Geraldine Mullan is busy preparing for her biggest ever series of family fun days and festive markets, with all of Inishowen invited to celebrate a special Christmas at the Mullan Hope Centre.
She says Christmas is a time to tell those close to you how much you love them – and she will take strength from past memories.
“Christmas is a time for family, to come together, create memories, cherish every moment and remember those gone before them. I have precious memories of Christmases past with my John, Tomás and Amelia.”
“They will forever be in my heart and they will help me get through the difficult few weeks ahead.”
The bumper festive programme begins at the Hope Centre on the weekend of December 9, 10 and 11 – and Geraldine says it’ll be a great chance to buy some gifts for your nearest and dearest while also supporting local business.
“I’m overwhelmed by the response of the traders. On the Friday night we have 50-plus traders, and then on Saturday and Sunday afternoon we’ll have sixty-plus traders; all local small businesses.”
“My John used to say – ‘Shop local, stay local’ – so the Christmas markets weekend will be an excellent opportunity to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit so evident in Inishowen. I’m looking forward to seeing all the stalls, getting my own Christmas shopping done and getting into the festive spirit.”
“There’ll be something for everyone, so no matter who you need to get that special gift for, you’ll be sure to find it at our Christmas fair.”
There will be a huge musical element to the proceedings too, with the Inishowen Gospel Choir set to perform an array of winter hymns on Friday evening, December 9 [7.15pm start].
Then on Saturday afternoon there will be ‘Musical Memoires’ from 3.30pm followed by the Gateway Singers at 4.30pm.
Ceolan round off the weekend with a rendition of some Christmas tunes on Sunday, with everyone encouraged to sing along.
Geraldine says the music will be particularly apt too, given that her family loved to sing and play.
“There was always music in our house, between John singing and playing his guitar, Tomás doing his household chores with his airpods in and singing – and me listening unknown to him.
“Amelia would be singing and dancing if she could all day every day, so to have singing in the centre over the Christmas markets weekend will be poignant, yet magical.”
“Everyone knew how much my John, Tomás and Amelia loved Christmas, so I hope they will be smiling down on all of us that weekend. Some of our decorations will adorn the tunnels again this year, and I know at the moment, local groups, schools and playschools are busy making props and decorations that will be on display.
“Once again getting the community involved, bringing people together, making memories is what it’s all about.”
The fun doesn’t stop there however, with another magical Christmas experience planned for Sunday, December 18, when Santa’s Grotto will come to the Mullan Hope Centre.
Geraldine says this will another “beautiful family fun day” to get everyone into the festive spirit.
“I don’t have my family, but I just want all families to have fun, to create memories and cherish every moment. So I’m hoping the Christmas experience will do that.”
“Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way. The community spirit, the camaraderie and friendship has enabled me to keep going, like my John, Tomás and Amelia would want me to.”
“My wish for all of you is a peaceful and happy Christmas.”