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Bit early, isn't it? First Christmas tree is put up

IT'S July in Ireland -- cue unpredictable weather, wintery clothes and ... a Christmas tree?

The massive downpours earlier this week may have felt like we had been transported into the beginning of December.

But few expected festive decorations to be already in place.

Dubliners were perplexed to see a fully lit, fully decorated Christmas tree in Ranelagh.

There are only 168 days until Christmas, but fear not -- the festivities haven't come five months too early.

'Tis the season too be jolly, but this decoration including a tree with lights was simply part of an ad campaign for a major newsagent group in Ireland.

Suzanne Weldon, marketing direction at Spar said that the actors and producers were possibly the only people in Ireland thankful for the damp and December-like weather.

"Lots of people were surprised when they saw a Christmas tree in Ranelagh," she said.

"We were shooting a Spar Christmas TV ad.

"The days we were shooting were actually perfect for the ad -- so we were lucky in that respect.

"The weather has been so bad that I think people were a little bit down."

Customers are shown in full wool winter coats in the shop, getting hot drinks to keep warm.

But the ad was not too far from reality with the sodden background.

clairemurphy@herald.ie