Forever Christmas in Ennis
The entire ground floor of this Co Clare home is bedecked with baubles and some decorations even stay up all year round
Anne Marie Cahill: As soon as Halloween is over, the decorating of the house begins and is usually finished by the middle of November
Walking into Anne Marie Cahill’s house is like entering a winter wonderland – the modest garlands adorning the front door reveal little of the magic which lies within.
The entire ground floor of this home in Ennis, Co Clare is bedecked, bejewelled and tastefully twinkling with festive cheer.
Starting in the hallway, a plump but elegant dressing winds its way around the bannister while festive hangings gild the walls and ceilings and every piece of furniture is immaculately dressed for the season.
But this is just the beginning. Heading into the open-plan kitchen/diner, the effort this stay-at-home-mum has put in to decorating her house becomes even more apparent – there are reindeer lounging atop of cupboards, penguins peeping out from behind snow-covered trees and bauble-laden garlands as far as the eye can see.
Over the kitchen table is a showstopping display of gigantic red and silver stars while the living room also boasts a tasteful all-white window display.
The piece-de-resistance, however is the conservatory which is like stepping into a beautiful luxury Santa’s grotto – white and silver is the theme and everything from the centrepiece in the middle of the floor to the generously decorated tree is faultless.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the creator is an interior designer or at least an artist of some kind, but Cahill, who lives in the house with her husband Morgan and son Stephen, fills her home with decorations simply because she loves it.
“I’ve had a love of decorating ever since making decorations out of crepe paper and bells out of the empty cherry containers when my late mother finished making the Christmas puddings,” she says. “I adored the sparkle and shine from the glitter and tinsel - the sight of tinfoil even did it for me.
“Christmas was always a big occasion, full of traditions and frivolity and my late father insisted on a real tree which I got to decorate.”
As a child, Cahill would begin decorating quite close to Christmas but these days she starts a lot earlier and never quite stops.
“We began decorating around the 20th of December and were allowed to leave everything up until after my sister’s birthday on January 10th,” she recalls. “I hated the bareness of the house when they were taken down, so when I got married and had a house of my own, my love of decorating exploded completely and I now decorate the house all year around – Christmas, Easter, summer, autumn and Halloween. Some, decorations are up all the time, I just adapt them to suit the season” That includes the tree (with eggs and bunnies at Easter and ghosts and ghouls for Halloween).
“My Christmas planning begins on December 28th when the sales start and I buy all my unusual or costly items for half price and keep them for the following year. My husband has a practice (he is an optician) in Ennis and I also dress his window for each season and then keep those decorations for home. So I always ensure that whatever I choose for his window will go with whatever theme I am planning for the house.”
As soon as Halloween is over, the decorating of the house begins and is usually finished by the middle of November – however, none of it is for show, Cahill simply enjoys the beauty and the atmosphere it creates.
“I do very little outside the house and try keep it contained to the inside, although I don’t think that my husband considers it contained,” she laughs. “People have said that I should open up the house for people to have a look or even for charity, but I think that might change things a bit – at the moment, I do it because I love it - it’s a hobby, it’s fun and particularly at night-time, it makes the house look magical.”