Christmas Festivals in Ireland!

Wherever you are in the country, there’s a merry trail nearby to bring you to a host of festive treats and feasts all BURSTING with the culture, taste and spirit of the season.

Cities and towns across Ireland are all dressed up for Christmas!

Many of these events are free, others require an entry fee but all are a haven of colourful Christmas cheer.

So, give yourself a break from the shopping, turn off the telly and get your jingle on with the inspiring and exciting line-up of gatherings, activities and entertainment on offer for Christmas in Ireland.

Remember to check out the Christmas Markets page too for dates and details of those!

Waterford Winterval

Waterford Winterval Logo

Where: All Over Waterford
When: November 25th to December 23rd 2016.
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Described as Ireland’s Christmas festival, Waterford Winterval goes all out to bring you the sights, sounds and magic of the season. It’s the 5th year of the festival and it’s the biggest one yet, with a vast and varied mix of events for all ages and interests.

Seek out Santa in his Grotto at the Medieval Museum and get creative at the Christmas Sewing Workshop or Frosty’s Creation Station. You could pay a visit to the Elves Workshop or try your hand at archery! Kids can enjoy storytelling or a spin on the horse drawn sleigh, while everyone can experience the delights of a Polish Christmas or a slip and slide around Waterford on Ice!

Be sure to check the programme on as some events run only for a limited time or on selected dates.

Dublin At Christmas

Dublin At Christmas Logo
Where: All Across Dublin
When: To December 31st
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There’s a sleighful of festive activities and colourful gatherings in store for Dublin dwellers and visitors alike this year. Whatever your idea of Christmas, there are good tidings sprinkled all over the city for you and your Christmas crew to enjoy. Dublin At Christmas puts the city centre at the heart of the action with a merry mix of daytime fun for the kids and evening entertainment for the grown ups.

Santa can be found all over the city from Arnotts on the Northside to St. Stephen’s Green on the south of the city. You’ll find your Christmas spirit with a wander down Henry Street, where the Arnotts Festive Flavours Market awaits with the aromas and tastes of the season, from a Tayto Crispmas sandwich to delicious Hot Chocolate, Cupcakes, Artisan food and seasonal hampers. The newly renovated Moving Crib at St Martin Apostolate in Parnell Square has been a mainstay for generations and tells many stories from the bible, including that of the first Christmas, through almost 100 moving figures and scenes. Well worth a look, and it’s free!

There are Christmas Carol concerts by day and by night, with choirs performing at all of the city’s Cathedrals and outdoors in the candlelit surrounds of Merrion Square Park. A Winter Solstice celebration festival takes place in Smithfield Square on December 21st, with storytelling, craft making and colourful parade. Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale The Snow Queen is being performed at the Smock Alley Theatre, or you can air guitar around the Christmas tree at the Irish Rock ‘n Roll Museum.

New events are popping up all the time so keep an eye on the Dublin At Christmas website for details.

Glow – A Cork Christmas Celebration

Glow Cork LogoWhere: Cork City
When: November 25th to December 18th 2016
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Cork holds the title as the city with the most individually owned shops in the country! So if you’re looking for something really quirky or unique, you know where to glow. I mean go!

There’s a string of festive offerings to be found at Glow Cork all aiming to fill the season with fun for friends and families alike. Every weekend between now and December 18th, you can feast your eyes on the delicious offerings at the Festival Food Market on the Grand Parade, or catch a bird’s eye view of the city from a 30 Metre high Ferris Wheel. You can take the kids on a mythical journey to the captivating winter wonderland of Narnia, brought to life in Bishop Lucey Park or take yourself to a show at the Cork Opera House or Arts Theatre!

Visit the Glow Cork website for times and availability before heading out to soak up the festivities.

Christmas in Carlow

Christmas in Carlow LogoWhere: Across Carlow
When: From November 26th
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Carlow is home to a number of unique indoor and outdoor venues which have all been decked out for a super festive experience this year. From the magical “Letter to Santa” experience at Huntington Castle to the renowned Rathwood Santa Train in Tullow and the spectacular sights and sounds at Rancho Reilly’s pet farm, there’s no shortage of happenings to keep the diary full!

