Home See & Do Magical Christmas markets in Ireland you’ll love this holiday season

Magical Christmas markets in Ireland you’ll love this holiday season

by Mama Loves Ireland
galway Christmas market ireland, at night, with lights

A curated selection of Christmas markets in Ireland you will love this festive season.

If you are in Ireland at Christmas, There is no better way to get yourself immersed in the spirit of Christmas in Ireland than by visiting one of the many Irish Christmas markets!

Christmas markets in Ireland are not as big as in countries such as Germany or Austria and they do not attract the same international attention.

However, they are popular with locals and they are good fun.

If you are in Ireland in December, you will find them in many towns and they are a fantastic opportunity to mingle with locals, get pretty gifts and fill up with warming festive food and drinks.

Below, you will find a list of magical Christmas markets in Ireland you don’t want to miss in 2021.

Need to know: due to the current situations, rules and accessibility to markets are subject to change. We tried our very best to bring to you up-to-date information on events that are actually running this year. However, please check with each provider just before heading there as things change fast!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Galway Christmas Market

The Galway Christmas market is one of the biggest and most famous in the country and it is fantastic!

Christmas market in Galway ireland with lights on wooden huts and ferry wheel

People travel from all over Irland here and make a weekend out of the experience, taking the opportunity to lo enjoy Galway’s charming city center, hotels and lively pubs.

The Galway Christmas market takes place in Eyre Square, in the town center and hosts over 50 wooden huts selling gifts and food, a ferry wheel, a traditional carousel, live music performers, puppet shows and storytelling.

You can also meet Santa here!

Santa stops in Galway market Santa’s Grotto and you can also catch the Santa Express Train, which is always a huge success with little kids.

Even better, the Santa Experience her is run by local charities, so your visit is also a great way to give back.

The Galway Christmas market is brilliant for visitors and an excellent way to meet locals if you are visiting Ireland as a family and want a taste of or authentic local life.

  • Dates for 2021: 6pm on Friday 12th November until Wednesday 22nd December 2021
  • Location: Eyre Sq, Galway

Stay at: The Galmont Hotel and Spa, ideally located close to Eyre Square and the station

See also: our favorite things to do in Galway (sightseeing guide)

Shop street at night illuminated with Christmas lights, Galway, Ireland

Cork Christmas market

I love Cork at Christmas and one of the many reasons why I recommend you visit this city in the winter months is its Christmas lights and Christmas market.

Usually, Cork at Christmas has to offer a show-stopping ferry wheel overlooking the river, lots of lights and magical encounters with Santa.

He is known to set his home in Cork in Bishops’ Park, where the town hosts the traditional event ‘Glow Cork’.

This year, things are a little different as Glow Cork seems to be postponed to 2022; however, Cork has come up with a new exciting alternative: a new Christmas activity called The Mardyke Market!

This new Christmas market will feature food trucks, a Santa sleigh mobile, live music, tons of Christmas trees and encounters with Santa.

You can follow their Instagram account here

As well as the market, Cork at Christmas is perfect for shopping and for the cheerful festive spirit of its city center.

Its English market, a must-see in Cork, is especially inviting at Christmas and a great place to find refuge with amazing food should the cold get to you!

  • Dates: November 18th – December 16th
  • Location: Cork Cricket Grounds, next to Fitzgerald Park

Stay at: The River Lee Hotel (Doyle Collection), in a great location on the river, walking distance from all attractions

Yulefest Kilkenny: The Kilkenny Christmas market

Kilkenny is one of the loveliest cities in Ireland no matter the season but Kilkenny at Christmas is special as you can find here a beautiful Christmas market too.

The Kilkenny Christmas market is called Yulefest Kilkenny and happens in the most spectacular location you can ask for: the square in front of the fabulous Kilkenny castle!

here, you find wooden huts selling gifts and food, a traditional carousel, live music, an ice skating rink, seasonal workshops for kids and Santa’s Grotto, where your children can meet the big man itself.

