There was a fabulously festive feeling in Jackson's Hotel Ballybofey last night, as hundreds of ladies dressed in glitzy party wear stepped out to support two great causes.

The Ladies Christmas Night Out hosted by Patton Frozen Foods and The Igloo featured Christmas markets, fashion shows and a food demonstration by Rachel Allen.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Local businesses lined the room with beautifully decorated stalls showcasing unique handmade crafts, delicious artisan foods and creative gift ideas like books, clothing and even botox. All the guests were out last night to support the Donegal Hospice and The Caolan Melaugh Fund, and at the same time they supported all the sellers at these bustling Christmas Markets.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Prosecco and mulled wine were free-flowing throughout the night, and party treats and canapes kept the festive theme going strong.

Paddy McMenamin was compere for the night, bringing a touch of Donegal humour to the glamorous occasion. Chef Rachel Allen provided a deluxe cookery demonstration, impressing everyone by making an entire Christmas Dinner within three hours.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rachel rustled up celeriac soup and turkey crown with many delicious touches. She designed a mouth-watering dessert of chocolate mousse, salted caramel sauce with honeycomb and festive biscuits with boiled sweets.

Rachel’s assistant, cooking teacher Florrie Cullinane, became the unlikely star of the show, who worked quietly alongside Rachel as she provided useful tips and tricks for preparing a top-class Christmas dinner. There was a raffle on the night for some wonderful prizes, and many ladies (including presenter Paddy) hoped to win Florrie as an assistant for a day! We can rest assured that Florrie will be returning to Donegal soon, as she won a voucher for McElhinneys of Ballybofey in the raffle.

Speaking to Donegal Woman after the event, Rachel said, “It was fantastic. It was so much. It was just such a lovely festive atmosphere. Paddy was of course hilarious. But really, it was for two such good causes as well, which just brings it all home. I’ve been up in Donegal quite a bit recently and I loved it. I really love it up here.”

Four fabulous fashion shows from Chiq Maternity, The Gray Room, Pure Boutique, Verve Donegal Town provided many Christmas party ideas and highlighted the unique stock of some of Donegal’s most popular boutiques.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Around 500 women turned out for the excellent cause, and organiser Louise Patton and compere Paddy McMenamin were delighted to see so many supportive women having a good time.

Louise Patton and Paddy McMenamin

Louise Patton and Paddy McMenamin

Caolan Melaugh will be turning two this weekend. Caolan and his family were unable to be there on the night but they were very much in everyone’s thoughts. Caolan Melaugh is undergoing high intensity treatment for cancer, and was diagnosed with childhood cancer neuroblastoma at just a few weeks old.

“Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way but we’re fighting back and we’re resilient,” Paddy said.

Well done to everyone for coming together for a wonderful charity Christmas celebration.

If you have an upcoming event, let us know on