Famous lights to shine despite soaring costs

THE organisers of a major Christmas fundraiser in Kerrykeel have confirmed it will go-ahead this year despite soaring energy costs, but say it will need the help of sponsorship.

Mary and Michael Whoriskey have been lighting up the outside of their home every Christmas for the last 17 years, raising over €75,000 for multiple worthy causes.

In the last few years, the fundraiser took a different kind of format due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a private switch on by the family before being opened to the public.


Speaking to the Donegal News, Mary confirmed Kerrykeel will not be in the dark this Christmas.

“As far as we are concerned we are going ahead with it but as in previous years due to Covid-19, it will be a private family switch on and then afterwards it will be open to the public. That’s the way it has been done the last few years because of Covid. Last year our grandson Ollie switched on the lights and then the display was open to the public.”

Mary said running the magnificent display runs into thousands of euro. She admitted meeting energy costs this year is daunting, but said the fundraiser is always very well supported by sponsorship.

“I recently received in my own ESB bill for two months and I was shocked at the price of it.

“I am going to put a shout out for sponsorship shortly. Whoriskey’s sponsored €500 litres of diesel last year for our generator.

“I don’t know how we will meet the extra costs. We will service a good bit ourselves. We have sponsorship going too, but we are going to have to put a big call out for sponsorship. I hope to sell lines but it is very difficult going door to door now because Covid is still here. I will put lines out in shops too.

“On average, our display costs in the region of thousands. Those costs are paid for by us and through the sponsorship, and the funds raised by the lights display are donated to the designated charity or charities.”


The couple haven’t yet decided on this year’s charity to benefit from their fundraiser.

“Michael always makes a few new pieces for the display. We will be getting our stock out now shortly to have a look at it. There is always something that needs replaced. Lights and bulbs need replacing every year,” said Mary. Meanwhile, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce has confirmed Letterkenny’s Christmas lights display will also be going ahead as normal this year.

CEO Toni Forrester said: “Most of our lights are LED, so as energy efficient as we can make them.”

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