Waterford News & Star’s Christmas Annual, Festive Star is on sale now – buy it here
This Thursday evening, November 24, the fourth year of Festive Star will kick off, with none other than Waterford’s own John Mullane launching the Déise Christmas publication at 6.30pm in The Book Centre.
Since 2019, the Waterford News & Star has been bringing Festive Star to the people of Waterford, and over those four years, it has become a firm favourite with readers. The bumper Christmas annual has become a Waterford Christmas tradition, and, like Winterval this year, it is focused on community, on people, and on tradition.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Mary Frances Ryan, editor of Waterford News & Star and Festive Star, said people are most welcome to join the celebrations on Thursday evening.
She said: “We are incredibly proud of what we’ve built in Festive Star, with a huge community of contributors, from writers and storytellers, to chefs, Waterford businesses, our fantastic cover artist Lisa Keane, and so many more. We like to think of it as Waterford’s Christmas Annual – more important to Déise people at Christmas than the Christmas RTÉ guide!”
The feedback received each year feeds into the following edition, for which preparations begin when most people are off enjoying their summer holidays.
Ryan added: “Festive Star has come to form part of what makes Christmas special in homes across Waterford, and that’s so lovely to hear because it truly is a celebration of this wonderful part of the world and our people… with something for every member of the Déise family, in the best sense of a traditional Christmas annual!”
Adorning the front cover is artist Lisa Keane’s beautiful depiction of the iconic ‘Helter Skelter’ at Winterval, evoking warm memories and ensuring that children will grow up recognising the cover of Festive Star, as well as being excited by the colouring and other competitions inside.
Inside, the tribe of contributors grows each year and this year in particular features a wealth of stories, interviews, and anecdotes about our beloved Waterford. Among the interviewees is Ferrybank resident Paul Malone, who served with the Irish Army during the Battle of Jadotville, The Congo.
In the Déise Christmas Feast section, there is a smorgasbord of delicious recipes – led by a team of top Waterford chefs. Taking centre stage is Esther Barron, of Barron’s Bakery in Cappoquin, a champion of local producers, who allows a peak into her own family traditions at Christmas.
Families around Waterford will see some familiar faces in the Christmas Greetings from Abroad, heads will be scratched during Metropolitan Mayor Cllr Jason Murphy’s ‘So You Think You Know Waterford’ quiz, and Dan Linehan’s The Great Waterford Crossword will challenge even the most knowledgeable of Déise minds.
Photographer Joe Evans takes us back 25 years, local historians take us even further back to the Civil War in Waterford, 100 years ago, and the Waterford Creative Writing section has swelled to include budding playwrights, poets, young voices, and short story writers.
A new tradition takes time to build trust around but in this, the fourth year of Festive Star, it is clear that a Waterford tradition has been truly born. In the offices of the Waterford News & Star, Christmas begins very early in the year and it is down to the creative input of Michelle Treacy from the production team, and Mary Frances Ryan for her often sleepless dedication to the finished result, that we give you memories to share and to build upon each year. We are carrying forward a tradition, which commenced in 1885, when the first Christmas supplement to the paper was published. Festive Star is on shelves now, priced at €5. Long may this wonderful tradition continue. Enjoy!
Festive Star is available to buy online at The Book Centre.