There was a “brilliant” atmosphere on Christmas Day out at Tir Navar Holiday Village, Derrygonnelly as locals who needed a little extra help or would have been on their own at Christmas, enjoyed a free Christmas dinner amongst great company.

Liam and Amy Jones, who run the Holiday Village, opened up the establishment on Christmas Day and with the help of members of the local community, offered a special Christmas dinner that was enjoyed by all who attended.

“It went really well, I don’t want to get into numbers but we had lots,” said Liam, adding: “The atmosphere was brilliant. Lee, my son, plays lead guitar in The Tumbling Paddies and he played a bit of music and we had Christmas songs and wine. In general the atmosphere was really, really good, it was very Christmassy. It was great to see these people who wouldn’t really see anyone on Christmas Day.”

Noting that the help they were given on the day was a “big thing”, Liam said: “The PSNI came out, they delivered a number of meals. There was also a number of Fermanagh GAA players and Harps players, four of them lads came in and they delivered meals. There were two women that came in to help and that was all we needed. There was Dr. Julie Groves-Raines and Barbara Carleton who helped out on Christmas Day with Amy and I,” he explained.

Commenting on the generosity of those in the community who donated towards the Christmas dinner, Liam said: “We have had lots of donations, we had a really good response from the people. The amount of goodwill, not only in Derrygonnelly but in Monea and Churchill, the whole community, there’s a lot of good people out there. We have a considerable amount of money over and we are going to donate that to charities. A lot of people did give in money and we’re thinking of two charities to give to that are very close to us.”

When asked if they came across any challenges when putting on such a large scale Christmas dinner, Liam shared: “I suppose the preparation, it was a bit staggering as we thought, ‘how are we going to get all this done?’ It did work out, we put in an extra few hours. Christmas Eve was busy and we had an early start on Christmas morning but once we had all that done, the rest just happened.”

He explained that different people got involved by delivering meals to those who couldn’t attend, and also lifts were offered to anyone who needed transport to and from the Holiday Village on the day.

“It proved to be a success. There was even people coming in who wanted to pay for their lunch, they had nowhere to go and just wanted to be there for the atmosphere and the craic,” Liam explained.

“It’s probably something that needs to be highlighted a bit more that there’s a lot in our community that needs that extra bit of help, particularly at Christmas time,” he told this newspaper.