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City comes alive with ghouls and goblins for fright night

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Sophie Irwin, age 7, at the Ballymun Otherworld Festival at the Ballymun Plaza in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Sophie Irwin, age 7, at the Ballymun Otherworld Festival at the Ballymun Plaza in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Joanne Fetherson, The Andy Morgan Foundation at the Ballymun Otherworld Festival at the Ballymun Plaza in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Joanne Fetherson, The Andy Morgan Foundation at the Ballymun Otherworld Festival at the Ballymun Plaza in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Sophie Irwin, age 7, at the Ballymun Otherworld Festival at the Ballymun Plaza in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Halloween night proved to be mostly good clean fun after Dublin Fire Brigade launched a major campaign to keep the city safe in the lead up to October 31.

By 9.30pm last night crews had responded to 260 calls for out-of-control bonfires and this was compared to 500 fire-related call-outs on the same night last year.

A major fire broke out at 9.45pm at a factory unit in Swords with smoke filling up a flight path at Dublin Airport.

Large volumes of smoke pumped out into the sky with three pumps arriving at the scene immediately and a water tanker and a foam unit were later sent out.

Two engines attended a bonfire earlier in the day in Smithfield at 4pm that had been constructed very close to a number of residential gardens.

Stockpiled

During the week Dublin City Council carried out dozens of raids on secret locations where tyres and wood pallets were being stockpiled for bonfires around the capital.

And to pre-empt any danger the fire brigade had crews out patrolling housing estates to catch any incidents before they spiralled out of control.

Last night a spokesman for An Garda Siochana said he had never seen a "quieter night" and Dublin Fire Brigade said that while they were busy - it was just a normal Halloween night for them.

Even though the rain didn't stay away, the fire brigade said they attended a "spate of grass and hedge fires in Lucan, Ballymun and Finglas."

And in Dublin 10, an all-weather soccer pitch caught fire with an engine from Dolphin's Barn sent out to control the blaze.

The fire brigade also stated that there were bonfires "across the city in almost every area".

A major bonfire on Feltrim Road near the quarry had engines busy from 7.30pm last night with rubbish and building material being burned.

And St James's Hospital urged people to watch out for sparklers because of the temperatures they can reach.

The hospital said that the popular Halloween items get up to almost 640 degrees Celsius and compared their heat to the temperature that glass melts at - 480 degrees Celsius.

"Offering a safe environment for people to celebrate Halloween and stopping illegal bonfires has played a big part in reducing the damage Halloween has traditionally caused," said Hugh Coughlan from Dublin City Council.

Last year 1,000 tyres and 800 tonnes of bonfire material were seized and members of the public were this year encouraged to report any stockpiling by tweeting locations and photographs with the hash-tag #dubsafehalloween.

To make up for any fun that might have been lost out on by clamping down on illegal bonfires the city came alive last night with festivals, dances and fireworks.

The Otherworld Festival in Ballymum went down a treat with hundreds of people, young and old, turning out dressed head to toe in scary attire.

Emma Murphy (11) made her best funny face as a clown for the big parade in Ballymun while Joanne Fetherson (left) struck a pose as a gothic ghoul.

Ella Fitzpatrick (8) led a parade of scarecrows as she marched ahead beating a badhran and Sophie Irwin (7) scared revellers with her corpse bride costume and full face of make-up.

To finish off the night a spectacular display of pyrotechnics took place over Plunkett Tower - the last remaining block in Ballymun. Other major events were held in Inchicore, Finglas and Ringsend and all were free.

hnews@herald.ie

jfegan@herald.ie


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