Kids can visit the man of the moment in several locations – how DOES he do that! Meanwhile every Saturday the Carlow Farmers Market will be in full swing with a great selection of locally grown produce and the finest home baked goodness to keep you warm as you do battle with the cold days outside.

The Arboretum Christmas Village is open every day as is the Delta Centre Christmas Fair in Strawhall Estate. Carlow Central library is hosting a series of events such as storytelling and an art exhibition, with a number of Carol services and concerts planned in venues throughout the county. There’s lots more one-off events, music and theatre performances taking place so check out the Christmas in Carlow website for all of the dates and details.

Greetings From Galway

Galway Christmas LogoWhere: Galway City & County
When: Throughout December
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The Capital of Culture for 2020, Galway has a lot up its sleeve to help fill your festive calendar this year. The Galway Christmas Market has again transformed Eyre Square into a welcoming wintry haven of seasonally scrumptious food, unique gifts and crafts and for the first time, a giant Ferris Wheel to take you high above the city of the tribes. The streets too are buzzing with a mix of music, entertainment and yuletide offerings with the Latin Quarter’s Christmas Ceiling of Light an absolute must-see.

Santa and his helpers are popping up all over the city and county including the Burren Nature Sanctuary, Loughwell Farm Park and Brigit’s Garden. These immersive interactive experiences bring the magic of Santa (and sometimes his reindeer) to life in a variety of captivating settings with hot chocolate drinking and tasty treat munching for adults and children alike.

In the city centre, Santa and his helpers are never short of time for visitors to Elf Town. Kids will get a very special look at the tapping, packing and wrapping going on deep inside the Toy Workshop, take a magical journey through Elf Grove, stop by Mission Control and can even say hi to Santa in his grotto!

Whatever the weather, a trip to Galway Skates at Leisureland in Salthill will definitely awaken everyone’s Christmas spirit. And if you’re planning a night out or a visit with friends, there are comedy nights, live music and theatre performances a plenty to keep the party going! Check the “This is Galway” website for a full listing of events.

Christmas in Limerick

Christmas in Limerick LogoWhere: Throughout Limerick
When: During December
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There’s a Yuletide guide packed full of festive temptations for the Christmas cheer seeker in Limerick this year. Whether it’s a selfie with Santa or a stroll around a market, get caught up in the atmosphere at one of the many one-off and regular events taking place both before and after the big day itself.

You won’t be stuck for things to do at The Milk Market with ten days of Christmas themed food, fashion and one-of-a-find items at the twilight market. While the Santa Experience at the Jetland Shopping Centre, Christmas Experience in King John’s Castle, and Santa at the Parkway and Stonehall Visitor Farm will have the kids more than happy campers.

The Hunt Museum is alive with a series of family, arts and cultural events, as is Dolan’s Pub, the LIT Millennium Theatre, St. Mary’s Cathedral and many other smaller venues. You’ll find ideas and inspiration for your next Christmas gathering at one of the cooking, crafts and baking demos, or find your voice and join in the chorus at one of the Christmas Carol Concerts. For a colourful and festively lit view of Limerick at night, climb aboard the Enchanted Christmas Carriage or if music is your thing, head along to see Little Green Cars, Paddy Casey and Hermitage Green. Go to the website for a full list of what’s on.

Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival

Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival Logo

Where: Dun Laoghiare Town
When: Until January 8th 2017
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A lot of us like to spend time by the fire at Christmas, but how about wrapping up warm and spending some time by the sea! The Christmas lights on the streets are brightly shining and the festivities are in full swing down in Dun Laoghaire town. The market has returned to the Metals and is open from 11 to 7 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a super selection of handcrafted gifts, decorations and seasonal foodie goodness.

A new addition this year is the Ice Rink at the DLR Lexicon Garden, which will be a big hit with families and friends of all ages. The traditional crib at St Michael’s Church is in place, the Lexicon Library and Pavillion are hosting a number of workshops and events, including free screenings of Christmas films like Home Alone 2 and The Polar Express.

Santa is in residence at the shopping centre every Friday to Sunday right up until Christmas Eve and if that doesn’t have the kids worn out, a spin on the old-time carousel at the funfair is sure to do the trick! There are carol services and seasonal musical performances planned for throughout the duration of the festival so be sure to check the DLR website for the latest going’s on.