Tralee has never looked bet­ter at Christ­mas...

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - CHRISTMAS IN TRALEE - By STEPHEN FERNANE

THE warm Christ­mas glow that is cur­rently help­ing to cur­tail the chilly evenings around Tralee town cen­tre is a credit to ev­ery­one in­volved. Ev­ery town, vil­lage and city must have a fo­cal point; a place that de­fines the essence of its char­ac­ter and what it means to strike a bal­ance be­tween a vi­brant com­mer­cial set­ting and a place where the so­cial fab­ric is en­hanced. One need look no fur­ther than The Mall for proof of this com­bi­na­tion.

The street looks ab­so­lutely amaz­ing and it’s hard to imag­ine just a few short months ago it re­sem­bled a build­ing site rather than the main thor­ough­fare of a town. But if am­bi­tion is to be re­alised, then pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance is needed.

Traders in The Mall and Cas­tle Street were at the front­line of these ren­o­va­tions, and at times bore the brunt of weeks of frus­trat­ing in­ter­rup­tions to foot­fall. But per­haps now more than ever proves that it was well worth it as the cen­tre of Tralee has never looked bet­ter and brighter.

The Christ­mas lights cur­tain­ing The Mall, Denny Street and Cas­tle Street re­ally com­ple­ment Tralee and help cre­ate the kind of fes­tive at­mos­phere that in many ways is new to Tralee. The Mall’s new look is over­whelm­ingly en­hanced by the Christ­mas light­ing which has cre­ated an at­mos­phere to ri­val that of any of the ma­jor cities.

To be overly nega­tive is of­ten the eas­i­est op­tion in an ar­gu­ment. Yet facts are facts and there is sim­ply no deny­ing the fact that Tralee has never looked bet­ter as we ap­proach Christ­mas.

Per­haps it’s a Tralee thing, but we tend not to be as vo­cal when it comes to recog­nis­ing the vis­ual im­prove­ments Tralee has un­der­gone in re­cent years (at least not as of­ten as we should).

Tralee is an amaz­ing town that has punched well above its weight in terms of its busi­nesses, its ameni­ties and its at­trac­tions. How can any­one pass through The Square, The Tess Quar­ter, The Mall, Denny Street and Cas­tle Street at the mo­ment and not mar­vel at how well it looks?

This hasn’t hap­pened by ac­ci­dent ei­ther. It’s all down to vi­sion and in­vest­ment of ideals across a broad spec­trum of com­mu­nity fo­rums from the Tidy Towns to lo­cal traders. Great credit is also owed to Tralee Cham­ber Al­liance and Kerry County Coun­cil. How­ever, once ideas have been rolled out and fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment is made, it’s ul­ti­mately the lo­cal traders who help pre­serve a town and carry it for­ward. This is why shop­ping lo­cally is not just im­por­tant from an eco­nomic point of view, but also as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of pride of place.

For so many of us the magic of Christ­mas started with a shop win­dow dis­play. This is an­other as­pect that needs to be ac­knowl­edged as the fes­tive win­dow dis­plays in Tralee re­flect not just a love of Christ­mas, but also a sense of pride.

It will al­ways be the right time to call for more im­prove­ments for Tralee. But there comes a time when we should ac­knowl­edge, cel­e­brate and take stock of the im­prove­ments al­ready be­fore us. Thank­fully, Christ­mas in Tralee has helped shed plenty of light on such im­prove­ments.

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