been 1996, there wasn’t that many organisations out there to help families compared to what there is now, so Cliona’s Foundation is there in that way.
“With St Gabriel’s Foundation, my brother wasn’t able to look after himself, my mother and father looked after him well, he went to St Joseph’s in Charleville, but we wanted to keep it within Limerick so we picked St Gabriel’s because the work they do is phenomenal,” Cormac said.
“Noel had tumours in the brain when he passed away and my father had lung cancer, so that’s why we brought on the Mid Western Cancer Foundation this year.”
The lights were officially switched on last Sunday (November 19), with an estimated over 500 people turning up to take in the festive spirit.
Hayes Christmas lights are located in Shanagolden (V94 NC3F), and will be turned on from 5pm to 9.30pm each evening in the lead up to Christmas until January 6.
There will be donations buckets onsite, Cormac says, but those who can’t make it and would like to make a donation to a good cause can via the family’s GoFundMe page on gofund.me/b78029aa.