Tonight the Strangford/ Portaferry Ferry is lit up and the deck is a stage for choirs singing Carols. Praise songs ring out over the Lough in the chilly, evening air. School children and adults take part. Drivers are entertained as they make their way home.
At the ferry exit on each side of the Lough there is a mini Christmas Market. I am at the Craft Fair with my Seaglass Mosaics. John, my son is exhibiting his Bog Oak and Bronze. We are hopeful for a successful evening. It is a good opportunity to meet families from our community.
My mosaic collection began in May this year, after I picked up some green pieces of glass from the local beach. I was inspired to make a picture of Ireland with a piece of Seaglass for each of the thirty two counties. More inspiration has followed. I enjoy the peace and results as I work. I never dreamed I would be making mosaics, never mind selling some at a Craft Fair. I believe The Holy Spirit gives me the inspiration. He is the Creator.
I have visited the Christmas market in Bratislava. It is full of Craft Stalls selling Christmas Fare. It is a event where friends and families meet to have time together, sharing mulled wine and kebabs. Eight of my family are there in Slovakia tonight! From one Christmas Market to another, Ahoi!
I was excited to learn that the idea of Carol singing on the Ferry came from Vancouver, Canada. I have been to the ferry terminal at Nanaimo and have travelled on the ferries to Seashelt and Vancouver Island. My son Isaac is in Vancouver at the moment.
It all began fifty years ago with one boat decorated with Christmas lights. Now fifty boats take part in the Carol Ships Parade of Lights. It is a great attraction for visitors during the Christmas season in Vancouver.
The Ferry Crossing between Strangford and Portaferry is the oldest continuous ferry crossing in the world! I can imagine Patrick and the early Christian settlers making the crossing back centuries ago in a wooden craft. Our Ferry ship today is humble in comparison to the big ferries that dock in Nanaimo.
It is a wonderful experience to have a Christmas market and Choir Ferry so close to my home. May this festival grow as the years pass and become a successful tourist event and attraction for Portaferry and Strangford.
Some information taken from an article in the Down Recorder, published on 2nd December.