Glowing tributes as Cork city’s ‘Mr Christmas’ retires

Glowing tributes have been paid to Cork’s ‘Mr Christmas’ who is pulling the plug on his electrical career after more than 40 years.

Lord Mayor Cllr Mary Shields led tributes last night to John O’Sullivan, 65, the general foreman electrical with Cork City Council, who will retire this month after overseeing the expansion and innovation of the city’s festive illuminations since 1972.

Mr O’Sullivan, from Ballyphehane and now living in Ballinhassig, and whose main job was to oversee power to the city’s main water-treatment plant, said he will especially miss the festive work.

“I am very proud of that part of my work. It was part of my life for so long,” he said.

“When you do something like this in the public realm, you want to make sure that it looks as good as it can. I’d often drive around the city just to make sure everything was working properly and looking well. You took it personally.”

He paid tribute to the team he worked with over the years, particularly those behind the Glow Christmas event in Bishop Lucey Park.

“I was privileged to be part of a group which helped project such a positive image of Cork over the festive period,” he said.

Mr O’Sullivan joined the city council when there was just one public Christmas tree to be lit in the city — the tree outside City Hall.

Last year, he and his team oversaw the design, installation, and lighting of nearly 30 public Christmas trees and lighting displays, including the Red Abbey crib.

Mr O’Sullivan devised a floating Christmas Walk of Light display around the Lough last year, brought Christmas lights to suburbs such as Blackpool, Farranree, Mahon, and Togher, and lit the striking tree on the former Kinsale Road landfill site.

He also oversaw the introduction of the city’s new festive lights in the mid-2000s — the old lights had their time and had to be replaced for safety reasons — and he piloted a community Christmas tree lights project that used car batteries to power festive lights on trees in local parks, which are in turn maintained by residents.

“John has taken a huge interest in rolling out Christmas displays across the city and has helped communities celebrate the period in a fitting style,” Ms Shields said.

The father of eight, and grandfather of 16, who is awaiting the birth of number 17 today, hopes to devote more time to Ballinhassig GAA club and to playing golf.


Cork City Council says it will recycle Christmas trees which have been dumped at a carpark.

Hundreds of trees have been left at the Lee Fields carpark despite the fact that it’s not an official drop-off point this year.

The drop-off points this year include the Kinsale Road civic amenity site, Ballinlough Park, the bring site at Clashduv Park, Togher, the green area at the junction of Murmount Road and Iona Road, Montenotte, and the green next to the Sam Allen complex in Gurranabraher

The free service runs until January 31.

The trees are mulched for use in parks.


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