Crisp day, cosy fireside nights and plenty to pack in during the festive season…
The festive season is celebrated with enthusiasm right across Ireland from the biggest cities to small pretty villages, but the Christmas in Killarney Festival is a truly magical experience. The month-long series of events is packed with phenomenal entertainment for all the family with musicals, parades, ice-skating and, of course, big old jolly Santa!
What about Christmas markets?
There’s a great selection of special outdoor Christmas markets across Ireland with stalls selling festive food and hot mulled wines beneath the twinkle of Christmas trees. Make sure to check out the Ballyvaughan Christmas Festival in County Clare. It’s a month-long arts event with workshops in Christmas decoration, cookery classes, choral recitals and concerts and a European-style Christkindl market, like those found across Austria and Germany. Oh, and Ireland has its own Lapland, too. Well, a version of it is anyway. Throughout December the much-loved Glendeer Farm, which lies West of Athlone, is transformed into Ireland’s Lapland with Santa and his live reindeers “Dancer” and “Prancer” as special guests.
What about the Christmas panto?
Children all over Ireland spend December and January roaring ‘he’s behind you!’ at Christmas pantos. The Gaiety Panto in Dublin is the most famous, but there are excellent pantos also in Limerick, Cork, Belfast and Galway as well as smaller towns and villages. Another great place for kids during the long month of January is Choowawaa Children’s Arts Festival at the West Cork Arts Centre. There’s an exhibition, workshop activities, performances and interactive installations highlighting the quality and the uniqueness of Irish based artists and performers.
What about literary events and arts festivals?
The arts festival continues right through the winter months with a wide variety of smaller events that light up the long days of January and February. Make sure not to miss the Yeats Winter School in January in Sligo Town; Limerick’s annual fringe performance festival, unFringed; Tipperariana Book Fair in February; the North Cork Drama Festival; and the high-profile Dublin International Film Festival.