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Exploring the Magic of Ireland during Christmas and New Year's

Inch, Co. Kerry
Plan your Christmas vacation in Ireland with Magical Ireland Tours now!


If you are considering a trip to Ireland over Christmas, this is just for you! Ireland, with its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality, is a captivating destination to celebrate the holiday season. From charming Christmas markets to vibrant festivals, the Emerald Isle offers a unique experience during Christmas and New Year's.

Visiting Ireland in December and January showcases Ireland in a different light. Though the days are shorter and you'll need to bring your scarf and hat, the pace is much more relaxed than peak season and you'll only need to queue for your hot chocolate!

In this blog, we will delve into the enchanting world of Ireland during this festive time and explore the delightful attractions, Christmas markets, and cultural festivities that make it a must-visit destination.

At Magical Ireland Tours we are waiting to make your Irish Christmas trip truly magical and memorable! Send us a message on our website or email us at to enquire about our fully customised private tours.

Now read on to discover just why you need to experience Ireland at Christmas.

Dublin, Ireland
Wicklow Street, Dublin (image from

Festive Atmosphere and Decorations:

During Christmas, Ireland transforms into a wonderland adorned with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and a contagious sense of joy. The cities and towns come alive with colorful lights, beautifully decorated shop windows, and stunning Christmas trees. Dublin, Galway, and Belfast are particularly known for their spectacular displays, creating a magical ambiance that will warm your heart and ignite your holiday spirit.

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo:

A visit to Dublin Zoo during the festive season is a must, thanks to the dazzling Wild Lights event. This captivating display transforms the zoo into a mesmerizing wonderland, featuring intricate light sculptures inspired by animals and mythical creatures. Walk through illuminated trails and marvel at the stunning displays, accompanied by enchanting music and interactive experiences. It's an experience that will leave you in awe and create lasting memories. You can view past years exhibits here

Co. Kerry, Ireland

Light Displays across Ireland:

The Land of Light Experience is set in the beautiful grounds of Belvedere House, Gardens & Park in County Westmeath, the experience delivers thrills and excitement at every turn. As you walk your way along the forest trail, the night sky, trees and buildings are lit up by a spectacular light show, with stunning atmospheric music to complete the scene. It’s like walking through another world!

Experience magic at Malahide Castle and Gardens (Dublin) during the festive season with Wonder Lights: Castle of Light. Walk through captivating light displays and multi sensory accessible trails in the stunning gardens of this historic Castle.

Private driver tours of Ireland
Galway Christmas Market (image belongs to

Christmas Markets:

A visit to Ireland during the Christmas season is incomplete without experiencing its charming Christmas markets. These markets offer a delightful array of handcrafted gifts, local delicacies, and festive treats. Most markets open late November (some very early December) and run up until Dec 23rd.

Dublin's Christmas market at St. Stephen's Green is a favorite, featuring wooden chalets selling everything from handmade crafts to traditional Irish foods. Galway's Eyre Square Christmas Market is another must-visit, offering a mix of artisanal products, live music, and a festive atmosphere. Here is a list of some of the best Christmas markets in Ireland:

  • Christmas At the Castle, Dublin

  • The Galway Continental Christmas Market on Eyre Square, Galway

  • Walled City Markets at Christmas, Derry

  • Glow Cork, Cork City

  • Milk Market, Limerick City

  • Waterford Winterville

  • Belfast Continental Christmas Market, Antrim

View of the Rock of Cashel
The Dark Hedges, Antrim (image by Rodney O'Callaghan)

Winter Wonderlands:

Ireland's breathtaking landscapes take on a new charm during the winter season. The majestic Cliffs of Moher, the serene Ring of Kerry, and the mystical Giant's Causeway are just a few of the natural wonders that offer a picturesque backdrop for your holiday adventure. Embrace the crisp air, wrap up well, take scenic walks, and marvel at the stunning beauty that Ireland has to offer during this time of year.

View of Blarney castle through the trees
Winter Solstice, Newgrange

Cultural Events and Festivals:

Immerse yourself in Irish traditions and festivities by attending the various cultural events and festivals during Christmas and New Year's. The Winter Solstice at Newgrange, a prehistoric monument in County Meath, offers a unique experience as the sun aligns with the passage tomb, illuminating its inner chamber. Witnessing this ancient ritual is a truly unforgettable way to welcome the winter season. Tickets to enter the chamber are allotted by lottery. You can learn more about the Winter Solstice celebrations at Newgrange here

Streets of Kinsale
Celebrate New Years Eve Irish style!

New Year's Celebrations:

Ireland knows how to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one with exuberance. The vibrant city of Dublin hosts a spectacular New Year's Eve festival, featuring live music, street performances, and a dazzling fireworks display over the iconic Ha'penny Bridge. Join the locals in Temple Bar, where the pubs come alive with music, laughter, and a contagious party spirit.

Limerick City also has an impressive yearly fireworks display at King Johns Castle. New Years Eve celebrations big and small can be found all over the island, ensuring there is something to suit everyone!


A trip to Ireland during Christmas and New Year's is a captivating experience that blends the country's natural beauty with its rich cultural heritage. From festive markets to stunning landscapes and vibrant celebrations, Ireland offers a unique and unforgettable holiday experience. So, pack your warmest clothes, embrace the Irish spirit, and get ready to create cherished memories in the land of legends and traditions.

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