‘Tis the season…and oh dear, I am afraid to tot up what we have spent at the Christmas markets here in West Cork. We tell ourselves that we have moved here with nothing to hang on a Christmas tree; that we are supporting local entrepreneurs, artists, craftspeople and fund-raisers; that we need to lay in food for visitors; but the truth is that we find the whole Christmas market thing irresistible.
We love the colour, the carols, and the stalls that only appear at this time of year. We love the ones run by kids – raffling for their youth group, or trying to make a bit of cash by knitting and stitching and sawing and hammering. We love the amazing array of wonderful foods: we have come to know many of the vendors as friends and it feels good to know where your food is coming from.
This year we have attended markets in Goleen, Ballydehob, Kilcrohane and Skibbereen – so far! Each community is proud of its market and each one has a distinct character. The weather has been marvellous too – a real bonus since at least part of every market is outside.
I think we might be able to sport a respectable Christmas tree now…and we certainly won’t starve!