After the interest in our last blog profiling a large Christmas lighting display, we thought we’d do it again with another of our favourite customers. This time we wanted to do something a little different though and conducted an interview of sorts (albeit by email).
The Muldowney family live in Ireland and have been creating their massive animated Christmas display since 2012. We asked Moya Muldowney about their display, why they do it and about all the work that goes into programming and planning it.
First of all though, let’s take a look at the Muldowney Christmas Lights 2015 Promo Video:
Muldowney Christmas Light Show promo 2015Please take a look at (and share!) our new promo video for the Muldowney Christmas Light Show in Cobh, Co Cork! Featuring scenes of the background work which goes into putting this show together every year, plus some live clips from last years show! You can expect more new additions this year when our show premieres on 5th December at the new time of 7:30pm each night! 🙂
Posted by Muldowney Christmas Light Show on Sunday, October 11, 2015
- FL: Why do you love Christmas?
MM: When I was growing up, Christmas was always celebrated as a very warm, happy, bright time in my family. From the decorations, to family coming home to be together over the festive period, to the presents, the food, and the memories we created together. My parents always put lights up on the house, and we have so many Christmas traditions in our family that we still carry out today from my childhood that I think it was inevitable that Christmas would become my favourite time of year.
- FL: How long have you been doing your display for?
MM: We have had static lights on the house since I was a child, however it was in September 2012 that I first decided to take the plunge into the world of Light-O-Rama and programmed light shows to music. Our number of lights have grown radically since then between buying lights ourselves, and also members of the public donating both used and new Christmas outdoor decorations to us.
- FL: What made you start doing your display?
MM: I’ve always been fascinated by the incredible light shows put on all over America, and specifically by the Holdman family. I remember watching their videos in September 2012, and then searched “light o rama” to see how it worked. It was at this point I realised that they shipped internationally, and I could have a controller posted to Ireland! The first year was incredibly difficult as electrical components aren’t something I’m too familiar with but luckily for us between family and friends, we were able to wire up the controller to the lights with help from Light O’Rama UK group on Facebook.
Originally, we were just going to put on the show for our own enjoyment and for those that would walk past the house. But it kept being suggested we run it as a fundraiser and in the end, we decided there would be no harm in having a donation box outside the house. We had also chosen to run the light show just once a night rather than on repeat – this way creating one time that people would gather together to watch our lights, and create a bit of atmosphere.
My sister Aileen was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung & Bone Cancer in July 2009, and passed away in July 2010 after one short year. She was treated in the Mercy Hospital, Cork, Ireland, and the standard of care here was second to none. We had an incredible experience within the hospital, and decided to raise funds for the Mercy University Hospital Foundation Oncology Ward & Hospital Chaplaincy. The first year of our light show raised €3,400 – a number which far surpassed any estimations I had previously had. 2013 brought in €5,005 and 2014 took donations of just over €6,000.
- FL: How much has the display grown over the years?
MM: When the show finishes every year, I have said “Okay, we are definitely not increasing the number of controllers for next year” … Perhaps this year I will stick to that!
We began in 2012 with one controller which ran 16 sets of lights, as of right now we have 80 sets of lights in the light show.
Our static display also grows every year – especially in the January sales! We always like to add something new. Three years ago we purchased a basic nativity blow mold set from Festive Lights. The next year we added a shepherd and three kings. Last year saw the addition of some blow mold animals.
- FL: What is your favourite thing about your display?
MM: The Light-O-Rama programmed show has definitely become the main attraction for me at Christmas. From June onwards each year, I am consumed with ideas and plans for what we could do, which songs to choose, finding the right versions and so on. However, if I had to choose my favourite part of the display, it would be our Holdman Star which incorporates three star shapes on one board, and stands six feet high in the sky above the roof of the house.
- FL: How many lights (approximately) will you have on your display this year?
MM: At a rough guess, we would think approximately 25,000 lights between the rope lights, fairy lights, silhouettes, blow molds, festoon lights, and everything in between.
- FL: When do you start planning and prep for your Christmas display?
MM: Planning, and ideas begin in January as soon as the lights come down, but the main work and organisation start in June. This is the real work of choosing the songs for the light show, and organising the layout of the lights for the coming year – especially if any changes are to be made. The song research is endless as there are so many unique covers nowadays of all the old favourites, and we try to incorporate newer songs which people may not be as familiar with (for example the Christmas Can-Can by Straight No Chaser was a crowd-favourite last year!) as well as one religious song. Then begins the programming which takes us right through to October, and usually mid-late November we put up the lights.
- FL: How much does your electricity bill increase by around Christmas?
MM: Due to the fact that we changed out most of our lights for LED bulbs, we are very relieved that the electricity bill doesn’t increase by thousands, as many who look at our display often assume. We were very fortunate also last year that our electric company Energia gave us an allowance from our bill, due to the extra costs from lighting the show.
- FL: Finally, can members of the public come and see it?
MM: Our official switch on this year was on Saturday 5th December. Our light-show runs at my home in Norwood Park, Cobh, Co Cork, Ireland every night from the 5th of December until New Years Eve. The lights are on static from 5pm-10pm. All members of the public are always welcome to attend.
I hope you enjoyed this post and liked hearing about Moya’s experiences with her lights. If you would like to know more about the Muldowney Christmas lights or would like to help them with their fundraising you can visit their website or Facebook page .
If you have a large display and would like to be featured in one of our next case studies please send us an email to email@example.com.