Ballycastle Winter Wonderland success

Ballycastle’s first Winter Wonderland, held on December 21st - 23rd in Brady’s old supermarket on Castle St was a huge success.

The group started working on the project from an idea that was discussed at one of the many meetings, held after the summer had ended. The major headache for the group was how to raise the money required for the rental of the ice rink. Ballycastle Community Development Group had previously been unsuccessful with a grant application to fund such a large event.

Fundraising became a key issue, various events were held throughout the town, namely the pamper day at Portnagree House, Helena Dornan’s 12hr spin challenge in the Central Bar, the fundraising winter themed disco also held in the Central Bar, the bag pack in Eurospar, the various collection buckets throughout the shops, the grant from Moyle District Council and all the generous donations from the local businesses.

BCDG then secured the use of Brady’s old supermarket for the event. BCDG would particularly like to thank Michael Brady for his words of encouragement during the whole process. Paul Kerrigan, using his planning department skills drew up the plans for the build and how it was going to look, unfortunately a power surge fried his computer and the plans were lost. Maybe losing the plans was for the best, as the outline of the build changed shape a few times over the course of the six weeks it took to complete.

A hardy team of volunteers turned up religiously on weekday evenings, at the weekends and using the materials donated from Cross & Passion College worked on the project from start to finish. The amazing art work painted by Patricia McMillen and Nikki Nemec was out of this world, everyone who passed through Narnia land couldn’t wait to get their photographs taken with the scenery as a backdrop.

The incredible Disney characters painted in the movie pod by Oliver McParland were also a massive hit for family photos. When the build was completed (about half an hour before opening time) on Friday the 21st December, it was then that BCDG knew that all the hard work was worth it. Sandra Hunter and Michael Brady spoke kindly as they officially opened the Winter Wonderland to the community.

Bunscoil an Chaistil choir led by Jo Bargewell sang beautifully. The Bunscoil also treated everyone to some fine Irish dancing and solo singing that they all should be very proud off.

Using an entrance from the alleyway at the side of the shop, the public stepped into a corridor which resembled one of the scenes, from the film ‘The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe’. There were pictures of Aslan, the Snow Queen and a map of Narnia on the walls. Two Snow Queens, played by Hayley Broadley and Dee Larsen entertained and memorised the visitors as they entered Narnia and although the Snow Queen is evil in the film our two Snow Queens were anything but.

In the middle section of the building, families could chill out in movie pod and catch a Christmas film, children queued to visit Santa and the elves guided by head elf Carol Mooney entertained the kids at the wacky work shop. At the front of the shop was the Christmas Market, where there was a host of stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to homemade chutneys and cupcakes.

The ice rink also proved to be incredibly popular!

BCDG would like to thank the following people and businesses in no particular order for helping to put the whole project together: Paul Kerrigan, Marice Kerrigan, Jordan Donnelly, Conor Mc Carry, Hayley Broadley, Dee Larsen, Peter Molloy, Carol Mooney, Lisa Mooney, Jodie Mooney, Laura Mooney, Dennis Mc Cambridge, Carol Thehat Warren, Shannen Quigg, Dara and Toraigh and Sacha, Conor Mc Guire, Michael Magee, Mark Mooney, Caroline Mc Afee, Domnic Mc Afee, Donal Cunningham, Malachy Mc Afee, Louise Brolly, Kathrine Jennings, Shauna Mc Fall, Anne Kelly, Eileen Christie, Declan Mc Carry, Krystle Boyd,Francis Mc Toal, Valerie Connor, Joesph Mc Goldrick, Lisa Mc Kee, Siobhan Canavan, Nuala Mc Kay, John Anthony Mc Kay, Rebecca Mc Gowan, Bronagh Burns, Paul Cochrane, Leo Mc Ilroy, Nikki Nemec, Patricia Mc Millen, Oliver Mc Parland, Jenni Mc Loughlin, Chloe Mc Loughlin, Emma McLoughlin, Courntnee Parke, Josh Hutchinson, Emma Elf and other the other elves who were fantastic.

BCDG would also like to sincerely thank the following people and businesses for their much needed help and support in bringing this project to life: Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce, Moyle District Council, Ballycastle Rotary Club, Michael Brady, Craigs Paint Shop, Boyles Paint shop, James McCaughan Chemist, McMichaels Chemist, Castle Pharmacy, McMullans Chemist, Central Winebar, Functfit, Boyles Eurospar, Boyles Café, Thyme and Co, PC

Electrics, McNamara’s Living Ballycastle, Home Made Beautiful, Co op, McAlonans supplies and garage, Beautique, Ramoan Eurospar, Spar Garage, The Glenshesk Bar, Central Bar, O’Connor’s Bar, Rathlin Ferries Co Ltd, Hair at the Boat House, Dalriada Health and Beauty, Impact Printing, Anzac Bistro, Impact Printing, Ballycastle Garden Centre, the Corrymeela Community, Bay Café, Original Factory Shop, Krafty Cakes, Helena Dornan, Teen Ballycastle and all the many volunteers who have been working so hard to create the magic!

BCDG would like to support the community who supported the event and made it so successful. Keep an eye out in the papers for forthcoming events in the summer and thank you all.