There’s nothing better to get you in the holiday mood than a Christmas market – delicious food, festive treats, mulled wine and some fun activities to keep you warm! Get your wooly hats, gloves and scarves and head to one of these Christmas markets in Ireland for some festive cheer.
Galway Christmas Market
Running for 13 years and counting, this is one of the more popular Christmas markets in Ireland, and for good reason. Head to Galway to see the city centre filled with festive lights, the smell of tasty food and all the Christmas cheer! You’ll find the classic ferris wheel and carousel, with a Galway Christmas Beer Tent and other exciting elements in store. If you’re bringing the children, they’ll be delighted to meet Santa at the market too. The market will run until December 22nd, but a portion of the market, including the View Wheel, the Carousel and the Beer Tent will reopen in Eyre Square on December 26th until 7th January.
The already magical Waterford gets the special festive treatment with Winterval. In Ireland’s oldest city, the magical Winterval celebrates everything festive, with seasonal surprises and a number of free events for all ages so nobody misses out on the fun. Santa arrives to Waterford with a bang, plus Winterval on Ice returns, the Helter Skelter and The Carousel are also back, and so many more new additions are to be expected… Winterval circus and a Lego exhibition – how exciting! There’s plenty of delicious food and drink to go around, plus for the crafty ones amongst you, they’ve got you covered too. A packed programme is to be expected so Waterford should definitely be on the cards for a visit this Christmas! Winterval will run until December 23rd.
This year, Cork is taken over by the Christmas spirit with Corkmas. This is not just one Christmas market, it’s a collection of festive events, stalls, exhibitions, and more! Notably, SOLAS is a must-see light installation running throughout the festive season – taking place in the Plaza outside the Crawford Gallery and Cork Opera House, you’ll see an immersive, interactive lightscape that is sure to please both young and old. The English Market will also be as Christmassy as ever, and Santa’s Market at Marina Market will be the perfect event full of Christmas magic for all! Find the full interactive map of all the events to expect at Corkmas here. Corkmas is running until January 7th 2024.
Dublin Castle Christmas Market
Making it’s return, the much-loved Christmas at the Castle is free and non-ticketed this year, giving you ultimate access to all the festive fun. The boutique open air market will be filled with over 25 traditional alpine stalls, including a fabulous vintage carousel for the kiddies. Expect artisan produce to be sold (perfect for those last minute Christmas gifts!), as well as burgers, churros and cannoli. The market is running from 6th-19th December, open 12-9pm each day.
Wicklow Christmas Market
Just outside Dublin is the fabulous Wicklow Christmas market, so if you’re looking for a day trip outside the city to bask in that festive cheer, get your tinsel out and head to Wicklow. A new addition is to be expected this year – their Eco-Alpine Skate Trail is all things lights, trees and festivity! With over 40 craft stalls to sort your Christmas gifts this year, an exciting fire show and live entertainment, plus some tasty dishes to keep you fuelled, this is a great Christmas market to add to your list. The market is running until December 17th.
Kilkenny is known as a quaint town full of friendly faces and enchanting castles, so a couple of Christmas lights thrown into the mix can only make it better! Santa has already arrived to the city to kick off the Yulefest festivities, so the Christmas cheer is in full swing. Expect festive treats, fun crafts and live music and entertainment this season! With events announced on their social media throughout the season, keep an eye to get yourself in the Christmas spirit all December long. There are workshops, fireworks, magic shows, and even a Santa truck! Check out the full event guide for Yulefest here.
Belfast Continental Christmas Market
Certainly worth a trip up North, the Belfast Christmas Market is based on the City Hall grounds, bringing you award-winning festive cheer. Traders from around the world set up shop at the market, offering amazing food, drink and produce. Santa’s magical grotto is also up and running – the kids will be absolutely delighted! The food is always top notch at the market, with everything you could imagine up for grabs. The Helter Skelter and carousel are also back, and local foodie favourites will make an appearance too. Treat yourself to some Glühwein or some Italian hot chocolate while you’re at it! The Belfast Continental Christmas market will be running until December 22nd.
Slane Castle Christmas Market
On for one weekend only, the magical Slane Castle will be transformed to an exciting Christmas Market. The ground floor will be full of craft and gift stalls to sort your last minute Christmas gifts and stocking fillers, and the beautiful Castle Courtyard will come alive with food stalls, warm cosy drinks and some festive Christmas carols. This market is only on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th December, entry is free.
I’m a Palestinian who grew up in Cyprus and moved to Dublin in 2013, so I’ve had a mishmash of different cultures and cuisines surrounding me my whole life. I’m an avid foodie, and after realising that life as a lawyer was not for me, I studied media and became a radio host for Dublin City FM. I’m now writing for TheTaste full time, but I also have my own food blog where you can find a mixture of restaurant reviews and the occasional recipe. I talk a lot about being Palestinian; to be honest, I talk a lot in general. That’s why I did radio!