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Culture Magazine

Best in snow: Kick-off the festive season at Ireland's finest Christmas markets

‘Tis the season to be Christmas shopping: a guide to Ireland’s unmissable festive markets

IT’S BEGINNING TO look a lot like Christmas market season. 

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of the festive season is indulging in the Christmas spirit by simply strolling around festive markets adorned with twinkling lights and fake snow. For many, visiting these Winter wonderlands is a great way to welcome in the most wonderful time of the year. 

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As well as soaking up the atmosphere, Christmas markets are a great way to support local and independent makers. Whether you’re looking for cute stocking fillers or homemade preserves and chocolates to make personalised hampers for the foodie in your life, you’re always guaranteed to find special items made with love by the vendors. 

There’s always something for everyone in the family to enjoy at Christmas markets whether it’s meeting Santa and his diligent elves, taking a spin on a Ferris wheel, sipping on mulled wine, or simply savouring the festive cheer. With so many different things to do at these markets and festivals, you can easily spend a full day perusing the stalls and eating foods that will conjure a plethora of Christmas memories. 

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So, wrap up warm and make sure you bring a Santa-sized sack to carry home all the wonderful treats and gifts that await you at the Christmas markets of Ireland.

There’s an abundance of  Christmas-themed markets and festivals taking place across the country, here are some unmissable ones to visit this festive season.


1. Yule be sorry if you miss out on one of Ireland’s original Christmas markets in the heart of Galway

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What: Returning for its 12th year, the Christmas Market Galway is a great place to find beautiful artisanal pieces that would make the perfect present for someone special. There are over 50 different stalls at the Galway Christmas Market offering a wide range of products – the majority of which are locally made – as well as delicious food and drink vendors to fill you up after a successful day of  Christmas shopping. Plus, there are fun attractions to keep children entertained, as well. 

Where: Eyre Square, Galway City, Co Galway

When: 11 November – 22 December


2. Have an ice time at Winterval, Waterford’s finest Christmas-themed festival

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What: If you’re looking to get into the festive spirit then Winterval is the place to go. One of Ireland’s biggest Christmas-based events, it has everything you would hope to get you into the spirit from ice skating, fairground rides, a Christmas market, live music, storytelling, and Santa Paws where you can bring your beloved pooch to meet Santa Claus. The organisers of Winterval, now in its 10th year, have thought of everyone in the family to ensure a memorable visit. Be sure to plan your trip to Winterval on their website to get the most out of your time there.

Where: The Mall, Waterford, X91 PK15

When: 18 November – 23 December


3. Have a tree-mendous time at the magical Christmas At the Castle in Dublin’s city centre

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What: Nestled in the heart of Dublin’s city centre, at the historic site of Dublin Castle, explore the wonderful Winter wonderland that is Christmas at the Castle. As you peruse the boutique market featuring luxury items such as silk and cashmere scarves, fine art prints and handcrafted jewellery, you can enjoy choirs singing all your favourite festive songs. Visitors to Christmas as the Castle are also granted access to the State Apartments for an added treat. Enjoyed by countless locals and tourists, Christmas at the Castle is a truly magical festive experience.

Where: Dublin Castle, Dame Street, Dublin 2

When: 8 – 23 December 


4. Rebel without a Claus! Glow Cork is a spectacular seasonal delight for all the family 

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What: Glow Cork takes over the city centre with an array of brilliant family-centred events happening over a number of venues. At the Crawford Art Gallery go visit Harry Clarke’s watercolours or ignite your imagination at the Bishop Lucey Park Experience for an extraordinary visual feast. The atmosphere across Glow is infectious, why not take the trip down to the Rebel county and see how they get in the festive spirit. 

Where: Cork City Centre

When: 25 November – 8 January 2023

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