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Christmas cheer for Westport lights


HE BIG SWITCH ON Natalia Boda-Coughlan and Lottie Billington (centre) were the special guests on hand in Westport to officially turn on the town’s Christmas lights on Monday afternoon. The girls are pictured alongside local elected councillors, Mayo County Council representatives, Westport Chamber of Commerce representatives and Canon Jennifer McWhirter. Pic: Conor McKeown

WHO else would Santa Claus want to turn on Westport’s wonderful Christmas lights but two nine year olds, Natalia Boda Coughlan and famous local artist, Lottie Billington, whose peacock drawing is in JK Rowling’s latest book, ‘The Ickabog’.
Meanwhile Natalia was representing her cousin, Ciarán Rocliffe, who is based in Abu Dhabi. He won Westport Chamber of Commerce’s enormously successful virtual competition ‘Around the World in 28 Days’, a series of interviews held on Facebook recently with wandering Covies. He won flights home for two people when suitable and accommodation courtesy of Destination Westport and the town’s hoteliers. Most importantly, Ciarán could nominate who would turn on the Christmas Lights on his behalf.
The upgraded festive lighting system was installed over the recent weeks on Bridge Street, Shop Street, James Street and out at the Quay. The whole Quay area has been a busy destination this winter for many lockdown families who have enjoyed the sylvan grounds of Westport house.
There are new lighting banners also on Mill Street and Castlebar Street and new lights on the monument at the Octagon, a county council spokeswoman also confirmed to The Mayo News.
She said the existing lights on the trees on Bridge Street, Shop Street, James Street, The Mall and the Fairgreen have also been restored, as well as the introduction of spherical lights to enhance the atmosphere.
Speaking at the launch yesterday (Monday), Cllr Brendan Mulroy, Leas Cathoirleach of the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District said: “Mayo County Council is delighted to be switching on the Christmas lights in Westport today. I acknowledge the Town and Village Renewal Scheme grant awarded to the town which, when combined with GMA contributions from my colleagues and myself, results in a spectacular new lighting scheme in Westport. I acknowledge the huge challenges faced this year by all the businesses in the town and we hope that the new lighting will lift everyone’s spirits and we look forward to a busy and safe run up to Christmas.”

Quiet weekend
SPEAKING to The Mayo News also yesterday, Ms Helen Gavin, President of Westport Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses have reported an exceptionally quiet weekend today (Monday). So the much-anticipated Christmas lights switch-on is very welcome, providing for a festive, uplifting and magical experience for shoppers. Westport businesses will be operating extended opening hours on Thursday and Fridays from this week, to facilitate increased demands in the lead-up to Christmas.”

Westport businesses will be operating extended opening hours on Thursdays and Fridays in the run up to Christmas.