24 Jan 2022

40 years on - the Letterkenny Christmas Annual continues to delight

First published in 1981, the new edition of the Christmas Annual is that extra special

40 years on - the Letterkenny Christmas Annual continues to delight

Jim Lynch and Liam O'Donnell with the 2021 edition of the Christmas Annual which is on sale now PICTURE: BRIAN MCDAID

The Letterkenny Christmas Annual has built itself into the fabric of the festive season in the town.
Every year it never disappoints, with its wonderful selection of photographs from days gone by, articles, interviews, features and stories.
It looks back on the year gone by, celebrating local success stories, while also remembering our nearest and dearest who have gone to their eternal reward in the previous 12 months.
The 2021 annual is that extra bit special, given that it marks 40 years since the first publication back in 1981.
“Together we have reached a milestone, the 40th edition,” Jim Lynch declares in his editorial in this year’s annual.
“There were times, over the years, when it seemed to be unachievable!
“Personally, I thank God for those years. The loyal support from contributors, advertisers, sellers and buyers over the years gave the team a lifeline to continue.”
Jim hopes that we all enjoy this special edition - 200 pages with a mix of 60 plus articles, 350 photographs of people, places and events, familiar, or down memory lane, in the town, we all love so well!
“The 40th needed something special,” Jim added.
“Looking back, reeling in the years, proved difficult to select from 40 annuals, so an article back in 1986 by An Fear Feasa in "Searchlight" seemed, to me, to fit the picture. “Inside this respected publication within "40 years, 40 Annuals," he asked the question "Would the annual survive?" His conclusion then was that "the project was sound and highly commendable, a worthwhile contribution to community enrichment”

Social history
Jim adds: “The public demand and involvement with said item, has enriched this community, and left behind a valuable resource library of local social history for future generations as we plan our town into 2040.
“Because of the pressure of space, it was difficult to select and I had to delete many of my own articles on George Boal, Covid, Ramelton Folk, Leaving Home etc.

The Four Lanterns is 50 years old this year, and that success is celebrated in the new Christmas Annual

“New, younger writers, from here and abroad, have contributed, providing an organic transformation into more recent events, people, and timeline. This augurs well for the future. At the same time, the constant tradition of local history and heritage has been maintained by Hugh Devlin, Kieran Kelly and Caroline Carr.”
The annual went on sale over the weekend and it is jam-packed with some fascinating articles, photos and features.
There are anniversaries celebrated too - it’s 1,500 years since the birth of St. Colmcille; and 50 years since the opening of the old Regional College, now Letterkenny IT.

50 years
It’s 50 years too since the Four Lanterns first opened for business, and the success of that franchise, and the contribution to the town of Frank Grimes and his family, is also marked in the Christmas Annual.
Sporting success in the town is also celebrated with St. Eunan’s GAA club enjoying a fantastic year on so many fronts. Letterkenny Gaels celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, and on the athletics front, the annual features Teresa McDaid who was in Tokyo for the Olympic Games.
There’s also a lovely feature on Michael Crossan, written by his daughter, as she talks about his life’s dedication to his family, Community Games and to sport.
That’s just a very small selection of what you can look forward to in another brilliant publication.
Jim Lynch takes up the story again: “My sincerest sympathy goes to the many bereaved families.
“We did invite families, using Facebook, to submit a photo of a loved one who passed away. Some responded and are remembered in the section "We Remember."
“For many years the late Margaret Gallagher contributed poetry to this annual. As we go to print I am informed of the death of the late Deace Mackey of Ard O'Donnell. May their souls rest in peace.”
He added: Forty annuals, 40 years, a lifetime of community involvement in collaboration with so many people, both in Letterkenny Community Centre management and contributors to this annual. I have watched that acorn grow into a strong mature tree.”

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