Top 5 reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas

From shopping in Dublin’s high streets to soaking in the joyous holiday atmosphere, there are many great reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas.

Visiting Ireland is always a truly special experience, no matter the time of the year. However, it has to be said that when you visit the shores of the Emerald Isle at Christmas, it’s just that bit more magical.

From its memorable traditions and bustling cities to its remarkable natural phenomena, there is much to see and experience in Ireland at Christmas time.

As one of the best winter destination that will leave you wanting even more, Ireland is a must-visit come December!

In this article, we will list what we believe to be the top five main reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas.

5. Stunning scenery – beautiful all year round

Stunning scenery is one of the main reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

One of the many great things that Ireland is famous for is its beautiful landscapes and stunning scenery. This is something that particularly stands out during the winter season.

There are many majestic mountains to hike and experience throughout Ireland, which, upon reaching the summit, will reward you with amazing panoramic views of the picture-perfect Irish countryside.

Besides mountains, there are also many fairytale-like forests and even beautiful beaches to explore, too, if you are feeling brave enough! 

4. Christmas markets – experience Ireland’s Christmas culture

The Christmas Market is one of the best things to do at Christmas in Belfast.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

What better way to entrench yourself in the Irish Christmas experience and truly explore everything that the Irish Christmas culture has to offer than by visiting any of its many great Christmas markets?

Over the last decade, Christmas markets have become increasingly popular, quickly becoming part of Irish Christmas culture as a tradition.

From Belfast to Dublin, Cork to Wicklow, Galway to the excellent Winterval at Waterford, there is no shortage of brilliant Christmas markets to enjoy.

3. Shopping – find that perfect gift

Shopping is one of the reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

A big part of Christmas in Ireland is, of course, the tradition of gift-giving to one another.

So, where better to find that perfect gift than by going shopping in any of Ireland’s bustling cities, all of whose main streets and excellent shopping centres can cater to your shopping needs?

From Dublin’s Grafton Street and Cork’s Patrick Street to Galway’s Eyre Square and Belfast’s Victoria Square, there are many great stores that will help you find the perfect gifts to make your Christmas special.

You can shop for high-end designer brands at low prices at places like Kildare Village. Or maybe you’d rather source locally crafted homemade Irish gifts at Eyre Square Centre. Whichever you choose, you will come away satisfied with your day of shopping.

2. The Northern Lights – a spectacular natural phenomenon

You need to experience the Northern Lights in Ireland.

One of the best reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas is to experience one of its most magical and extraordinary natural phenomena: the Northern Lights.

The Aurora Borealis visits Ireland’s northernmost shores each winter. So, the best place to witness and marvel at this magnificent phenomenon is on its northern coastline in the beautiful Inishowen Peninsula.

Several providers in Donegal offer excellent Northern Lights photography tours. On these tours, you will be provided with interesting information about the Northern Lights. Plus, guides will also advise you on camera equipment and weather forecasts.

1. The pubs – for a true Irish experience

The pubs is one of the main reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

In first place on our list of top five reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas is its many delightful pubs and bars. These are always full of people in the holiday spirit who are spreading Christmas cheer and enjoying themselves.

It goes without saying that every county in Ireland has their fair share of great pubs and bars. However, the pubs and bars in Galway’s Quay Street and Dublin’s Temple Bar area deserve a special mention.

You are sure to enjoy a true Irish pub Christmas experience with live traditional Irish music, fresh pints of Guinness, a roaring fire to warm yourself by. Sip on a pint surrounded by people who are full of Christmas spirit and having a great time!

So, that concludes our article on what we believe to be the top five reasons to visit Ireland at Christmas. Have you ever visited Ireland at Christmas, and if so, what was your best memory?

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend