Bethlehem comes to village with Christmas pageant

A TINY Kerry village will be transformed into a ‘mini Bethlehem’ next weekend in a bid to capture the real spirit of Christmas.

Up to 30 actors from award-winning Mindána Theatre group will recreate the 2,000-year-old story of the birth of Jesus on the streets of Knocknagoshel.

Joseph and Mary, played by Anthony McCauliffe and Kathy Stryton, will ride into the village on a donkey and knock on doors along the way only to be told there is no room for them to stay. They will then make their way to a specially-built crib next to Mr McAuliffe’s shop.Three ‘wise men’ and ‘shepherds’ will visit the crib later to praise the baby Jesus, played by Ms Stryton’s three-month-old son.

A narrator will tell the story during the performance and Christmas carols will be played in the background.

The 45-minute performance is designed to capture the real meaning of Christmas and raise money for Crumlin Hospital, Mindána spokesperson Noreen Long said.

“I think the meaning of Christmas has been lost with all the fuss about decorations and toys,” she said.

“We are all fed up with the commercial side of it. I’m not a terribly religious person but I think people need this kind of event, youngsters especially.” She encouraged people to attend and visit the crib afterwards to help raise funds for Crumlin Hospital. The ‘Holy family’ will be surrounded by real animals.

“We had organised for one particular lamb to be in the crib,” said Noreen. “He was a nice and small lamb, a grand quiet fella, but the owner sheared him the other day, I think to make him look good for the crib. So we’re on the look out now for a new lamb.”

Roads into Knocknagoshel will be closed for the duration of the play.

Mindána Theatre group organise an annual ghost trail around the village. Despite torrential rain this year, almost 2,000 people turned out.

*The play takes place in Knocknagoshel on Sunday December 19 at 6.30pm.

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