Looking for the best Christmas events in Ireland to get you and your family in the festive spirit? We’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of the top events taking place across the country for you to enjoy. From Christmas craft workshops to ice skating, festive entertainment, train rides and of course Santa visits, there’s something to suit every age and member of the family.
Taking place every Saturday and Sunday in December and then daily between the 18th and 23rd, Santa’s Grotto at Epic is not to be missed. Tickets include a children’s Christmas trail through EPIC, a visit to Mrs Claus, the elves and of course a meeting with Santa himself in his grotto in the vaults of EPIC. A professional photographer will be available to take your special family Christmas photograph, with 1 printed photo included in the price and an age appropriate gift will be presented from Santa to each child.
Admission ranges from €18.50 to €26.00 and places can be booked online.
The family favourite returns again this year to Dundrum Town Centre. This ice skating experience is perfect for beginners and ice skating aficionado’s alike. With food, beverages and music it makes for a great day or evening out. It runs from November 18th until January 29th. It’s open from 3pm until 9pm weekdays and from 10am until 7pm on weekends.
Adult tickets cost €15 Off Peak and €17 at Peak and are available to book online.
Taking place at Dublin Zoo between Friday 28th October and Monday 9th January. The wildly popular, Wild Lights night-time adventure is back with an exciting brand new theme – The Magic of Life! Behold over a thousand breath-taking, dazzling lanterns which will portray the fascinating and important story of biodiversity. Discover the abundance and diversity of life in the tree tops of our rainforests and then dive underwater and witness some of the most beautiful sea creatures and the mesmerising coral – all lit up through magical hand-crafted traditional Chinese lanterns.
Tickets range in price from free for children under 3 up to €23 for adults, be sure to book online.
As part of Yulefest, the Kilkenny Christmas Market is back and bigger and better than ever! Taking place every weekend from the 26th of November and all across Christmas week along the Parade in Kilkenny City. Head along to enjoy the festive atmosphere, sample great food and find the perfect gift for loved ones.
Kilkenny is world-famous for its high quality craft and food. You’ll find local artisans and crafts-people nestled in beautiful wooden huts selling local crafts, tasty food and delicious treats. With family entertainment, live music and lots of coffee and food options, there’s plenty to keep you entertained for the whole day. A truly festive experience!
Set sail for Christmas Island for an unforgettable, unique Christmas experience in Hidden Valley, Rathdrum! Your experience will include an exciting journey on The North Pole Express, a trip to Christmas Island where you’ll meet the Elves who will try to bring out your creative side before moving on to Santa’s head elves for some more festive elf entertainment. Families will depart Christmas Island on Santa’s House Boat to make their way to Santa’s Grotto where each family will have a private visit with Santa. And the special thing about Christmas Island is that tickets are available for both day visits and overnight stays. (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays)
Pre-booking through the website is essential and tickets cost €26 for children, €10 for infants and €18.50 for adults.
Running from Saturday November 26th until December 23rd, Santa’s Enchanted Christmas is a magical, interactive and immersive experience in its new location at the National 1798 Centre, brought to you by the same great team from Enniscorthy Castle. Encounter enchanting characters, wander through a Christmas wonderland, meet Mrs. Claus and the gnomes and elves before meeting the big guy himself, Santa! The ticket entitles you to a seasonal gift from Santa, selected just for your child! With free parking and cafe onsite as well as professional photography available.
Tickets range from €12 for adults and infants to€20 for children between the ages of 3 and 13. Book online to secure your place.
Donegal’s Lapland experience has been running since 1999 and is one of the most highly anticipated Christmas events of the year. Each year more surprises are added to the event. Guests will meet the elves, hear stories, visit the toy factory and select a gift, see Lapland village where they can post their letter to Santa, meet Mrs Claus and the reindeers, see Santa come down the chimney and enjoy some treats plus lots more.
€16.50 for Adults and Children over Two Tickets €5 for infants under two. Tickets can be bought online and are subject to a €1.50 booking fee per ticket.
Looking for a family Christmas event that’s different from the rest? The Jungle is the place for you. There are activities for all ages including arts and crafts, adventure zones, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, rodeo reindeer and lots more. After a festive snack and drink on arrival, you can pen a letter to Santa with the help of his elves. And the Woodland Petting Farm is a must see, where you are sure to make a host of new furry friends like llamas, miniature horses, goats, rabbits and chickens. Children can visit Santa and the elves too and receive a present. It runs from Friday 3rd of December until the 23rd.
Tickets can be booked online and cost £22.50 for a child and £13.50 for an adult, babies under 12 months cost £10.
