Christmas in Cork
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Get Out and Get Festive: What to do in Ireland this Christmas

Take a walk on the winter side with our nationwide round-up of Christmas activities.

Dublin:

Christmas In The Courtyard

Dublin’s largest and most festive fine-dining experience has popped up in the courtyard of Royal Hospital Kilmainham. A purpose-built glass pavilion houses a Christmas wonderland with fine-dining and tipples to boot. Michelin-starred chef Danni Barry and her sommelier counterpart Brigid O’Hora have the food and drink quotient covered with carefully curated, multi-course menus and drinks pairings. Delivering ambience in abundance is a roster of live music acts, including The Runaways, Victory Dolls and Spring Break. Friday lunch sessions and one-off events throughout The Courtyard’s run include Bingo Loco, Victoria and Davina’s Pride Party and much more. Until December 18th.


Eatyard Presents: Winter Yard

From Thursdays to Sundays until the end of January, the Eatyard team is on hand to carry us into 2023 with their festive fun and frolics. Spreading seasonal cheer from their two adjoining Drumcondra outposts, The Bernard Shaw and Eatyard, this crackers Christmas-fest promises good food, good cheer and good times. Expect gyozas and rice bowls from Janet’s, the winner of RTE’s Takeaway Titans, wood-fired sourdough pizzas from Village Pizza, the ultimate Christmas sandwich from Nice Burger and more. Walk-ins are welcome but tickets booked online can be redeemed for a drink on entry. Until January 29th.

South-East:

Yulefest Kilkenny

Synonymous with a knees-up, Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s party capitals and at Christmastime, it’s no different. Enter: Yulefest. Launched on November 25th by Santa Clause on a boat no less, he cycled around the city before switching on the Christmas lights – illuminating all there is to see and do at this year’s shindig. From a traditional market and movie screening to a fireworks display, Santa suit race and more, Kilkenny has Christmas covered. Bridging the day’s events into night, the Clonakilty Distillery-sponsored DJ Beats on Parliament Street is a pop-up evening disco. Don’t forget your dancing shoes. Until December 24th.


Winterval, Waterford

Aptly nicknamed the Crystal county, Waterford and its capital namesake are embracing the cold with Winterval, one of Ireland’s largest seasonal extravaganzas. Now in its 10th year, the city has been painted white with an ice rink, traditional market, festive fairground wheel and even a giant snow globe. As this is a cross-city affair, local restaurants and hotels including the Tower, Granville and Dooley’s have bedecked the halls and opened their doors to chill-seekers travelling from afar. Local favourites including Carters Chocolate Café, The Stable Yard Deli and the renowned Seagull Bakery are on standby for some seasonal sustenance. Until December 23rd. 

South:

The Grinch Festive After’Who’on Tea at Sketch, Cork

Turn your friends green with envy with a trip to Sketch for their Grinch-inspired afternoon tea. Better yet, take a page out of Dr Seuss’s book (quite literally) by sharing the love and bringing them along for the (sleigh) ride. Housed in the Cork city landmark, The Imperial Hotel, this whimsical and wonderful spread looks almost too good to eat. The menu is a “who’s who” of afternoon tea stalwarts with a Seussian twist. Adorned with Who hairstyle-inspired peaks and tiny bows, the mini meringue tarts are a sight to behold. Running Monday-Sunday, from 12pm-4pm.

West: 

Tinsel Afternoon Tea at the Ice House Hotel 

Overlooking the River Moy, The Ice House Hotel in Ballina is one of the “coolest” places to enjoy afternoon tea anytime of year. Renowned for its chic vibes and instagrammable views across the Wild Atlantic Way, they’ve put a Christmas twist on their usual offering. Delights include goat’s cheese crostinis with cranberry chutney, baked chocolate orange tart and even a gingerbread smoothie. Their other seasonal set menus, including lunch and dinner, are served within their newly-refurbished 54° 9° restaurant.

North:

Winterland Market at Kinnegar Brewing, Donegal

On December 10th, Kinnegar Brewing will host their inaugural Winterland Market. Gathering local artisans, producers and craftspeople to their Letterkenny HQ, team Kinnegar are feeding and watering Christmas shoppers with an international spread. Wish The Dirty Souls a “Happy Holidays” while tucking into their American BBQ menu and “Feliz Navidad” to the Venzuelan street food maestros, La Tia Juana’s. Wash down great food and toast great company with Winterland, a seasonal Kinnegar imperial coconut stout, served on tap. Sláinte. On December 10th, from 11am-5pm.


Belfast Continental Christmas Market 

Belfast’s annual behemoth is one of the most well-known and atmospheric markets in Ireland and the UK. Framing City Hall, this star of the North gathers crowds from all over – up to 1 million annually – to lap up the Christmas cheer. Like most traditional European Christmas markets, including Galway’s iteration on Eyre Square, Belfast’s offers gift shopping, Yuletide vibes and Glühwein galore. Also on hand are a host of street food traders. Hungry revellers can expect continental crowd pleasers like Spanish paella, Neopolitan pizzas and even Greek vegan food. Until December 22nd.  

East:

The Cottage Market, Drogheda

Usually held on the first Saturday of every month, this seasonal edition runs for two days across December 10th and 11th. 70 stallholders will occupy a two storey, disused retail unit in Scotch Hall Shopping Centre and will herald the messages of shopping, drinking and eating locally. Food-wise, there’s treats from the Boyne Valley and beyond. Expect bakers, cheese makers and a kombucha brewer and much more. On December 10th and 11th, from 10am-6pm. 


Hazel Byrne

Hazel Byrne is a lifestyle, travel and food writer and editor. Originally from Ireland, she’s just returned home after almost a decade of eating and drinking her way around London. Over four of those years were spent at Condé Nast, where she worked across editorial and branded content on titles includingBritish Vogue, Vanity Fair,GQ, Glamour and Condé Nast Traveller. From reviewing the world’s finest luxury experiences to producing celebrity shoots and events, she has a story or two to tell. When she’s not eating, drinking or talking about doing both, she’s plotting her next adventure.

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