As Ireland’s biggest city and capital, Dublin really comes alive at Christmas with a magical array of attractions and festive things to do.
With vibrant markets littering the streets, traditional pubs offering up a pint of Guinness and the city’s landmarks lit up by fairy lights, spending a weekend in Dublin during December will really get you in the Christmas spirit.
What to see and do
Alongside the usual sights of Dublin, unique Christmas-themed events and pop-up attractions can be found around the city. Visit the Dundrum Shopping Centre where you’ll find the city’s only ice rink, which is installed until January 2014. And for traditional entertainment, catch the annual pantomime at the Tivoli Theatre – this year Jack and the Beanstalk will be entertaining kids and adults alike.
If you’re travelling with kids who would love to get a glimpse of Father Christmas, then visit Dublin Zoo, where a special Santa’s Grotto has been set up, surrounded by the exotic animal exhibits. The zoo is situated in Phoenix Park, the largest walled park in Europe, which is great to spend an afternoon strolling through.
If you’ve still got a few Christmas gifts left to buy, then Dublin offers up an array of unique markets and modern shops to stock up on those last-minute presents. The Dublin Flea Market in Smithfield runs from December 13-15 and is a flurry of 100 stalls full of everything from furniture to food to fashion.
At Christ Church Cathedral, one of Dublin’s oldest buildings, a market is held inside the historic crypts, which offers a slightly more intimate experience. And down at the docks, from December 12-23, a market is set up alongside fairground attractions for the ultimate festive feel.
If you’re looking to pick up a few last minute high street buys, then Henry Street and Grafton Street are the places to be, with the Irish department stores of Clerys, Arnotts and Brown Thomas popular places to pick up some Christmas gifts.
Of course, no trip to Ireland would be complete without a trip to one of the famed pubs! Wandering through the Temple Bar district you’ll be spoilt for choice, with over 600 pubs within the city to sample. The Brazen Head is Dublin’s oldest pub, having been the hub of activity for over 900 years, while microbreweries such as the Bull and Castle and The Porterhouse offer up some of the best craft beers.
And if you want to discover the history behind Ireland’s most famous drink – Guinness, the Guinness Storehouse is open right up until Christmas Eve, offering up self-guided tours of the brewery and a chance to sample one of the freshest pints of Guinness you’ll ever taste!