Christmas markets are a wonderful way to prepare for the festivities of The Twelve Days of Christmas, or Christmas in Ireland. Christmas for Irish Catholics launch on Christmas Eve and come to an end on January 6.
Although Christmas is a religious holiday for many, Irish Christmas markets give one the opportunity to immerse themselves in the festivities of the season by participating in traditions, purchasing artisan gifts for your loved ones and most importantly, sharing a market experience with the most prized people in your life.
We’ve found six Christmas Markets throughout Ireland that offer some of the most festive opportunities to participate in some seasonal spirit as you sip sweet mulled wine and visit holiday booths around Ireland. Even if you don’t buy anything, seeing all the lights at night is an experience in itself.
Waterford Winterval (Now- Dec. 23)
The third annual Winterval festival offers over 30 attractions, including 18 free events. Ireland’s oldest city will play hostess to 60 traditional log cabins as they offer food, crafts, wooden toys and decorations for the season. Let the kids watch Disney’s Frozen, ride the vintage ferris wheel or visit the penguins at Bishop’s Palace.
Glow: A Cork Christmas Celebration (Now- Dec. 23)
The last week of this market promises to be a good one with food, crafts and a Ferris Wheel that will take you 30-metres above the skyline. The display at Bishop Lucey Park may be the most festive happening at this market with its life-size pop-up storybook of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Live characters and music composed specifically for this pop-up storybook will make the experience complete as you and your children stroll through this piece of winter magic.
Belfast Christmas Market (Now- Dec. 21)
If your house is still looking a bit bare, this is the place to come for Christmas decor to line your walls and any space available. The grounds at Belfast City Hall have again welcomed a small bunch of gazebos and traders to offer you a traditional German style market.
Christmas at the Milk Market (Now- Dec. 24)
The market’s all-weather canopy makes it the perfect location for shopping no matter the weather. Let the carolers bring sweet music to your ears as you shop for artisan stocking stuffers for last minute Christmas gifts.
Christmas in Killarney (Now- Jan 1, 2015)
This year’s Christmas in Killarney is placing a strong emphasis on holiday decor and the transformation of the town of Killarney into a Winter Wonderland. Seven floats will take center stage at the final Christmas in Killarney Parade this Saturday at 6p.m and swimmers will pick out their best costumes for the Killarney Christmas Day Dip at Dundag Beach. Perhaps have some hot refreshments before the dip!
Galway Continental Christmas Market (Now- Dec. 21)
The Galway Continental Christmas Market returns for its fifth year to Eyre Square. The Republic of Ireland’s longest running continuous Christmas market is expected to welcome 650,000 shoppers. An aerial shot of this Christmas Market strongly resembles the North Pole from the popular Polar Express movie.