“Santa Claus was taken by helicopter to old Oakville”, Christmas memories from Clonmel

This week is all about sharing Christmas memories, writes Billy O’Riordan. So, without further ado, it’s up to you friends. I would like to start our journey down memory lane with Thomas Ryan.

Thomas Ryan (community activist)

Thomas shares a vivid memory of going to see Santa Claus turn on the Christmas lights on O’Connell Street. He remembers that Santa Claus arrived on horseback and in a cart and sometimes on a motorbike. Thomas recalls another occasion where, “Santa was flown into old Oakville and arrived by helicopter and landed on the Green at Shamrock Hill, great memories. “

Catherine McVicker (actress / screenwriter)

Catherine likes “to slow down and recharge your batteries at the end of the year”. Like Thomas, Catherine vividly remembers Santa Claus arriving by helicopter in Oakville. Catherine describes the occasion beautifully: “As a child, I remember the excitement of Santa Claus arriving by helicopter and the endless line. Unfazed, feeling like Willie Wonka waving a golden ticket in the frosty bite of December.

Cllr Richie Molloy (Family Carers Ireland)

Richie has strong memories of his late father winning cards and returning with his bounty, a turkey. Richie highlights the workload of Irish mothers this time of year with: “My mom is busy making the stuffing for the turkey late on Christmas Eve and getting ready to attend midnight mass.” Richie’s Mam also made sure that: “Santa has been taken care of for me, Simon, Michael and his sister Liz, it’s not an easy time for the Irish mom and that’s the biggest understatement of the year. “

Brigid Teehan (Artist)

Brigid did something in the kitchen that seems like a common mistake this time of year. Brigid will explain it better than I: “Early Christmas morning, it was about unpacking the opaque butchers that were wrapping the turkey. I stared at the pink flesh for a moment in disbelief as it dawned on me that the turkey shouldn’t be that color even if it wasn’t cooked. Yes, you guessed it. I had soaked the turkey crown overnight by mistake. Brigid’s ham, on the other hand, was a bit salty. We live and learn.

Amy Hill actor / writer / drama therapist)

Amy is her family’s official Christmas cook. Her Mam’s cooking skills are lacking, so every year Amy takes charge of the festive feast. For good reason: “After several years of raw turkey, apple pies without the apple, and roasted potatoes to break your teeth, it was time that I put on my apron and that I took one for the team. On a festive occasion, Amy remembers her mom saying, “She’s a turkey that looks gorgeous. Amy replied, “It’s a ham, Mam.” I love you a lot but it’s a ham and I think you need to relax… You are the light of my life and I love you.

Dave Fallon (writer)

Dave grew up on Mountain Road and he remembers building snowmen, snow angels, and many snowball battles. He recalls another memory: “Another vivid Christmas memory in Clonmel is walking past Allen’s (store) on O’Connell Street and being afraid of Santa Claus by banging on the window… it’s Father. Christmas, ‘she laughed just because these are really the little memories that we all treasure over the Christmas holidays.

Sharon Ahearne (Clonmel Stories Facebook)

Sharon recalls a funny incident involving Santa Claus: “When the children were younger we went to see Santa in Clonmel. He arrived by motorbike, the music was playing when all of a sudden; boom, he was on the ground, the children were crying, the parents were laughing, Santa Claus was embarrassed. It was one of my funniest Christmas memories. Sharon also remembers Christmas 2020, walking through a silent city while making a Christmas video for “Clonmel Stories,” the city being so eerily quiet, due to government restrictions.

Alan Moore (environmental activist)

Alan’s most memorable Christmas present was given to him on his tenth birthday. His father had secretly arranged the transformation of an old garden shed into a workshop. Her mother did the rest: “My mother organized a scavenger hunt for clues on Christmas morning. These were written on slips of paper that were hidden everywhere, one clue leading to another until the last clue led us, shaking with excitement to open the hangar door revealing his treasure… we all got together. Proven to be quite useful in DIY and each of us has inherited bits and pieces from the original toolbox that continue to bring back memories of that special Christmas day.

Mia Carney (Artist)

Mia’s memory of Christmas strikes a chord. It was in 2004, just a year after the death of his brother, Johnny. Mia’s son, Jack (9), taking over Mam’s grief, rushed to Boot’s pharmacist and Mia describes the rest of the story: Jack runs up, gets out with his package, hands it to me, plenty of scotch. I feel the tears rising as the paper opens to reveal Bagpuss, my childhood hero, now in hot water commercial blanket status, Jack smiled and said, ‘Merry Christmas Mammy, that’ll be fine. ‘”

John Fitzgerald (international athlete / author)

“Christmas morning, mid-1970s. I run with Jack Bergin and Johnny Ryan. The route is the cannon wood, the cross of the holy year, the castle of Carey and the house. We each failed to clean up the fast flowing creek in Glenary and we got badly soaked.
We laugh at each other’s misfortune. Coming out of the woods to hit the road again, a group of people are gathered in front of a whitewashed cottage. A hearse is parked and the celebrations turn into pity.
“An old man died in an overnight tragedy. “

Paulette O’Donovan (Artist)

“The street lights were on, home time for us tired and confused kids. It was a hard day of adventure, trawling through fields and playing by the French stream. Pajamas fed, bathed and cool, fires heat up and tickle my toes while my mom brushes my hair. The smell of my grandmother’s jam pies baking as she hums Christmas carols on the radio. Everything was good.

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