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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

So what’s happening in WATERFORD and KILKENNY in the run-up to Christmas?

We’ll be taking a look at all the shopping, entertainment, and (of course) parking arrangements in Ireland’s cities over the next few weekends. This week, we’re on the banks of the Suir and the Nore.

IT’S FINALLY HERE.  The 1st of December 2013.

It’s now a little bit more socially acceptable to stop holding in that Christmas spirit we’ve been hiding for the entire month of November.

We can start panicking about sorting out a tree for December the 8th, as well as thinking about doing some shopping.

It also marks the beginning of a number of Christmas festivals and events around Ireland, and we’ve looked at what’s going on in Kilkenny* and Waterford to help you pick what to do if you’re thinking of making a trip to either of the two cities.

Winterval. Winterval. Winterval. Winterval.

Winterval. It encompasses essentially everything Christmasy that is happening in Waterford — and there’s an awful lot going on.

The events on offer range from a 3D light and sound show, a chance to pet a reindeer and other assorted animals, a look at what Christmas was like in Georgian times, to a Christmas market throughout the city centre.

A lot of the events are free and run from this weekend until the end of December. You can see the full list here.

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The Winterval light show. (Image Credit: Winterval)

12 noms a nomming

We’re used to all the usual Christmas dishes, but this event is a chance to try something a little different.

Staring from next weekend, a number of Waterford’s best chefs will be presenting a cookery demonstration of twelve different “Winterval inspired” dishes every Saturday and Sunday evening.

And don’t worry, there will be enough for everyone to have a little bite.

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Gimme some of THAT, and a little bit of whatever THAT is… (Image Credit: Dagny Mol via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Have a go on the Christmas Carousel

The fairly substantial carousel which has taken up residence in John Roberts Square has been a feature of Christmas in Waterford for the past few years.

You can unwind after a hard day’s shopping with a relaxing spin on a plastic horse.

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(Image Credit: Tony Quilty Photography)

A Very Kilkenny Christmas

This is one of Kilkenny’s first Christmas festivals, and is aimed at enhancing some yearly traditions in this city.

The usual parade outside Kilkenny Castle has now been renamed the Polar Parade, consisting of some Reindeer Rodeo, a giant Snow Globe, and even Ireland’s first Wipe Out challenge.

The retail streets of the city are also encouraged to dress up their windows for the festival, with “piped music” being played in the city centre. And who doesn’t love some piped music?

You can find more information here.

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(Image Credit: Pat Moore Photography)

Two Christmas villages just outside of the city

A visit to Castlecomer Discovery Park will involve, among other activities, a meet and greet Rudolph Junior, a one-year-old reindeer, and test out the sleigh bells to make sure everything’s ready ahead of the big night this month, or visit the Claus household.

There’s also an extra of a train journey through woodland while singing carols.

Here are directions to Castlecomer, which is located roughly twenty minutes north of Kilkenny city.

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Twenty minutes in the opposite direction is Mount Juilet’s Santa Village.

It also features a train journey through a forest, and has various food and gift stalls. You’ll also get a chance to gawk at Santa’s grotto.

Here are directions to Mount Juliet.

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Like ice skating, but with slides and trampolines

Kinda. Kilkenny on Ice features 600 square metres of real ice, with a team of specially trained team skaters on hand to assist anyone who might need a little help.

Parents who aren’t crazy on the whole idea of skating can take a break at the Ice Café, and for children there’s an ice slide and bungee trampolines.

But where can I park the car?

I’m glad you asked. In Waterford, your first port of call should be the many spaces

along the quays. After there, spaces are available in the City Square or Railway Square Centre car park. Other extra car parks could open up later this month. In Kilkenny, head to Q-Park on Ormonde Street.

* Before you say it, we’ve accepted that Kilkenny is a city for the time being. Why? Because it’s Christmas.

Read: Here’s what’s happening in Dublin >

More: Here’s what’s happening in Cork >

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