By Lynn Kuehner
How would we be able to manage the stressful pre-Christmas period without visiting Christmas markets that get us into the Christmas spirit? Enjoy the Christmas lights, eat some sausage or mince pies or chocolate logs, drink mulled wine to heat you up and shop some handmade gifts for family and friends. If you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to talk to Santa! We are really looking forward to Christmas Markets and just collected out Top 5 markets in Ireland for you!
1. I Believe – Dublin’s Iconic Christmas Tree & Village
This is more than a Christmas Market – I BELIEVE is Irelands iconic Christmas Festival and will be an amazing pre-Christmas experience to everyone who visits it!
I BELIEVE will run for 28 days (26th November – 23rd December) at the exceptional setting of Custom House Quarter in Dublin, which includes George’s Dock, The chq Building and its surrounding area. The traders will sell traditional Christmas foods, crafts, gifting and toys. Special events for families, for example Christmas storytelling and singing and a talk with Santa Clause, will take place as well.
Highlight: The Christmas tree (donated by Coillte) will be 50ft tall and set to become Dublin’s finest Christmas landmark. The perfect place to feel the magic of Christmas!
2. Galway’s Continental Market
Ireland’s longest running Christmas Market celebrates its sixth anniversary this year. There will be more than 50 wooden chalets on Eyre Square in the middle of Galway, selling traditional Christmas food, drinks and gifts. This year’s market will be even bigger than the previous ones. On the programme are live performances and entertainment from Galway’s top bands and DJs, performers, puppet shows, storytelling, school choirs, carol singing together with charity and community events. As every year, visitors will find the popular Santa’s Grotto and the German Bier Keller.
Galway’s Continental Market runs daily from November 20th to December 22nd, Monday to Wednesday from 12:00 to 20:00 and Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00.
3. WinterVal in Waterford
Ireland’s oldest city will open up its Christmas Market from November 21st to December 23rd and it’s going to stretch all over the city. The WinterVal Festival features 32 Christmas-themed events, including 60 market stalls, a 3D light show at Palace Square, a WinterVal toy museum, a free daily screening of Disney’s ‘Frozen’, and ticketed events including a Ferris wheel and WinterVal Express train.
4. Glow – A Cork Christmas Celebration
“Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration” will run from 27th November to 20th December and will be located in Bishop Lucey Park. There will be festive markets each Friday and Sunday from 10:00 to 20:00 where visitors can eat, drink and buy gifts or take a ride on the big wheel to watch the Christmas lights in Cork from above. The highlight of Glow is a free festively themed attraction for children at Bishop Lucey Park.
5. Belfast Christmas Market
Up in the North (closer to Santa at the North pole) in Belfast, you’ll find an authentic Christmas market around the city hall. Traders will sell a fantastic range of authentic continental food, clothing, arts crafts and decorations from across Europe and beyond. Belfast Christmas Market was even voted as the Best Large Specialist Market 2015 by NABMA – maybe that’s due to all the beautiful handbags, satchels, socks, hats and gloves, wooden toys, essential oils, crystals, hand-painted pottery and Christmas decorations the stalls offer…
Santa will arrive on this market at 11:00 on Monday 16th November and can be visited in his Grotto every day. Children can post Santa a letter in his post box (in the grounds of the Belfast Christmas Market) by 18th December, and will receive a letter back from him!
Belfast Christmas Market runs from 14th November to 20th December and will be open from 12:00 daily.