The curious tale of the Ferris Wheel that made its way from the movie ‘Grease’ to the people of Dún Laoghaire
Dún Laoghaire is all set to be ‘electrifying’ this Christmas as a most iconic Ferris Wheel takes centre stage at the annual Christmas Festival presented by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. A 55 ft Ferris Wheel built in 1958 in Jacksonville in the USA and reported to have featured in the original ‘Grease’ movie has made an epic journey from Cincinatti to New York to Liverpool to Dún Laoghaire. The iconic Ferris Wheel, built by the famed Ely Bridge Company, will provide spectacular views of the Dún Laoghaire Harbour this Christmas with a touch of nostalgia, a hint of romance, and a whole lot of ‘Greased Lightning!’
The Ferris Wheel will be placed at Moran Park beside dlr LexIcon from November 24th to January 2nd to afford the very best views of the harbour. It will be surrounded by a Vintage Carnival, Santa’s Post Box and a charming Christmas market with a traditional and nostalgic theme bringing the magic of Christmas and a winter wonderland for the festive season.
The Dún Laoghaire Christmas market is a feast for the seasonal senses as carefully selected vendors sell authentic hand-made gifts and delicious treats every weekend from November 24th to December 23rd on the Metals and opposite dlr LexIcon from 11am to 7pm. Aromas of gourmet sausages, Hungarian Beef Goulash Soup and Lángos, German Gluhwein and steaming hot chocolate will fill the air as you wander through the Christmas Market with hand-crafted gifts and decorations, jewellery, metal art, sculpture and a whole host of very special quality gifts and treats that are not mass-produced but hand crafted with love.
Dún Laoghaire Town Centre has over 280 retail outlets and businesses so why not swap city centre crowds and stuffed out-of-town shopping centres to browse, shop, relax and soak up the festive spirit of this magical seaside town. During the Christmas Festival with every hour of parking purchased on street in the Dún Laoghaire town centre, one hour is free. Extra trading hours and exclusive in-store promotions add some extra Festive Cheer. The Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival is proudly hosted by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in conjunction with the Dún Laoghaire Business Improvement District.
- 2018 is actually the 40th anniversary of the movie Grease and even now 40 years later, the feel-good buzz is exactly what the actors felt while they were making the movie.
- The carnival scene was shot in the summer of 1977, toward the end of filming, at the football field of John Marshall High School. The cast had been rehearsing the final number for weeks, but didn’t realize until they arrived on set that producer Allan Carr had rented an actual, fully-operational carnival
- The Eli Bridge Company were originally summoned to build bridges in the US for the second world war. While they were waiting for the contracts to build the bridges, they built their first Ferris Wheel and went on to become the world’s leading manufacturer of Ferris Wheels
- The original owner of the Ferris Wheel, which will appear in Dún Laoghaire this Christmas, was a Mr Tom Head, Cincinnati Ohio. The 6ft 8” pro basketball player bought the Ferris Wheel on a whim from the company that originally rented it to the film makers of Grease for the iconic fairground scene.
- Trevor Cullen, a musician with ‘Paris Underground’ and ‘Usual Suspects’ who jammed recently with U2’s Larry Mullen, is now the proud owner of the Ferris Wheel. Cullen searched all over America for a Ferris Wheel to compliment his ‘Vintage Carousel Company.’ He started in New York and then down to Nashville. The friend he stayed with in Nashville actually went to school in ‘John Marshall High School’ which was the actual set for ‘Rydell High’ in the movie Grease. A whole other ‘curious tale’
- Cullen viewed 5 Ferris Wheels in 5 States in America but when he met the eccentric and charismatic Tom Head, the two became kindred spirits. Tom Head has made numerous trips to Ireland since he sold his beloved Ferris Wheel and mentioned a dream to live out his days in Ireland.