Located right in the center of the city, it is a fantastic excuse to visit this wonderful town in this otherwise dark season.

  • Dates: 22nd November – 6th January
  • Location: The Parade, Kilkenny City Center

Stay at: The Ormonde Hotel, in fantastic location minutes from the market, right in Kilkenny city center.

See also: our favorite things to do in Kilkenny (Sightseeing guide)

Irish Christmas market in Kilkenny

Waterford Christmas Market

Waterford at Christmas hosts a wonderful Christmas market that fills the town city center with light and cheer: Winterval Waterford.

The Christmas event in Waterford brings to town a ferry wheel, craft stalls, live music performances, kids labs and workshops and even a pet zone, all under one of Ireland’s biggest Christmas trees.

There is a mix of free and ticketed events and the whole town dresses up in lights, making Christmas one of the nicest times to experience Waterford with kids especially.

The event also showcases food trucks with local specialties and has an interesting area devoted to celebrating Irish as a living language: Ar Ais Le Chéile.

This is a unique opportunity for visitors to understand a little more about Irish Gaelic and kids may get excited about a school subject that may or may not be their very favorite…

  • Dates: Friday, November 19th until Thursday, December 23rd
  • Location: Waterford City Center, several locations

Stay at: Granville Hotel, hosted in a historical building right in the town center

Christmas markets in Dublin

I love Dublin at Christmas: from mid-November, the town turns on its Christmas lights and the gloomy Irish winter turns into a real celebration of light.

lights spelling merry christmas in Dublin

Christmas markets happen in Dublin; however, more than one Christmas event, what you find here is a series of different events and displays, taking place in several parts of this large and sprawling city.

If you have kids, some lovely locations to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit in Dublin are:

Stay at: Clayton Hotel Charlemont, a perfectly located hotel perfect for sightseeing

Read also: our guide to the best things to see in Dublin (sightseeing guide)

Wicklow Christmas market

Wicklow Town always hosts a lovely Christmas market; however, in 2021, they have announced their market will be bigger and better an ever, with a new location and more events!

In 2021, the Wicklow Market offers artisan craft stalls, food and drinks trucks and stall, kids’ funfair, live music, street performers and even an ice skating rink!

Kids can see Santa hopping onto the Santa Express and the adults can get take care of their Christmas shopping: the list of artisans showcasing their craft is large!

County Wicklow has some of the most beautiful places in Ireland: if you base yourself here for a few days, you can enjoy the market and find yourself at an easy driving distance from marvels such as Glendalough and Powerscourt Gardens.

Good to know! Wicklow Christmas market is a Green Festival using recycled and sustainable materials, and stallholders follow the “leave no trace” policy.

  • Dates: Nov 27th, 28th  Dec 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th & 21st
  • Location: Leitrim Place, The Murrough, Corporation Land (1st Division), Wicklow Town Center

Stay at: Tinakilly Country House and Resort – outside of the city center but stunning, perfect for a winter break

Read also: our guide to the best things to do in Wicklow Country (sightseeing guide)

Belfast Christmas Market

The Belfast Christmas market has been announced as returning for 2021 with lots of stalls and events for the whole family.

This year, the market promises tons of food stalls with traders from all over the world (we hear vintage Dutch Pancakes, Naples handcrafted chocolate and sushi!), lots of wooden huts with gifts and crafts, Santa’s Grotto, a vintage carousel and a Helter Skelter.

  • Dates: Saturday 16 November – Thursday December 23
  • Location: Belfast City Hall Grounds

Stay at: Maldron Hotel Belfast city center, an excellent address for the whole family

Read also: our recommended itinerary for a family weekend in Northern Ireland (road trip)

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of the best Christmas markets in Ireland. Nollaig Shona Duit! (that’s Merry Christmas in Irish!)

The best Christmas markets in Ireland you and your kids will love – pin this!

Photo of Galway Christmas market at night with text: the best Christmas markets in Ireland

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