From around this time each year, my inbox starts hoppin’ with questions about ‘The Dublin Christmas Market’.
My reply, up until last year, went a little like: ‘So, there isn’t really a Christmas market in Dublin. There are a few small ones, but no big German-style the ones like Belfast or Galway’.
Then, last year, there were several new Christmas markets in Dublin launched and this year, in 2020, there’s another one to add to the list.
The best Christmas markets Dublin has to offer
Look, let’s call a spade a spade for a minute – who knows what Christmas in Dublin is going to be like this year. Will there be Christmas markets in Dublin in 2020? Who knows!
We don’t even know if we’ll be able to leave the county! However, while things are completely up in the air this year, there has been some confirmation on the Christmas market front.
Several of the markets below, along with a number of the other Christmas markets Ireland has to offer, have confirmed that they’ll go ahead if all goes to plan.
Below, you’ll find what we believe are the best Christmas markets Dublin has to offer, from old favourites, like the Dun Laoghaire Christmas markets, to newcomers, like Mistletown.
1. The Dublin Castle Christmas market
Last December, the Dublin Castle Christmas market arrived out of nowhere (it was first mentioned in the news in mid-December) and it went down reasonably well.
Now, this one hasn’t been confirmed for 2020, but it only started halfway through December last year (December 12th – December 22nd), so it might be a while before anything is mentioned.
Last year, Dublin Castle was finely decked out in fairy lights and the entrance to the castle grounds was lined with 100+ of Christmas trees.
Inside the castle grounds, there were 30+ stalls selling the usual stuff you find at Christmas markets and there was also carol singing, drink stands and a vintage carousel.
Arguably the biggest attraction of this Dublin Christmas market was the complimentary access to the traditionally decorated State apartments in the castle.
2. The Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market
The Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market is one of the longest-running Christmas markets Dublin has to offer.
The Dun Laoighaire Christmas markets has the usual stalls offering hand-made gifts, festive treats, gourmet sausages and all of that craic.
It also has a very random feature: the Ferris Wheel from the movie Grease… yes, Grease. There’s also a vintage funfair, a tonne of lights and Santa’s Post Box.
While the dates for this years’ markets are TBC, if we go off last years’ dates of Saturday 30th November – Monday 23rd December, we can make a stab at guessing it’ll run from the 28th to the 23rd.
3. Mistletown Christmas market Dublin
The recently announced Mistletown Christmas market is set to be the largest Christmas market in Dublin in 2020 and the biggest indoor market in Ireland.
Held inside the iconic wholesale fruit and vegetable market near Smithfield, the Mistletown Christmas market is due to run from December 5th to December 23rd 2020.
Those that visit can expect 70+ stalls offering everything from crafts and food to hand-made gifts, trinkets and more.
There’s also a vintage carnival with a wooden wheel, a junior carousel, games and an old school helter-skelter ride.
Entertainment wise, there’ll be a bar selling the usual festive drinks along with live entertainment taking place.
4. The Christmas Market in Swords Castle
Next up is arguably the most frequently overlooked Christmas market Dublin has to offer – the Swords Castle Christmas market.
If you fancy visiting a Christmas market in Dublin within the grounds of an old castle, then this one should be right up your street.
The Swords Christmas market takes place in Swords Castle, a stone’s throw from the Pavillion Shopping Centre (handy for parking).
Now, like the Dublin Castle Christmas market, the dates for this one are TBC. Last year, it ran, weirdly, for the last weekend in November and for one day at the start of December…
Those that visit this Dublin Christmas market can expect everything from carol singing and Christmas music in a purpose-built heated marquee to mulled wine, stalls and more.
5. Inreda Christmas in Clontarf Castle Fair
Right, this next one is actually a fair – but keep readin’. The reason that I’m including it is that it’s on in Clontarf Castle.
If you haven’t been to Clontarf Castle at Christmas then you’re in for a treat – the whole place is lit up beautifully from late November and it has a deadly Christmassy buzz about it.
It’s nearly worth visiting for a coffee (or a pint) and just soaking up the festive buzz. The Inreda Christmas Fair (dates and info TBC) takes place at the castle towards the end of November.
As this is a fair, you can expect arts, crafts, and some seasonal bites. If you visit, head for a ramble around the castle – it’s like Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series when Christmas comes round.
6. Other markets and fairs on in Dublin this Christmas
I’ve had a good whack of emails in response to this guide, with people making suggestions on markets and fairs they recommend.
Here’s a handful of other Christmas markets in Dublin (and fairs) that are hopefully going to take place in 2020:
The Stephen’s Green Christmas market
The Stephen’s Green Christmas Market kicked off on Sunday, November 24th, last year and ran for 5 weeks in The Well on St Stephens Green.
