Christmas is one of those times of year that just has something special about it. For many of us Christmas is a time of celebration as we gather with friends and family to exchange gifts, share stories and create memories. With Christmas well and truly on the way, one place to look for gifts, share stories and create some lasting memories is Christmas markets.
From large Christmas markets in city centres to craft fairs in small towns and villages, there really is something for everyone. These markets give visitors the opportunity to sample some great food and also pick up a gift that is a little different from what you may find in the high street. While Christmas markets haven’t always been met with open arms by the traders of most large towns and cities, they create the perfect Christmas shopping environment and really paint that picture of a winter wonderland.
Enhance your festive mood by visiting one of the many Christmas markets in Ireland. Below we take you on a guide of Christmas markets around Ireland and Northern Ireland.
5 Christmas Markets in Ireland
Dublin Christmas markets:
There is so much to see in Dublin this Christmas that it really is worth a visit for the day or even a nice long weekend. One of the main attractions over Christmas is the Docklands Christmas Festival which takes place in Georges Dock in Dublin. Starting on Thursday 12th December and running for 12 days, this festival of music, food, craft stalls and a Santa’s grotto, make this a must visit place over Christmas. With over 100,000 people expected to visit to Docklands festival during the 12 days of Christmas this place really does have a magical look and feel about it.
The Trinity Bar area will also be busy during December with the return of the Christmas Craft Fair from Saturday 7th December to Sunday 22nd December. Artists and craftsmen from near and far come to showcase their work and there are plenty of great gift ideas to pick up at the fair. You can also sample lots of the hot food and beverages available during the day.
Finally, why not make your trip to Dublin a memorable one by visiting the Christmas Wonderland at the RDS arena. The Christmas Wonderland really captures everything that’s great about this time of the year and is the perfect way to finish a family visit to Dublin. With Ireland’s largest ice rink (the iSkate), Funderland, Santa’s Christmas Circus and the RDS Continental Market there is so much to do at the Christmas Wonderland in Dublin this year. Make your trip to Dublin truly memorable by checking out one of the many magical boutique hotels Dublin has to offer and extend your stay to spend New Year’s Eve in Dublin.
Christmas in Killarney:
Christmas has become a bit of a big deal in Killarney in recent years and much of this is thanks to the Christmas in Killarney festival. This will be the 9th year of the Christmas in Killarney festival and the town won the prestigious ‘Best Christmas Town’ award from RTE in 2011. This year the organising committee are planning on turning Killarney into a winter wonderland with a number of events planned in the run-up to Christmas. With many events ongoing including a Christmas craft fair, Christmas treasure hunt, elves cottage and off course the big Christmas turn on and Christmas parade on Friday 29th November, there’s lots to do in Killarney this Christmas.
Galway Christmas Market:
From Killarney, we go along the west coast for our next Christmas market and you’ll be hard pushed to find somewhere as magical as Galway City on Christmas. This year sees the fourth year of the Galway Continental Market, which runs until Sunday 22nd December. There are a number of new additions to the market this year to turn it into a truly magical Christmas setting. Perfect for the family, hope on the new Santa Express Train or get your skates on and hit the ice rink and join the experience of ‘Galway City on Ice’. With over 60 traders packed into the wonder setting of Eyre Square, you’ll be able to sample food and drink from all around the world and also pick up some great arts & crafts gift ideas. There is also a real German feel to this market with German beers, Oktoberfest activities and Lederhosen all on display. This year also see’s the addition of a 10m Bavarian windmill to really add to the experience. Check yourself and the family into one of the many wonderful hotels in Galway and enjoy the atmosphere and experience of Eyre Square’s continental market this Christmas.
Be Merry in Derry/Londonderry:
Next up, we cross the border to Derry/Londonderry which has been the UK city of culture for 2013. The busy year for the Maiden city will draw to a close with some great celebrations over December, including the return of the Christmas market. With a beautiful setting for the Derry/Londonderry Christmas market which is held beneath the walls of the historic Guildhall Square, there is so much for you to see and do in this historic city. With live music, great food and some unique gifts, this really is one of the highlights of the Christmas calendar in the city. The Christmas market runs from 10th – 22nd December and if the success of last year’s market is anything to go by, this is certainly worth getting along to.
Belfast Continental Market:
The final Christmas market on our list is the wonderful continental market which takes place in Northern Ireland’s capital city, Belfast. Set in the heart of Belfast City Centre, at the historic City Hall building, the Belfast continental market has been on the go from Saturday 16th November. With Royal Avenue lit up in the distance, Belfast is a truly magical setting at Christmas. With 90 stalls including 15 local traders, you will be spoilt for choice walking through the grounds of the city hall. The market has become a fixture in the Belfast Christmas scene and with a Santa’s grotto and brand new snow dome also available, this market has something for all the family.
What could be more magical over Christmas than spending a day (or even longer) walking around some of the great Christmas markets in Ireland. If you’re feeling really festive, you may even try to take in more than one market. With lots of food, drink and gift ideas available, it’s easy to see why Christmas markets continue to be so popular in the lead up to the big day.