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Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
That time of year

It is the season: Here are the Christmassy events happening around the country this weekend

The Christmas cheer is being spread early across Ireland this year.

WHILE THE LIGHTS may have turned on already in Dublin and Cork – although not without a hitch as seen on Grafton Street in the capital - there’s plenty of Christmas events to sink your teeth into this weekend across the country.

With Christmas lights in Smithfield and O’Connell Street set to be turned on next week in Dublin, it is Limerick and Belfast who’ll be flicking the switches this weekend.

Limerick will light up tomorrow, with a wide array of Christmas festivities kicking off outside Brown Thomas on O’Connell Street from 4.30pm, where Santa himself is rumoured to be making an appearance.

Set to turn on the lights is 3-year-old Neil Shanahan, who survived a fall from a six-storey balcony earlier in the year in the city.

Meanwhile, the Belfast lights are set to turn on this evening, to coincide with the opening of the city’s Continental Market at midday today.

19/11/2014. Belfast Christmas Markets Scenes Belfast Christmas Market in 2014 Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Get in the spirit

In Dublin, ballet fans are in for a treat as the Nutcracker is performed at the Gaeity Theatre this evening.

Performed by Ballet Ireland, the show promises to “take audiences on a wondrous adventure full of quintessential Christmas magic”.

For the older ones among us, a pop-up Alice in Winter Wonderland-themed party atop the Morgan Hotel tonight, kicking off from 8pm. For those willing to brave the cold, the night promises chestnuts roasting on an open fire and music till late.

Out west in Galway, its Continental Christmas Market kicked off yesterday from Eyre Square to the Spanish Arch.

50 wooden chalets feature, alongside Santa’s Grotto and a German bierkeller. Expect music, food, drink and amusements aplenty until late December.

Next week, Waterford will join the party with its Winterval Festival, which attracted over 500,000 vistors last year and promises to be bigger than ever.

As well as having its own Christmas market, the Winterval Express Train and vintage ferris wheel will keep the crowds enthralled.

With more and more events due to happen across the country in the next few weeks, the festive season is well and truly underway.

Read: A pub in Dublin is hosting a Friends quiz to raise money for a homeless Christmas party

Read: What makes Christmas special to people in Ireland?

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