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Merry Christmas from Mayo

Features


Elizabeth Reapy
Award-winning author

Where will you be spending Christmas?
With my family, in Claremorris.

What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
Hanging out with my gorgeous baby niece on Christmas Day.

What’s your fondest Christmas memory?
Getting a ten speed bike when I was eleven, or so. Cycling around town that Christmas morning in the ice rain was exhilarating. Pure freedom.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
‘The Snowman’ brings up all sorts of nostalgia.

Have you any Christmas traditions?
All our cousins on one side catch up for a big reunion on Christmas morning after Mass and before dinner for drinks and chats. It’s lovely. Our cousins on the other side all catch up for an annual trivia quiz one of the days after Christmas. It’s good craic but also pretty competitive. I’ll be setting a round this year.

What’s on your Christmas reading list?
I’ll be reading ‘Other Minds’ by Peter Godfrey-Smith, it’s about the evolution of octopuses’ minds. And of course, any surprise books that Santa brings.

Maria Walsh
Former Rose of Tralee

Where will you be spending Christmas?
I WILL be spending Christmas in the lovely village of Shrule. It is my mother Noreen’s turn to cook, as we share our Christmas with family members from Connemara. It will be a packed table, I also look forward to the holiday as its an excuse to meet, re-meet, share stories and celebrate those with at the table, and also those who are no longer with us. I always feel so blessed.
 
What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
I am most looking forward to taking the time to reconnect with people. We are all so busy, in our heads, work, always updating and searching. I love Christmas Day in particular because it forces us all to switch off, and just be.

What’s your fondest Christmas memory?
We have been celebrating our Christmas Day with my Aunt Cathy and her family, and my Uncle Mike and his family since we moved to Shrule in 1994. Each and every year we are surrounded by each other, great food, and happy people. Even the odd onesie comes out! As we grow older the toys become less and less significant and now its about seeing how my older cousins are doing. They now have children of their own so our Christmas Day has been centred around them; Cliódhna, Sheenagh and Páidí. And I love it. It has been such fun seeing Christmas again through their eyes.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
My favourite Christmas movie is ‘The Polar Express’. Dare I say I ‘force’, or highly encourage us all to watch it each year. Another would be ‘The War of the Buttons’, not such a Christmas movie but definitely a staple in our house.

Have you any Christmas traditions?
For many years I was the ‘one’ in the ‘onesie’, but as climate change and body shapes have changed, that tradition has gone by the wayside!

What’s on your Christmas wish list?
Mayo winning the All-Ireland (of course), some good books that are inspirational and insightful, and if someone wants to book a few days away (with a spa treatment), I would be 100 percent okay with that!

Tommy Marren
Presenter and station manager of Midwest Radio

Where will you be spending Christmas?
I ALWAYS work Christmas Day and to be honest it’s one of the most enjoyable days of all!  I’m up at 5.30am and present the Christmas Breakfast Show and help out on the phones until about 2pm. Then it’s home to Tubbercurry for the grub and the couch!
 
What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
It’s always a great time to catch up on family and friends. The rest is nice too and the odd late sleep is welcome.
 
What’s your fondest Christmas memory?
Getting an electric train set from an aunt in New York when I was about eight-years-old.  I remember the excitement of putting it all together although a couple of my brothers decided there were bits of it that weren’t really needed and were surplus to requirements! Mind you it still worked!
 
What’s your favourite Christmas song?
‘Little Drummer Boy’ – Bing Crosby/David Bowie
 
Have you any Christmas traditions?
I love going to Midnight Mass
 
What’s on your Christmas wish list?
Maybe an iPad (hint hint!!). Other than that a few boxes of dark chocolates and fine weather to walk the dog!

Louise Duffy
Today FM Radio presenter

Where will you be spending Christmas?
This year, Christmas will be divided between Kerry (to see my husband’s [former Kerry footballer Paul Galvin] family) and Mayo (to see mine), with weddings in Carlow and Cork in between. We tend to clock up a lot of mileage around this time of year, but it’s always worth it.

What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
I love having all my family around, but especially my husband Paul. We spent years going our separate ways for Christmas, so it’s a real novelty to spend the day together.
 
What’s your fondest Christmas memory?
We had such a happy time when we were kids, the excitement of Santy coming, and getting up at the crack of dawn with my three brothers is always my fondest memory.
 
What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
I love ‘Elf’. But I also love settling down with a couch full of chocolate and watching some classics too.
 
Have you any Christmas traditions?
Not really, I try to get to see all my family and friends, but there is no rhyme or reason to the chaos of Christmas!
 
What’s on your Christmas wish list?
Nothing in particular, I think the older you get, the less you want. But (if my loved ones are reading!) it is always nice to get a few surprises!

Rory O’Neill
Panti Bliss (Drag Queen and gay rights activist)

Where will you be spending Christmas?
In Ballinrobe with the family.

What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
The big meal. This year the whole family will be there which only happens every few years so it’s always special when it’s a full-house year.

What’s your fondest Christmas memory?
When we were kids, some years we’d have extra relatives for Christmas and there’d be too many people to fit round the table, so my mother would set up a small extra table beside the big one and we youngest children would have our own mini-Christmas dinner table.

Have you any Christmas traditions?
I’m always too disorganised to wrap my presents in advance so asking my mother for some of her wrapping paper and wrapping them all on Christmas Eve when I get to Mayo has become a tradition by disorganised default!

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
Home Alone

Michael Ring
Fine Gael TD and Minister for Rural and Community Development

Where will you be spending Christmas?
I will be spending Christmas at home in Westport.

What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
Looking forward to a few days off to be with the family after a very busy year.

What’s your fondest Christmas memory?
The excitement of waiting for Santa on Christmas morning.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
Home Alone

Have you any Christmas traditions?
Attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

Fergal O’Brien
TV3 News Correspondent

Where will you be spending Christmas?
I'll be spending Christmas at home in Cong. The best place to be on Christmas Day.

What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
Looking forward to spending time in Mayo catching up with family and friends that I haven't seen as much as I would have liked to during the year. And generally just relaxing after a busy year and enjoying some good food.

What's your fondest Christmas memory?
My fondest Christmas memory is of waking up early one Christmas morning when I was very young and feeling presents at the bottom of my bed. I remember being afraid to open my eyes incase Santa Claus might have still been I the house. A memory that has always stayed with me.

What's your favourite Christmas movie?
I plan on watching loads of Christmas movies. The Home Alone movies and Love Actually would be among my favourites.

Have you any Christmas traditions?
Visiting family and neighbours on Christmas Day followed by a late dinner would be among our annual Christmas traditions.

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