IT MAY have divided opinion on social media, but the word on the Enniskillen street is the town’s new tree is a welcome addition to its festive illuminations.
The £19,000 artificial walk-through tree was purchased by Enniskillen BID, on behalf of its local business members, and gifted to the Council to light up the Diamond for many years to come. However, despite it not even being lit up yet, when it was first installed last week many took to social media to criticise the tree.
Not everyone agreed with the negative posts, though, and BID’s Noelle McAloon said when asked in real life, opinion was almost universally positive on the new festive addition to the town.
“Yes, there are the social media posts, but then you ask real people, everyone said they loved it,” she said. “People having even been stopping me on the street to say so.”
Ms McAlloon also explained the fencing around the bottom of the walk-through tree was installed on the back of a Council risk assessment, and was not part of BID’s plan. From Thursday onwards, this fence will be opened to allow for photo opportunities, but will be locked at night.
“The tree was a gift to the Council, and we’re working with them to make sure it is properly used and the general public get the best use out of it, while working within their constraints,” she said.
The online furore over the tree – which many mistakenly believed had been installed by the Council – comes off the back of an announcement by the Council there would be no official lights switch on in either Enniskillen of Omagh this year. Both towns are also among the last in the entire island of Ireland to be lit up for the festive season.
The lights will be switched on quietly this Thursday night, with no official countdown. However, Enniskillen BID has organised its own festive celebration to coincide with the lighting-up, and there will be plenty for young and old alike going on in the town centre this Thursday night, December 1st.
Running from 4pm-7pm, Noelle said the event will help raise the festive atmosphere in the town, which it was very much lacking at the moment.
“We have a free ice-cream for every child, we’ll have amazing photo opportunities with light up angels with our tree, Santa is so enamoured with our tree he said he will pose for photographs for the three hours,” she said. “There will be also an opportunity to get a photograph with a live reindeer, and whenever they get their photo with the reindeer we will give them reindeer food from the Enniskillen business community so they can spread that on Christmas Eve.”
There will also be face-painting and free balloons, live music from Sean and Conor Magee, and spot prizes of Enniskillen Gift Cards.
Ms McAloon paid tribute to local businesses, noting Killynure Krafts would be giving out selection boxes to children, while Fermanagh Cottage Industries are giving every child a reindeer hot chocolate, for example.
Referring to the cancellation of the Halloween fireworks, and now the lack of a light switch-on, she added, “Well done to our businesses. They are taking a hit.
“They lost money at Halloween, their losing money now because the town is lacking in atmosphere, but Thursday will be great and it will be a really good evening.”
Ms McAloon added “questions will have to be asked of our Council in January” regarding recent events, but said for now BID were focused on bringing festive cheer to the town.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition