It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…in Dublin!
Get into the spirit of Christmas with an action-packed visit to Dublin. The city has everything to offer – so join in the festive buzz. Tick off your Santa list and hunt for that special gift, soak up some culture, and kick back at night with traditional Christmas cheer in buzzing restaurants, bars and night clubs. Christmas starts here!
1. Get your skates on! Forget your triple axel and your double lutz, it’s all about the fun at ISkate, Ireland’s largest Christmas ice rink which is part of Christmas Wonderland (6 Dec – 12 Jan). Ice skating is just one of the festive thrills on offer – savour the seasonal fare at the Continental Christmas Market and enjoy a white knuckle ride at Funderland, always a huge hit with big kids! Or get on your skates and hop on the LUAS to Dundrum On Ice, beside Irelands largest shopping centre.
2. Hark! Hear Handel’s Messiah Dublin has a very proud link with composer George Frideric Handel. His magnificent Messiah was first performed on Fishamble Street, in the oldest part of the city, in 1742 and going to hear it at Christmas time has been a Dublin tradition ever since.
You will have lots of opportunities to catch this essential part of the festivities. Soprano Claudia Boyle will star in a performance with the Irish Irish Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by David Brophy, in magnificent surrounds of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, (9 Dec). Our Lady’s Choral Society team up with the RTE Concert Orchestra to perform the Messiah at the National Concert Hall, (11 13 Dec). And the Irish Baroque Orchestra perform Messiah at Christ Church Cathedral, (6 Dec).
3. Get your shopping sorted! Christmas gift buying is a national sport and no better place than Dublin to indulge! For big brand purchases hit the main shopping spots of Grafton Street and Henry Street. For something different be inspired in the backstreets. Explore the Creative Quarter, from South William Street to Georges Street, for cutting edge design. Browse the antique quarter around Francis Street and don’t miss the indie boutiques of Temple Bar, or the charm and opulence of The Powerscourt Townhouse where independent boutiques, jewellers and antique shops are all housed in the elegant Georgian townhouse.
If the shopping gets a little too hectic, why not relax in the Wesbury Hotel on Grafton Street with an Irish coffee. Or pop into Brooks Hotel where their “drop and shop” service takes all the stress out of Christmas shopping.
4. Warm up in a pub! Nothing warms the Christmas spirits like a drink in a cosy pub. Drop into one of Dublin’s super friendly hostelries for a mulled wine, a hot toddy or an Irish coffee and revive yourself after a hard days Christmas shopping! Try the Stags Head off Dame street, with revelers spilling out onto the footpath, or stroll down Camden Street and drop into Anseo or the Bernard Shaw. For a quieter drink try a traditional pub like Doyle’s opposite Trinity College – and if you want to be seen with the beautiful people put on the glad rags and try 37 Dawson Street where you are bound to see a celeb or two!
5. Light up your nights! Dubs are very proud of their Christmas lighting and rightly so – the super sparkly chandelier style display along Grafton Street were made by the same designers that created the lights on the Eiffel Tower in Paris!
6. Browse the Christmas markets Airtricity Dublin’s Docklands Christmas Market will be transformed into a continental style Christmas Market (12 – 23 Dec). Have a wander, soak up the atmosphere and make sure to keep warm with a little mulled wine, hot buttered rum or hot Irish whiskey at the 1950s style Airstream Bar. Enjoy the eats and treats at the gourmet stalls and take a spin on the traditional fairground attractions.
The Trinity Bar & Venue on Dame Street is hosting a Christmas Craft Fair, (7 – 22 Dec) where artists and craft makers will gather to offer their amazing work for all to buy – including goods such as jewellery, knitwear, soaps, cakes, paintings, cards, clothing, framed photography..
Dun Laoghaire is also hosting a Christmas Market this year with 40 traditional chalets laden with gorgeous goodies in town every weekend for December.
Or for something truly indulgent check out The Food and Wine Magazine Christmas Show , a three day food and wine extravaganza learn how to create Christmas dishes from the masters and sample wine, champagne, cheese and chocolate from around the world.
7. Have a spiritual Christmas! Get into the spirit of Christmas and steal away for some moments of peace and visit some of Dublin magnificent churches. Learn about their fascinating histories and take in a carol service. Christmas Carol Service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on December 6th – or you can sing carols with the cathedral choir on 12 Dec. The Pepper Canister Church hosts Christmas Carols by Candlelight on 16 Dec . Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is a great Irish tradition and a night of the year when you can be sure any given church will be packed to the rafters and filled with rejoicing.
You can visit the live animal crib at the Mansion House on Dawson Street with sheep, goats and donkeys. This is the perfect place to start a tour of major city sights such as the National Museum, National Library and Government Buildings, all of which are just around the corner on Kildare Street.
8. Make a show of yourself! Take in a show on a pre Christmas break in Dublin. There is no shortage to choose from! Experience the unforgettable, award-winning musical Wicked and discover that you’ve not been told the whole story about the Land of Oz! Or have a great laugh at a pantomime …they are not just for children you know. The Sleeping Beauty (29 Nov – 12 Jan), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, (December 1 – January 12), and Beauty and the Beast with Jedward (18 Dec – 5 Jan). The Christmas Concert featuring The Snowman features shadow puppet animation and special guest Eimear Quinn.
9. The People’s Procession of Light The city will twinkle and sparkle as hundreds of participants and performers illuminate the streets with dazzling light displays, music and dance.The marvellous and magical People’s Procession of Light (31 Dec) will return to the streets of Dublin as part of the Three NYE Dublin Festival. A spectacle not to be missed as the procession weaves it’s way to St. Stephen’s Green to culminate with an electrifying fireworks display!
10. NYE Countdown Concert
Three NYE Dublin boasts an exhilarating four day schedule kicking off on the 29th December, running right through to January 1st. The Countdown Concert on College Green on the 31st will bring the curtain down at this year’s festivities. Headlined by Madness the Countdown Concert will also see Ryan Sheridan, MKS, The Strypes and Seo Linn take to the stage to pump up the crowd. Ring in the New Year in style!
The period between now and Christmas is a great time to visit Dublin. See the city at its festive best!