There’s something wonderfully Christmassy about throwing on some cosy winter gear and strolling around a chilly Christmas market, while soaking up the festive atmosphere and wrapping your hands around a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Lots of European cities like Munich, Prague and Berlin boast globally known Yuletide markets, but you don’t have to dig out your passport and travel hours on a plane to experience one for yourself.

Over the past seven or eight years, a handful of cracking markets (see what I did there?) have popped up across Ireland, posing the perfect opportunity for those on the hunt for a Christmas market experience that’s closer to home.

If you’re in search of some Christmas markets in Ireland, here’s five of the best to visit in 2018!

1 – The Galway Christmas Markets / Christmas in Galway – Date TBC

Christmas markets in galway
Photo by Michael Dillon

Proudly donning the title of Ireland’s longest running Christmas market, the Galway Christmas markets have been on the go for over six years which, considering the Munich markets are over 200 years, really isn’t that long.

The markets span across Galway City from Eyre Square to Spanish Arch, boasting 50+ stalls buckling under a fine selection of food and drink.

There’s also amusements to keep the kids happy and a couple of beer tents where you can rest your feet for a few hours and nurse a stein or three.

The dates for this year’s markets are still TBC, but we’ll update this post when they’re announced.

Tip: Visit the German beer tent in Eyre Square for Bavarian brews, salty pretzels, sauerkraut and craic in abundance. When the tents close, there are tonnes of great pubs in Galway to ramble into.

2 – The Belfast Christmas Markets 2018 – Dates TBC

belfast Christmas markets 2018
Belfast Christmas Market – By Christopher Heaney

For over eleven years, Belfast’s City Hall has been transformed into a traditional German-style Christmas market, packed to the brim with 90 masterfully handcrafted wooden chalets.

Every year the Belfast Christmas markets play host to traders from Germany, Spain, France, Italy and, of course, Ireland.

Visitors to the markets can gorge on Crepes from France, Belgian chocolates, and giant German bratwurst.

[alert type=white ]Tip: If you post Santa a letter in his post box (in the grounds of the Belfast Christmas Market) by 18th December, you’ll receive a letter back from him! Make sure and explore the city while you visit, there’s heaps of great things to do![/alert]

3 – Glow – A Cork Christmas Celebration 2018 – Dates TBC

cork Christmas market 2018

We’ll gladly embrace any excuse to visit Cork, a county so jammed with beauty and buzz that it’s a must for everyone visiting Ireland.

Thankfully, during the festive period, we’ve one more reason to visit the Rebel County.

Cork City’s Grand Parade and Bishop Lucey Park house Cork’s Christmas markets and, if you’re planning a visit, expect delicious artisan food, vintage carousel rides, choral performances, mulled wine and entertainment galore.

The dates for this year’s markets are still TBC, but we’ll update this post when they’re announced.

Tip: Don’t miss out on a trip up the 30 meter Ferris Wheel which offers outstanding views of the city and the markets below.

4 – Waterford Winterval 2018 – Dates TBC

waterford Christmas market 2018
Photo by Tony Quilty

When it comes to Christmas Markets, Waterford doesn’t fool about.

Every November, the city is transformed into a winter wonderland with activities for all the family to dive into.

Throw on a pair of skates and brave the ice rink, or sit back and relax on the Christmas carousel while munching on some festive food.

Have a wander around and browse some of the many stalls, or take the kids to visit Santa’s Grotto, the Toy Museum and the Winterval Express Train.

The dates for this year’s markets are still TBC, but we’ll update this post when they’re announced.

Tip: Visit the Exploration Dome and enjoy a series of Digital 360 degree movies on everything from the stars in the sky at night, snow creation and much more.

And that's a wrap!
Thinking about visiting some Christmas markets in Ireland this festive season? Let me know in the comments below!