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Liam lights up southside with display that's raised €50,000

Christmas came early for residents and rugby fans in Sandymount in Dublin when Liam Tilly switched on his extraordinary festive lights.

Irish fans felt Jonny Sexton and his teammates gave them an early Christmas present with a win over South Africa. And large numbers of fans coming from the Aviva Stadium stopped to admire the spectacular Christmas display glowing brightly in Liam's front garden on nearby Bath Avenue.

"I decided to switch on the lights for the match. I get a great response every year from rugby fans," said Mr Tilly (79).

"I'll switch them on every weekend this month for the rugby matches," he said.

Each year, the father-of-six raises thousands of euro for charity with his festive lights display and says rugby fans are his most generous supporters. An official switch-on ceremony will happen on November 29. And this year The Bath Pub will sponsor his electricity bill.

"It takes me three weeks to put up the display but it gives me a great buzz every year. Before I retired, I worked as an electrican's helper in the ESB so I picked up a few tips," said Mr Tilly.

For the past five years, all donations are given to Our Lady's Hospice in Harold's Cross.

"The hospice people told me I've handed over around €50,000 to them over the years. People come from far and near to see the display," he said.

He loves to see the delight of children who come to his front garden each Christmas, including the happiness of his own 13 grandchildren.