Cork people share their favourite Christmas memories

For some, it was visiting Santa, others recall the toys he brought, while some relished school concerts and plays. NICOLA DEPUIS asked Cork people for their favourite Christmas memories
Cork people share their favourite Christmas memories

Nora, Margaret Dan and Pat White, Summerhill, Cork queue to meet Santa and receive presents at the Munster Arcade. Picture: Archive

“My happiest Christmas memory is going to see Santa in Cash’s and getting a white mouse I called Daisy as a present - by prior arrangement between Santa and my mother!

Patricia Twomey
Patricia Twomey

“The ironic part is, I went to the Regina Mundi school later on and what was the name of the headteacher I hated... Daisy of course!”

Patricia Twomey, College Road

“My favourite Christmas memories from my childhood are all about school; the concert, the nativity play, writing those tiny little Christmas cards to your friends, that week where you can bring in your toys and chill, being able to wear your tracksuit and, best of all, those annuals you’d get. They’d always be called things like Spraoi or Sugradh and I can still remember how they smelled. I adored them! Hours of fun playing spot the difference, word searches and doodling. The happiest of days!”

Leigh-Anne Erangey, Ballyvolane

Judith Coffey
Judith Coffey

“One totally poignant memory involved realising that friends are family too. It was 1984 - I was 20. Do They Know It’s Christmas? was new in the charts. I was with a group of friends dancing at Zoe’s night club and when that song came on we just grouped together, hugging and singing along. Those words meant so much at the time - the prequel to Live Aid.

“Thirty-seven years later, and every time I hear that song, I feel both compassion and love.”

Judith Coffey, Cobh

“It was Christmas Eve, 1974. I was nine going on ten. My mum was expecting baby number ten at the time so she was exhausted. My dad (who worked the nightshift delivering the Cork Examiner across the city) had told us to ask Santa for a small gift each.

“I told my dad to tell Santa I would love a little doll but to look after my brothers and sisters first as I didn’t really need a new doll. My dad hugged me tight and said OK. I deeply regretted not asking for my doll but it was more important to me that my younger siblings get a present from Santa.

“So Christmas Eve arrives. All the kids were bathed and put to bed. I was helping my oldest sister Margaret in the kitchen when in came my dad with his arms full of presents. He said he had met Santa on his way home. Santa was running late and he’d asked my dad would he mind taking the Morris children’s presents home with him.

Norma Morris.
Norma Morris.

“As my dad was a personal friend of Santa Claus himself, he said he would be delighted to help out. So my dad gave me a big hug and said Santa gave me this for you. I opened my gift - I had gotten a very big Raggedy Ann doll. She was beautiful. I was speechless. I was sent to bed with my doll. It was my best Christmas ever.”

Norma Morris, Blackrock

“My most magical Christmas was that of 1994. Not only had we bought our first house but in the weeks before Christmas our daughter was born.

“The house was decorated, the Christmas tree was lit, and the fire was blazing on the day she arrived home, a little bundle of Christmas joy that would change my life forever.

“It was wonderful, it still makes me smile as I think now of my adult daughter, so small, helpless and innocent that first Christmas. As Christmas presents go, it will never be topped.”

Rev. Mike O’ Sullivan, Princes Street

“Mine would be the whole family meeting in Evergreen Buildings on Christmas evening to swap presents. Tiny two-up, two-down house full of people.

“Since my dad passed and my mom Peg is unwell, my brother in Dublin takes mom up to his for the Christmas so we don’t have the hub anymore on Christmas Day and I really miss that.”

Jacqui McSweeney, Ballincollig

“I have two Christmas memories that stand out. The first is when I was about six years old. It was Christmas Eve and I wouldn’t go to sleep. Next I heard what sounded like sleigh bells outside and my dad, Tony, came running in, shouting: ‘Hurry! Hurry! Santa has landed on the neighbour’s roof, you’d better get to sleep quick!’

“I found out years later the noise I heard was actually my dad walking past the bedroom window shaking a Santa hat.

“The second memory - I was 12 years old. My older sister Rachel was after getting a hi-fi system and my parents kept asking me to go to the kitchen to get scissors to cut the strapping on the box. I refused to budge as I didn’t want to miss anything. But after a while I gave in.

“I turned to go out the door, when all of a sudden, there, in the next room, all set up, was my very first proper drum kit! I’m still playing drums to this day. That was one of the best Christmases ever.”

Darren Sweeney, Cobh

Carmel McGrath
Carmel McGrath

“Mine is going to visit nan and grandad in Barrett’s terrace. I was about six years old.

Dad was driving a station wagon at the time and we were going up that very steep hill off Blarney Street when the handbrake went. We went rolling back down that hill, but we kept singing our Christmas songs!”

Carmel McGrath, Dillons Cross

“My favourite Christmas memory is going to my grandmother’s on Orrery road and being allowed to play a game of cards with the men.

“All nine of my uncles would give me ten pence each and as soon as I had two pounds I’d be out of the game. Happy days!” Ristard Daithi Salingear, Gurranabraher

“Christmas making jigsaws with my dad has got to be one of my favourite memories.”

Mary Connell, Blackrock

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