03 Oct 2022

Cooley Christmas Market - a market with a difference

Christmas in Louth

Cooley Christmas Market - a market with a difference

Cooley Christmas Market - a market with a difference

A Christmas market with a difference will take place in St Mary’s Parochial Hall Cooley on Sunday 10th December.

Cooley Charity Country Markets are a unique community event, standing with an identity all of their own.

Held twice per year in July and December, they don’t have any private stall holders. Each stall laden down with goods, comes thanks to the kindness of many. Every single item offered for sale at the market is donated free of charge.  

Each cent spent at the market goes directly to help fund the services of The Birches Alzheimer Day Care Centre. To date, the markets have raised in excess of €60,000 for The Birches.

The secret of their sweet success is the simple concept that they have the backing of an entire community. Many kind generous people who continue to donate goods, proud to be part of the circle of care which is The Birches.

After months of planning, it is now just two weeks until the Cooley Charity Christmas Market.  Many dedicated volunteers have been working hard behind the scene to make it a success.  Fresh fruit has been harvested, and many hours have been spent creating lots of delicious homemade jams and chutneys.  Old vintage tea sets have been resurrected, delicately polished and restored to their former glory.  

Thanks to the excellent craftwork of the Cooley Men’s Shed, all of this precious delph will once more be displayed with pride on a beautiful pine dresser bequeathed to the market by a kind donor.  The beauty of the kitchen dresser is sure to enhance the display and roll back the years for many. By it’s side will be a wide variety of bed linens, curtains, cushions and household items.  Many preloved and freshly laundered, they will make a bargain hunters delight.   


Pride of place at the market will as always be the home baking stall.  Dressed in pink candy striped tablecloths, it will showcase the labours of many.   Approximately fifty people don their aprons to bake for the market. This dedicated support is what sustains the market, and is very much appreciated by the organisers.  There will be a wide variety of breads, scones, mince pies and desserts.  Dozens of Christmas cakes and puddings have been made.  

Maturing now for weeks in the finest of Cooley whiskey, they will be offered for sale at discount prices.  The Birches are extremely grateful to the many businesses who donated the ingredients for this huge amount of Christmas baking. They are also indebted to the Cooley Kickhams GFC for the use of their top class kitchen facility.

As the doors of the market open at 9am, customers will be dazzled as they view the many stalls filled to the brim with twinkling lights, decorations, candles and gifts.  Stalls selling jams, chutneys, free range eggs and holly.  More selling potatoes, logs, handbags and jewellery. A stall will be laden by items handcrafted with care by the Cooley Ladies Shed Group. Their generosity in donating the fruits of their labours to the Birches is warmly welcomed.   For the thrifty housewife there will be an opportunity to snap of the finest of fresh fruit and vegetables thanks to the kindness of Fyffes Ltd., who are sponsoring a stall at the market.

The Cooley Active Retirement Group are also hosting a stall, which guarantees lots of random items at rock bottom prices. For the children there will an opportunity to meet Mrs Claus for tea and a chat in her gaily decorated Christmas themed coffee shop. They can also try their hand at the lucky dip and secure many bargains on the sweet trolley.  

The markets have been running now for eight years.  Born in the middle of the recession, they were very much focused on giving value for money, and offering the finest of home baking at reasonable prices. To this day, that tradition continues.  No reasonable offer is refused, as everything must be sold by the close of the market at 1 pm. Support has come from all over Ireland – Daniel O’Donnell has donated his jacket for Auction, the Three Amigos and The Hotel Kilmore in Cavan have provided the first prize in the raffle.     

The markets have become a huge community event, with a cheerful atmosphere which is very evident in the hall on the day of the market. Visitors to the hall may not realise that something pretty special is happening in the community hall. Underneath the twinkly lights and tinsel, hiding behind the smiling faces is a tightly knit community who are reaching out and helping their neighbours and friends living with Dementia.  

In lots of discreet ways, those helping hands are being extended.  Sometimes they come in the form of a lady baking bread for the market.  Quietly in her own way, she is reaching out to her neighbour with dementia.   Other helping hands come in the kindness of a person to hand over a lamp or tea set for the market.   

Joined together, these many helping hands ensure that families who are struggling to care for a loved one with Dementia will have a source of comfort, support and knowledge throughout the journey of Dementia under the care of The Birches. Funds raised through the markets travel the short journey up the road to the Community House in Rath Abbey, Grange Carlingford.


Each Monday staff from the Birches travel to Cooley to provide a Day Care Facility for those whose lives are touched by Dementia.  The deep appreciation for this fantastic service in Cooley is truly reflected in the success of the market and the funding it generates.  To donate an item to the market, Tel Anne 086 3938289

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