The 5 best Christmas markets in Ireland this year

Make this Christmas in Ireland a special one and experience some of the top Christmas markets on show across Ireland.

The 5 best Christmas markets in Ireland this year

Many things define Christmas: the decorations, the snow, the TV adverts, and the presents, to name a few. But one of the best things about the festive period is the atmosphere of an Irish Christmas market.

The Emerald Isle is fully prepared for the Christmas period, with many Christmas markets popping up across the island throughout this time of year.

Whether you are visiting Ireland on a winter break or live in the country year-round, here are the top five Christmas markets in Ireland this festive season.

5. Wicklow Christmas Market 

The Wicklow Christmas Market is one of the best Christmas markets in Ireland this year

Just a 25-minute drive from the M50, the Wicklow Christmas Market is set in the beautiful Abbey Grounds in the town centre and is a strong start to the top 5 Christmas markets in Ireland.

The market opens on 23 November, and will be open to visit on 24 and 30 November, and on 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15 December 2016, open from 12pm to 6pm each day.

There are a number of stalls that line the market and sell local artisan foods, decorations, gifts and beverages to keep you going through the night.

The market is also interactive, with the Santa Express and Alpaca Experience (where you can meet alpacas) being some of the best events, while the funfair, fire shows, and live entertainment make Wicklow the place to be this Christmas.

Address: Abbey St, Wicklow, Ireland

4. Glow Cork – A Christmas Celebration

Glow Cork is a festive place to celebrate the holiday season

The Glow Christmas Market returns to Cork for 2019. It will run on four different weekends before Christmas; 29 November – 1 December; 6-8 December; 13-15 December; and 20-22 December, opening from 12 to 8.30pm each day.

The Bishop Lucey Park will be transformed into the National Elf Test this year, where families can watch the elves pass the tests needed to be of service this Christmas.

The Grand Parade provides a vintage carousel ride, and fine foods fill the stalls as the capital city of the Rebel county prepares for Christmas in style.

The highlight of Glow is the 30-metre-high Ferris wheel, which gives you unrestricted panoramic views of Cork city decorated by the colours of Christmas.

Address: Centre, Cork, Ireland

3. Waterford Winterval 

Waterford Winterval is a festive place to celebrate the holiday season

Waterford Winterval is, without doubt, one of the top Christmas markets in Ireland this year, providing a full month of Christmas magic, open from Friday 22 November to Sunday 23 December 2019.

The Waterford Winterval is a Christmas wonderland for kids. The popular Christmas lights show is repeated every thirty minutes every evening during the week, while kids can deposit their letters to Santa in the giant post box.

There is also a vintage funfair, which includes a Ferris wheel, carousel, ice-skating, and a live animal crib, while Santa takes a break in the city with his grotto to meet and greet the children who await him.

Local choirs and musical groups provide the seasonal entertainment as you take your pick from the unique local craft and food. End the night on the Winterval Express, which takes you on a tranquil 30-minute route through the compact city. 

2. Belfast Continental Christmas Market

The Belfast Christmas Market is one of the best Christmas markets in Ireland this year
Credit: Market Place Europe

Overlooked by the City Hall in the heart of the city centre is the Belfast Christmas Market, which is already underway until 22 December. The market opens from 10 to 8pm Monday to Wednesday, 10 to 10pm Thursday to Saturday, and 1 to 6pm on Sunday.

Over 30 international traders offer you their very own and unique taste of Christmas on the grounds of City Hall, with French crepes, Kangaroo burgers, and Dutch pancakes being but a few of the treats on offer.

The market is also perfect for stocking fillers or intimate presents, with a range of authentic and handmade gifts on show, while Santa is on hand to take requests from visiting children.

Break up your time with a drink in the bustling beer tent, and take a look over the city with a go on the Ferris wheel.

Address: Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS

1. Galway Continental Christmas Market

One of the best Christmas markets in Ireland can be found in Galway

The Galway Christmas Market is underway for 2019, opening its doors on Friday 15 November, and will overtake the iconic Eyre Square until Saturday 22 December.

The market is now into its tenth year and is its best yet. A 32-metre wheel keeps an eye on the city, accompanied by a carousel, Apres Ski Bar, Santa’s Express Train, puppet shows, and live entertainment and performance.

Food fans are spoiled for choice. Like in Belfast, it’s a continental market and includes some of the world’s finest dishes, such as French pastries and traditional German stein.

Open from 12pm to 8pm Monday to Wednesday and 10am to 10pm Thursday to Sunday, Ireland’s top Christmas Market is a great place to spend some time in the lead-up to Christmas.

Address: Eyre Square, Galway, Ireland

Christmas is a special time of year anywhere in the world, but celebrate it in style with a trip to any of these top five Christmas markets in Ireland during this festive period.

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Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

Dan O'Muirigh is a keen travel writer from Belfast, County Antrim. He is a passionate sports man who plays Gaelic football for Naomh Gall GAC. He recently graduated with a degree in Law but instead wants to pursue a career in writing. He loves Ireland and believes the island offers something for everyone. He has immersed himself into the country by playing Irish sports, taking part in the culture and learning the Irish language.