Catch the The Polar Express Experience and find the wonder of Christmas in Clonakilty

Fans of Harry Potter movies and Disney’s Christmas classic ‘The Polar Express’ are in for a real treat this year as the West Cork Model Railway Village, Clonakilty is going full steam ahead with a magical festive transformation, with the help of Santa and his hard-working elves.

L to R Kim McNamara, Manager if West Cork Railway Village, Paul Hayes, Chairperson of Clonakilty Enterprise Board and Orla O’Donovan, Chairperson of Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce. Photo –

The West Cork Model Railway Village will become an enchanting indoor and outdoor walk-through Christmas experience for families, from Saturday, November 27 all the way up to and including Christmas Eve (Friday, December 24).  With the train currently being adorned with lights and filled to the brim with presents for boys and girls in advance of their visits, Mr. Claus and his elves are working hard to ensure that families will have a magical immersive experience in the run-up to Christmas at ‘The Polar Express’.

With 50 per cent of tickets already sold in its inaugural year, Santa’s helpers have sent us exclusive information about what the boys and girls can expect in advance of ‘The Polar Express’ arrival in Clonakilty:

 Upon entry and throughout the experience, families will be fully ‘wrapped up’ in the fairy-tale experience with Christmas Trees and fairy lights aplenty! When boarding ‘The Polar Express’ they will meet Santa’s elves who will teleport families into their world as they then become part of the show.

 Kicking off with the first carriage, where the elves will perform a 15-minute show, families will then move to the second ‘VIP’ carriage to meet the man himself, Santa, who will take time from his hectic pre-Christmas schedule to sit with each family and discuss the important business of this year’s present requests before posing for a photo. (Family photographs with Santa can then be collected from the café as a keepsake for what promises to be an unforgettable experience.) 

As you disembark, each family will be provided with a special interactive UV torch to explore and discover the elves’ living quarters, while helping them in the search of Santa’s reindeer, Dasher, who is a bit scatty and tends to wander off!

 As night falls, families will close out their journey through the enchanted Model Village by exploring the miniature Cork towns by twilight, to make a wish and snap another unforgettable family photo!

 ‘The Polar Express’ will be brought to life by Karl O’Connor, who is a household name in Cork and beyond after constructing and designing themed sets and displays for huge experience events in Cork and Dublin such as The Nightmare Realm and Winter Wonderlands over the years through his company Blue Box Displays, with the help of his team of “imagineers”. Mr O’Connor said the challenge of transforming the village was one he was relishing.

He said: “Events are back with a bang and as we approach Christmas, it is the perfect time of year to give families a well overdue in-person and immersive experience. Having the opportunity to create ‘The Polar Express’ experience is the pinnacle of what we do at Blue Box Displays. We love being imaginative and creating sets and props to provide an experience that people wouldn’t believe is possible. We have always been known for our extravagant displays and the broadness of our design capabilities and ‘The Polar Express’ will be no different and will be a fantastic opportunity to supplement what is already on offer at West Cork Model Railway Village. It’s a pleasure to be able to do this again, and we are very excited to bring a really high-end, quality and interactive experience to the public,” he concluded. 

Adding to Mr. O’Connor’s comments, Kim McNamara, Manager of West Cork Railway Village said: “This is a very exciting time for us, and we are really looking forward to welcoming families from all across Munster and Ireland to West Cork Model Railway Village to have an unforgettable experience at ‘The Polar Express’. We would also like to extend a big thank you to Clonakilty Chamber and Clonakilty Enterprise Board for helping us bring this to fruition. We are in awe of what Karl O’Connor of Blue Box Displays and his team have conceptualised and cannot wait to see it in action from November 27 right up to Christmas Eve.”

As 50 per cent of the tickets (€15 per adult and €22 per child) have already been sold, and to avoid disappointment, families are advised to book now on

WCP Staff

Next Post

Grammy award winning violinist visits Bantry with Irish Chamber Orchestra 

Tue Nov 2 , 2021
Following on from concerts with Thomas Zehetmair and Mezzo Soprano Paula Murrihy in October, the Irish Chamber Orchestra is back on the road touring in November for the first time since 2020. Renowned Grammy Award-winning German Violinist Florian Donderer makes his debut with the Irish Chamber Orchestra for three concerts, one […]