West Cork's bright lights raises big bucks for charity

West Cork's bright lights raises big bucks for charity

Santa with his reindeer, a crib and many other colourful figures light up the home and garden of Willie O'Donovan and Diana O'Donovan at Union Crafts, Union Hall, Co. Cork for Christmas. 

A West Cork winter wonderland has raised over €6,000 for charity after going viral last December.

Willie and Diana O’Donovan have been lighting their home in Union Hall for the past 40 years, donating the contributions of those who pass by to see the spectacular multi-coloured extravaganza to charities close to their hearts.

The O’Donovan’s usually raise around €2,000 during the festive season, which they split between cancer research with the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Motor Neurone Association.

This year the duo managed to raise over €6,170 after a video made by local photographer Gary Minihane clocked up 12,600 views on Facebook.

Speaking to The Echo, Diana said without the video and the article in The Echo, they would never have managed to raise that amount of money.

“There were a lot of people visiting from Cork over the Christmas period and we know this because they were all popping into the local shop looking for directions to our house!” 

Diana said she and Willie were absolutely delighted to raise so much money for their chosen charities.

“We were watching the money coming in and thinking to ourselves, will we make €4,000? and then €5,000? - it was just amazing.” The lights, which Willie and Diana start preparing to put up in October, shine from December 8 every year until the second week of January.

The O’Donovans, who pay for the lights and electricity out of their own pocket, said that they were pleased to be able to donate over €3,000 to both of their chosen charities.

Willie’s brother died from cancer and the O’Donovan’s had another death in the family related to motor neurone disease, so it means a lot to them both to be able to give back in this way.

Looking ahead Diana said the pair would be shining the lights in December 2021, all going well.

“Please God, we will do it all over again next year,” Diana said.

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