Howaya! This is a fairly honest guide to Christmas markets in Ireland in 2020.
I’m including markets that I’ve been to and can vouch for, or that friends have visited and have raved about.
I’ve also included info on where to stay for people on a budget and advice on swanky spots for those of you happy to splash the cash.
Below, you’ll find a guide to the best Christmas Markets Ireland has to offer, info on what’s on, when they start and all of that craic along with advice on where to stay if you’re visiting one.
Here’s a quick overview – keep scrollin’ to read about each one in detail!
6 of the Best Christmas Markets In Ireland 2020
- The Galway Christmas Markets
- Winterval Waterford
- The Dublin Christmas Market
- Belfast Christmas Market
- Christmas in Cork (Glow)
- The Wicklow Christmas Market
1. The Galway Christmas Markets (November 15th – December 22nd, 2020)
The Galway Christmas Markets are arguably the most popular Christmas markets in Ireland.
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 on for 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.
Watch the below video – it’ll give you all the feels.
There’s also amusements to keep the kids happy and a beer tent where you can rest your feet for a few hours and nurse a stein or three.
Tip: Visit the German beer tent in Eyre Square for Bavarian brews, salty pretzels, sauerkraut and craic in abundance EARLY IN THE DAY. There’s a queue to get in from around 17:00. When the tents close, there are tonnes of great pubs in Galway to ramble into.
2. The Belfast Christmas Markets (November 16th – December 22nd, 2020)
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.
Tip: If you post Santa a letter in his post box (on 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 are heaps of great things to do in Belfast!
3. Glow Cork (November 29th – December 22nd, 2020)
I’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 the Cork Christmas market 2020. If you’re planning a visit, expect delicious artisan food, vintage carousel rides, choral performances, mulled wine and entertainment galore.
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 (November 23rd – December 23rd, 2020)
When it comes to Christmas Markets, Waterford doesn’t mess 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 the many stalls, or take the kids to visit Santa’s Grotto, the Toy Museum and the Winterval Express Train.
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.
5. The Wicklow Christmas Market (November 23rd – December 15th)
This is one of the newer Christmas markets in Ireland.
The Wicklow Christmas market takes place in the Abbey Grounds in Wicklow town.
Those that visit this market can expect:
- Stalls buckling beneath artisan foods
- Hand-made decorations and gifts
- Food and drink
- A craft market
- Gingerbread decorating workshops
- A Ski lodge bar
- Santa Express
AND AN ALPACA EXPERIENCE!
6. Christmas Markets in Dublin (November 15th – December 23rd, 2020)
Update: a new Christmas market in Dublin Castle has just been announced and it sounds brilliant!
When it comes to Christmas markets, Dublin has been a bit… meh.
We’ve had little makeshift markets here and there over the years (e.g. the one in the CHQ on the quays) that have never packed much of a punch.
I’ve always found this a bit mad.
There’s plenty of perfect spots for a large Christmas Market in Dublin. St. Stephen’s Green, in particular, would be the perfect venue.
The most notable market in the city was the Dublin Flea market (which was brilliant), but they announced in mid-2020 that this years’s market wouldn’t be going ahead.
Here’s what happened according to the organisers
Over the last six months we have tried our best to figure out the future of the Dublin Flea Christmas Market. We have applied for numerous grant applications, reached out to scores of organisations, individuals and public bodies for support and investigated as many viable alternative venues as possible. However, sadly we have come to the heavy realisation that, at this time, there is insufficient infrastructure and support for an event of this type and scale in Dublin city.
If you’re looking to visit a Christmas market in Dubin in 2019, don’t fret
While there’s no large market taking place, there are several small ones (along with numerous festive events) scattered across the county.
Here are a few to try out:
- The Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market
- The Ha’penny Christmas market at the Grand Social
- Christmas At Smithfield
- The MART Market
- The Bernard Shaw Flea Market
- Winter Funderland
- The Annual Christmas Lights Switch On
‘Sure, why would you bother visiting an Irish Christmas Market?’
You often hear people talking negatively about Irish Christmas markets.
And it’s understandable, to an extent.
I’ve been to many festive markets in Ireland over the years and some… well, some are pretty crap.
Others, however, are brilliant and well worth visiting.
Wrapping up the guide with some FAQS
Below, you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions that we get about Christmas Markets In Ireland.
If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, ask away in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you.
Does Ireland have Christmas markets?
Yes, there are several Irish Christmas Markets that you can visit. Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Wicklow, Waterford, and Galway all host excellent Christmas Markets between November and December each year.
Does Dublin have Christmas markets?
The only consistent Christmas Market in Dublin has been the one that takes place in the Dublin Flea Market. Unfortunately, that’s no longer running in 2020. Others have popped up across the city over the years, but none have been overly fantastic.
What is there to do in Ireland at Christmas?
If you’re visiting Ireland at Christmas time and you don’t fancy visiting a market, you can still explore much of the island. Just keep in mind that the days are shorter during the winter months.
What is Ireland like at Christmas?
Personally, I love Ireland at Christmas, and during the months leading up to it. There’s a Christmassy buzz in most places that you visit, the weather is crisp, and the pubs are cosy.