Back again in 2022, this charity event has to be seen to be believed. A convoy of Tractors, Trucks, Articulated Lorries, Modified Motors and even bicycles bedecked in more lights than you could imagine possible will pass through Cavan Town from 5pm on Sunday the 18th of December. Since 2012 the parade has raised over €160,000 for a range of beneficiaries and here’s hoping that this year’s event can add to that success. Be sure to head along if you’re in the area. Intrigued? More details can be found on the Christmas Lights Vehicle Parade Cavan official website.
Ireland’s largest Christmas festival returns to Waterford this November and December for its landmark 10th year with its biggest and most festive programme yet. Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, will be transformed into a magical Winterval wonderland from Friday, November 18th until Friday, December 23rd.
There are a host of free and ticketed Christmas Events taking place as part of the Winterval Christmas Festival. A band of merry elves will lead little ones to the door of Santa's magical cabin and families can meander through Santa's city centre installation, taking pictures with photo scenes along the way. Visit Santa at the all-new 'Santa's Central Station', where up to two adults go free and kids cost €16.50. Visitors to the main man have the option of taking their own photos or optional printed photos are also available for an additional fee of €10.
Christmas in Killarney kicks off on Saturday November 26th as Santa and his helpers parade through town in the spectacular Magic Parade. There will be further parades on the 3rd, 10th and 17th of December. All month there will be a range of fun Christmas activities taking place for you and the family to enjoy. Think food and craft fairs, sleigh rides, ice rink, Santa and lots more. Have a look at the Christmas in Killarney events calendar and see what events you’d like to attend - there’s something for everyone!
The West Cork Model Railway Village is going full steam ahead again this year with the return of the festive Christmas experience, The Polar Express. Fans of Harry Potter movies and Disney’s Christmas classic ‘The Polar Express’ are in for a real treat this year as the Model Railway Village will undergo a magical festive transformation, with the help of Santa and his hard-working elves. Your visit will kick off in the first carriage, where the elves will perform a 15-minute show and families will need to help power the train through Christmas songs. And then you will move on to the second ‘VIP’ carriage to meet the man himself, Santa. The visit usually takes about 2 hours and children will enjoy a craft activity, see the action in the workshop, meet Dasher the talking reindeer, with lots of other surprises along the way!
Twinkling lights and seasonal magic will fill the air as you explore the Villages of Light and see miniature West Cork as you’ve never seen it before. This event runs every Fri, Sat and Sun from the 25th of November until the 18th of December and then Monday the 19th through to Friday the 23rd. Children cost €22, Adults €17.50 and under 2s are free. You can also purchase a professional photo for €10 if you wish.
There’s lots of festive fun to be had at the magical, fully interactive Winter Wonderland in Loughwell Farm Galway. Guests will meet Mrs Claus, Elf Glitterpants (Santa’s main helper) and all the other elves as they prepare for Christmas. You can have a snow fight with the Christmas Princess, help stir the magic reindeer food and take some home to welcome the reindeer on Christmas Eve. The children can tell Santa all their Christmas wishes and (if they’ve been good this year) he’ll give all the girls and boys a Golden ticket to choose their own beautiful present from Santa’s Toy Shop. There’s even a magic wishing well and for the adults there’s mulled wine and festive mince pies. What more could you want?
Book online to ensure your place. Tickets are €29.50 for a child, €13 for an infant under 18months and €14 for an adult.
If you’re looking for some family friendly entertainment this Christmas season, look no further than the Arigna Mining Experience. The visit to Santa in Arigna is a unique, exciting fun-filled event for all the family. There’ll be magic shows as well as performances from The Custard Pie Puppets. Santa will also be available for visits in his underground grotto and his elves will be running around getting into mischief no doubt.
Prices: Babies up to 2 years and Adults €15, Children 2-14 years €25. Santa will have a gift for all the family who come to visit him. Opening Dates: Saturdays and Sundays of the weekend of the 10th and 17th Dec. The bookings will run from 10am-4pm every day.
Winter Wonderland will be running in Westport House in Mayo on select dates from November 19th to December 23rd. The 18th-century coach house, Westport House and grounds will be transformed into a beautiful, festive dreamland, including a magical atmosphere all complete with awe-inspiring decorations and real snow! Meet the Elves and visit Santa one-on-one in his Grotto in the snow-dusted wooded Tinsel Town. Ride the Wonderland Express Train around Westport Estate and take in the stunning decorations. Hop off at Westport House where you can meet Mrs Claus and take a family picture under the giant Christmas tree. This magical experience will be unforgettable.
Tickets can be bought online, with a child’s ticket costing €35 and an adult or infant’s ticket costing €15.
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