27 Sep 2017

Plan a trip to Ireland’s cracking Christmas markets

Get into the festive spirit with a visit to one of Ireland’s many magical Christmas markets.

Christmas markets in Ireland pop up everywhere, from the sublime surroundings of the Archbishop’s Palace in Armagh to a twelfth-century crypt in Dublin.
What they all have in common is an infectiously festive atmosphere, fabulous gifts and deliciously tempting artisan food and drink.  
In Belfast, the grounds of the imposing City Hall will be bursting at the seams from 18 November–23 December, when the award-winning Continental Market arrives. Stalls heaving with local produce and European fare attract thousands of shoppers and gourmands every year, creating the city’s biggest festive buzz.  
At the other end of the island, Viking Waterford’s wonderful Winterval Festival will return (17 November–23 December) with its unique blend of Yuletide entertainment and a fantastic food market at its heart.
Cork’s Grand Parade is transformed into a hiving Christmas market during the city’s Glow festival in December while the city’s famous English Market, just across the road, outdoes itself with the finest Christmas delicacies like spiced beef and smoked salmon.
In Dublin, George’s St Arcade, an enclosed Victorian market, takes on a Christmas sparkle during the festive season. With an extensive range of unique jewellery, collectables and clothes as well as excellent epicurean delights, it’s the perfect place to pick up that special present.
The city also boasts possibly the most unusual Christmas market on the island, which takes place in the crypt of medieval Christ Church Cathedral, a stunning and atmospheric location in which to seek out the perfect gift or treat.
In the west, Galway (17 November–22 December) and Limerick (15–24 December) both stage cracking Christmas markets replete with festive entertainment.
Set around Eyre Square, Galway’s is Ireland’s longest running and biggest Christmas market,
while Limerick’s takes place in the historic Milk Market building.  
Northern Ireland’s famous walled city, Derry~Londonderry, will stage its Christmas market on 15 December in Guildhall Square, where the very best of artisan traders will offer speciality foods and handmade craft products.
And in Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital, Armagh, the popular annual Georgian Festival will run from 24–26 November in the beautiful surrounds of the eighteenth-century Archbishop’s Palace, with festive market stalls hosted by traders in traditional costume.
Christmas markets are a definite festive to do and Ireland offers some of the best. Get cracking.