19 Nov 2021
Wrap up the perfect Christmas with a trip to one of the fabulous Christmas markets, seasonal events and winter festivals in Ireland’s Ancient East.
The sights and smells of a Christmas market are one of the best things about the festive season on the island of Ireland. Twinkling stalls, mouth-watering aromas, artisan crafts and delicious delicacies are complemented by great fun and a world of Christmassy magic.
Ireland’s Ancient East is always a hotbed of festive activity in November and December, so make sure to check out Wicklow Christmas Market in Wicklow town (27 November – 21 December). As well as offering trips on the Santa Express to visit Santa and see the mischievous elves, it will have activities and entertainment for everyone, an eco-ice-skating rink, culinary delights from around the world and superb local arts and crafts.
Or you can head to the brand new Christmas market in Cork city, kicking off on 19 November. Mardyke Christmas Market will house a selection of food trucks, a Santa sleigh mobile and live music, including carol singers and choirs who will perform a range of choral and Christmas tunes.
Also in Cork, Nano Nagle Place, a restored walled convent with beautiful hidden gardens, is running three festive Christmas markets. On 5 December there will be a charity-community market, on 12 December there will be a food market and the 19 December event will feature craft and design.
Ireland’s Ancient East is also chockfull of Christmas festivals and events this year. Soak up the carnival atmosphere, lights and festive cheer at the huge Winterval festival, which takes place at various venues across Waterford city from 19 – 23 December. Billed as Ireland’s Christmas capital, expect a non-stop world of celebration, delicious food and creative craft markets, not-to-be-missed family attractions and live performances – all at the heart of Ireland’s oldest city.
Christmas Market, Galway City
The Christmas magic will be descending on Wexford town too as Wexford Winterland (21 November – 3 January 2022) bursts with festive fun. Head down to the quay and soak up the seasonal atmosphere and take to the ice on one of Ireland’s biggest ice rinks. Children can enjoy Santa’s North Pole Experience, while Mrs Claus will help them prepare a special treat for Rudolph that will keep the reindeers happy on Christmas Eve.
Glow Cork has been reimagined for 2021 and the festival will feature a lights display around the city and magical window installations exploring popular pantomime titles. Don’t miss the Big Wheel, a Christmas favourite which will still be revolving on Cork’s Grand Parade.
The city of Kilkenny will also be throbbing with festive cheer. Set against magical lightshows, Yulefest will dazzle in this wonderful medieval city from 27 November. Stroll through the streets and immerse yourself in the Christmas atmosphere as you visit the artisan food and craft markets for tasty treats and special gifts.
For different winter in Ireland experience, how about taking on an Alpine Skate Trail through the woodlands of Fota House, an architectural masterpiece in County Cork?
This brand new skating experience, the first of its kind in Ireland, is offering a festive outing like no other on a 450m circuit that winds through the trees in a figure of eight. The forest setting will be especially enchanting when it is illuminated at night.
The Alpine Skate Trail opens on 12 November and runs right through until 23 January 2022. If you are heading through Dublin to explore Ireland’s Ancient East, don’t forget the Christmas market scene in the city is also special one for travellers and locals like, whether it’s Christmas pop-ups at the likes of the Guinness Storehouse or the range of full-on markets around the city and its suburbs.
One of the best is the boutique Christmas at the Castle market held at the historic Dublin Castle (8 – 21 December), which will offer a packed program filled with high-quality Irish crafts, art, food and drink.
Winterval Family Train
Christmas Family Photo
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