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It’s hard to say who was more excited about Santa’s surprise visit to Greystones today, the children or the adults.

For the most part, the kids simply got on with telling The Man In Red exactly what they wanted for Christmas, whereas the adults…

Well, they just stared. And smiled. And let out the odd excited squeak.

Having hopped on a ferry for the day – having a holiday home in Holyhead, don’t you know – Santa firstly swung by The Whale, to catch all the boys and girls watching the Raymond Briggs double-bill of Father Christmas and The Snowman. And the looks on their faces when the real deal was waiting patiently for them as the closing credits rolled was a sight to behold.

And this man is the real deal. We checked. By giving that mighty beard a good tug, and it turns out to be true. Ronnie Drew true.

Taking to his Chimney Potmobile, Santa took a spin down to the Greystones Harbour Christmas Market once the last starstruck kid floated out of The Whale, and once again, it was goggle-eyed parents and happy, straight-talking kids who were determined to explain, in great detail, their ever-growing Christmas list.

Thanks to Kathleen Kelleher for wooing Santa over to Greystones – thanks, in part to our town’s twinning with Holyhead – and to the great man himself, for being so attentive with each and every child. And so calming with each and every adult.

The biggest thanks, as always, goes to John McGowan, Santa’s little helper for the afternoon, as he chaperoned Big Red around Greystones…

You can check out the full gallery of John McGowan’s shots in hi-res right here. You can follow Holyhead Santa on Facebook here.

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