What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to attend a Christmas market? Every year, many of us make the journey to Germany or Prague for a short break to experience the smells and delights of all things Christmas. But we also have our own right on our doorstep. Here we’ll show you five of Ireland’s best Christmas markets, the perfect excuse to combine with a weekend break.
From November 23rd, Waterford City transforms into a magical winter wonderland packed with lots of fun events for everyone to enjoy. Throughout Winterval, the city comes to life with Christmas markets, Santa’s Grotto, Ice Skating, Outdoor Cinema showing classic Christmas movies, Craft Fair, the Waterford Eye, a spectacular Light Show, Winterval Illuminates, and much, much more!
Located in Cathedral and Arundel Squares, the Christmas Markets are full of amazing food and great present ideas. As you stroll around the stalls you can listen to music from the festive Christmas choirs.
For a full list of events and times, check out the Winterval website. With so much going on, it’s the perfect time to visit Ireland’s oldest city.
For a magical Christmas experience, head to the beautiful Christmas Market at City Hall Belfast. Dotted with little wooden chalets serving wonderful food ranging from Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, exotic burgers, giant bratwursts and much more, you will be spoilt for choice. Fantastic quality produce from local artisan food and craft producers along with handmade goods is also on offer, ideal for Christmas presents.
For the kids, visit Santa in his festive grotto and take a ride on the vintage carousel or a slide down the Helter Skelter. For the adults, welcoming festive bars offer a warm place to enjoy a selection of drinks including Glühwein, mulled cider, hot chocolate and an excellent variety of continental beers.
This market runs every day from Saturday 16th November until Sunday 22nd December.
Wicklow Christmas Market is set within the enchanting Abbey Grounds in the Town Centre and is packed full of exciting stalls to put you in the Christmas mood. The market offers everything from fine food, beverages and artisan crafts, the perfect place to buy some decorations or a gift for a loved one.
Highlights of the market include puppet shows, a funfair, the unique Alpaca experience, Gingerbread decorating workshops and live entertainment. Take a ride on the Santa Express driven by one of Santa’s favourite elves. He’ll take you to Santa’s wonderland workshops where his most creative elves will show you how to make some of your own magical gifts and Mrs Claus will read one of her favourite Christmas tales too!
The market runs every weekend throughout December starting on the 23rd November and opens from 12-6pm.
Cork City’s Grand Parade and Bishop Lucey Park play host again this year to Glow, a Cork Christmas Celebration. From Friday 29th November and on selected dates until the Sunday 22nd December, the city comes alive with a festive market, carousel and giant Ferris wheel on the Grand Parade, where you can soar high above Cork and enjoy amazing views of the city. Visit Bishop Lucey Park, which magically transforms into the National Elf Test (NET), which all elves must pass to be part of the Christmas team. On entering the park, children and their families will be greeted by the elf puppet receptionist who will direct them to see some of the challenges and tests that all elves must go through to make sure they are ready to be chosen by Santa for the big jobs especially on Christmas Eve! Each day, local choirs, school groups and bands will add to the festive atmosphere as you stroll by the Christmas tree with their renditions of Christmas favourites. Check out the GLOW website for more details.
The Christmas Market Galway will take place this year from November 15th to December 22nd in Eyre Square in the heart of Galway City, as it is transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland. The highlights include the Apres Ski Bar, a 32m high Ferris Wheel, and other amusements along with live music performances, puppet shows and carol singing. Take the little ones to see Santa in his Grotto which is being run this year by the Galway branch of ISPCC and Enable Ireland. Christmas gifts and stocking fillers available include wooden toys and jigsaws, ceramics, glassware, candles, jewellery, knitwear, rugs, art, soap and much more. Feast on a wide choice of artisan treats from Czech chimney cakes, classic French crepes, Gluhwein, donuts and Irish fudge. On chilly days, try a traditional German Beer or a warming cup of Mulled Wine.
The market opens from 12pm-8pm Monday to Wednesday and 10am to 10pm Thursday to Sunday. Entrance is free.