The market featured 50+ traders, with tasty bites and brews from the Dublin Pizza Company along with mulled wine, coffee and Christmas treats.
The Terenure Christmas market
The market in Terenure enters its 20th year in 2020, making it one of the longest-running Christmas markets in Dublin.
The Terenure Christmas Tree (and 6th Bumper Craft) Market takes place on the last Saturday of November, in the Car Park on Terenure Road North.
Expect Santa, a giant Polar Bear, mulled wine and non-alcoholic drinks, and 45+ stalls with hot food and crafts.
The Dublin Flea Christmas market
So, when I went to update this guide I was hopeful that the Dublin Flea Christmas market would be in it. However, it doesn’t look like it’s going ahead in 2020.
Last year, they announced that they couldn’t find a venue. We had hoped that they’d have been able to secure one this year, but it doesn’t sound likely, unfortunately.
Spending Christmas in Dublin? Here are 8 festive things to do!
OK, there are only a few markets above, so I’ve whacked in some other festive things to do at Christmas in Dublin this year.
I’ll add more to the list below when pantos, carols, and other events are announced closer to November (find loads more things to do in the city in our guide on what to do in Dublin).
1. Have a ramble around the city and check out the lights
Like many of Ireland’s towns and cities, Dublin is completely lit up during the festive period. However, the Christmas light switch on in Dublin has gone a*se ways over the year.
For a number of years, there was a big switch on that people travelled in to see. However, those running the event couldn’t control the crowds, and it was cancelled.
Grab a cup of coffee and take a little stroll around O’Connell Street, Henry Street, Grafton Street and just follow the lights. Finish the festive ramble off with a bite to eat in one of the best restaurants in Dublin.
2. Catch a festive flick on a screen the size of 2 double-decker buses
Fancy watching the Santa Clause, ELF, Home Alone or Love Actually on a big aul screen from the comfort of your car?
The lads at Retro Drive-In have confirmed that they’re coming back in 2020. Retro Drive-In is an outdoor cinema that takes place at Leopardstown each year.
If it’s lashing rain and you don’t fancy getting drenched while sauntering around a Dublin Christmas market, take refuge in your car and catch a festive flick.
3. Visit some Christmassy pubs for a cosy pint and a chat with friends
Dublin’s home to many a pub, but some go all out during November and December with Christmas decorations.
The Hole in the Wall pub is one of those places that you need to visit at Christmas if you haven’t nipped by already.
The folks here go all out decorating from November, and the result is incredibly special! Find loads more bars to visit in our guide to the best pubs in Dublin.
4. Celebrate Christmas at Glasnevin
Visit Santa at the Botanic Gardens and soak up some of the festive atmosphere as you listen to a live choir in the historic Glasnevin.
If this goes ahead, and if it follows last years format, they’ll be a Christmas market with around 50 gorgeous stalls brimming with treats and gift ideas.
5. Kick-back to some Christmas carols
There’s an absolute tonne of different Christmas carol events you can visit in Dublin at Christmas, however, they’re usually indoor.
With that being said, we can expect to see a number of carol services move outside once the Christmas period arrives. We’ll update this guide when they’re announced.
Dublin Christmas lights 2020 switch-on
The Dublin Christmas lights switch-on has been a bit hit and miss for the last couple of years. And that’s putting it mildly.
In 2017, the Christmas switch-on parade on O’Connell Street had to be cancelled due to concerns of overcrowding.
In 2018, an event titled ‘Winter Lights Dublin City’ saw 12 different iconic sights lit up throughout Dublin City for 30 days instead.
It’s likely that the Dublin Christmas lights will be switched on in a similar manner in 2020.
FAQs about Dublin at Christmas
We get tonnes of emails every year asking about Dublin at Christmas. Naturally enough, 2020 is going to be a fair bit different.
I’ve popped in the most FAQs below. If you have one that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section.
Will the Dublin Christmas markets go ahead this year?
It’s hard to know. That’s the honest answer. It’s currently early October and it’s looking like we won’t be able to leave our counties for a while.
If this stays as it is, the markets will likely go ahead, as there’ll be enough people living in Dublin to keep them going. If we move up from level 3, it’s unlikely they’ll take place.
What markets are DEFINITELY coming back if all goes to plan?
The only Dublin Christmas market to confirm so far that it’s going ahead in 2020 is the Mistletown Christmas market.
What are the best Christmas Markets in Dublin 2020?
- The Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market
- Swords Christmas market
- The Mistletown Market
- Inreda Christmas Clontarf (Fair)
- The Dublin Castle Christmas Market
And that’s a wrap! Are there any really great things to do in Dublin at Christmas that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!