Spending Christmas in Dublin gives visitors a chance to experience wonderland filled with a blend of history and present day traditions. The celebration starts at the end of November when holiday lights are switched on in various districts around the city followed by special scheduled events. The city pulls out all the stops and guests can find a wealth of bargains, including many cheap budget hotels.
Grafton, Henry and O’Connell are some of the district streets that boast elaborate displays created using thousands of holiday lights. Lighting ceremonies are scheduled to take place a little earlier this year. Festivities begin November 12th through the 14th and include the gala tree-lighting ceremony at Custom House Quarter at the capital building. Once the lights come on, holiday spectators are entertained by live choral performances, street performers and various other activities.
Europe is known for their traditional Christmas Markets and Dublin is no different. The array of markets this year includes the I Believe Irish Christmas village at the Custom House Quarter and the St. Stephen’s Green Market. There is also an annual Traditional Christmas Market in the courtyard located at Dublin Castle.
Whether looking for unusual gifts, souvenirs or merely desiring to experience the holiday spirit, the markets provide an air of enchantment along with offering an abundance of shopping opportunities. Retailers offer something to interest everyone from high end personal care products to numerous quality handmade craft items.
Vendors are also on hand with a wide selection of delicious hot food, treats and beverages that are native to Ireland and other world cultures. Each site also usually has street performers, choral concerts and other forms of live entertainment.
Through the second week of December, the historic 1662 Smock Alley Theatre will be presenting a live performance of Dicken’s “Christmas Carol” to the delight of audiences young and old. World renowned rock band U2 are scheduled to perform four live concerts in Dublin in November at the popular 3 Arena. Other venues hosting festive shows include the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, The Helix, The Gaiety Theatre and The Trinity Bar and Venue.
Christmas Day Parties
Dublin hotels display their finery and present elaborate multi-course meals and live entertainment for their guests. In some cases, the celebration lasts until the wee hours of the morning. However, reservations must be made in advance. Businesses are typically closed, which provides everyone the chance to spend the day with loved ones.
On Christmas morning, hundreds venture to Forty Foot Rock and jump into the frigid Irish Sea donning Santa caps and bathing suits. The day after Christmas is known at St. Stephan’s Day in Ireland, which commemorates the Irish saint. Traditional processions travel through the streets singing and wearing costumes. Other festivities include the popular horse racing festival in Leopardstown near Dublin City.