Celebrations in Dublin, Cork and Ghoulway ahead of a busy night for emergency services


EMERGENCY SERVICES experienced another busy Halloween night in what is traditionally their busiest night of year.

Dublin fire brigade doubled the number of people in its control room in anticipation of a hectic night. The fire service received some 110 calls on Halloween night alone last year.

A spokesman for the brigade said units across the city were "very busy" by about 8pm attending to "usual Halloween disturbances."

One fire brigade unit had its windscreen smashed yesterday afternoon while responding to a call-out in Finglas, Dublin.

Gardaí in some areas under Dublin City Council's authority were called to assist council workers who were attacked, in some cases by stone throwers, after they attempted to dismantle bonfires.

Dublin City Council, which last year spent €1 million on its post-Halloween clean-up, said bonfires were illegal and it did not sanction or license bonfires held by communities or any other organisations. People engaging in such activity could be fined up to €3,000 under environmental legislation.

However, some revellers and parents of young children celebrating Halloween ignored warnings made by the authorities ahead of last night

Revellers in St Michael's Estate in Inchicore, Dublin, which is known for constructing an imposing bonfire every year got proceedings under way at about 6.15pm while a smaller fire burned alongside.

Lee O'Brien from the estate said the bonfire, propped up by countless numbers of wooden pallets obtained from a local supermarket, was smaller this year because the local county council was dismantling bonfires last week.

Revellers at a local bonfire in Drumfin Park in Ballyfermot, Dublin, also complained about South Dublin County Council removing bonfire material earlier yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, children and adults around the country took to local streets and parks to celebrate all things spooky.

Pirates, ghosts, witches and other costumed children in the Blackditch area of Ballyfermot began the annual trick or treat routine at about 6pm and were preparing for a night ahead sweet counting.

In Cork a 36-foot model of a dragon was the centrepiece attraction at an annual street celebration and Halloween parade which attracted hundreds of children to the city centre.

Children took to the streets to join the dragon as it travelled from one world to the other accompanied by creatures from the underworld.

Children also mingled with 350 adult participants who dressed up as giant skeletons, ghostly lanterns and creepy cats as part of the Community Artlink event.

A "pact with the devil" resulted in the flames of hell consuming Galway's old city museum at Spanish Arch last night as part of Oíche Shamhna.

However, no fire tenders were necessary, and there were no attempts by the crowd of several hundred to draw buckets from the river Corrib. The "flames" were part of a sound and light show, entitled Samhain, involving actors Miquel Barcelo, Helen Gregg, Jonathan Gunning and Seona Tully.

The mixed media format with "video mapping" intended to conjure up the spirits of Oíche Shamhna, including that of the late celebrated sculptor Clare Sheridan who lived in the old museum from 1948 to 1954 and was a first cousin of Winston Churchill.

Galway's emergency services said they were anticipating a busy night, in spite of an appeal to the public to celebrate Oíche Shamhna safely.