Christmas Markets In Ireland 2020: 6 Of The Best Festive Markets To Visit This Year

A festive guide

Christmas markets in Ireland 2020
Left photo by Rihardzz. Right by Paddy Finn (shutterstock.com)

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

  1. The Galway Christmas Markets 
  2. Winterval Waterford
  3. The Dublin Christmas Market
  4. Belfast Christmas Market
  5. Christmas in Cork (Glow)
  6. The Wicklow Christmas Market
Christmas in killarney
Photo by Brian Morrison

1. The Galway Christmas Markets (November 15th – December 22nd, 2020)

Galway Christmas market 2020
Photo by Rihardzz/shutterstock.com

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.

It has been confirmed that Galway Christmas Market 2020 will return to Galway City on November 15th and will run until December 22nd for 5 weeks.

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.

Where to stay

I’ll break the accommodation up into two categories; one for those of you on a budget and another for those happy to splash out:

Budget

€100+ accommodation

Note: the prices above are based on the first Friday in December at the time of writing. And yep, these are affiliate links. You won’t get charged extra if you book, but I’ll get a small (and I mean small) commission that’ll go towards running this site.

2. The Belfast Christmas Markets (November 16th – December 22nd, 2020)

Christmas market belfast 2020
Photo by stenic56/shutterstock.com

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.

The Belfast Christmas Market runs from November 16th to December 22nd.

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!

Where to stay

I’ll break the accommodation up into two categories; one for those of you on a budget and another for those happy to splash out:

Budget

€100+ accommodation

Note: the prices above are based on the first Friday in December at the time of writing. And yep, these are affiliate links. You won’t get charged extra if you book, but I’ll get a small (and I mean small) commission that’ll go towards running this site.

3. Glow Cork (November 29th – December 22nd, 2020)

Cork Christmas Market 2019
Photo via Glow Cork on FB

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.

Update: The official dates for Glow Cork are November 29th – December 22nd, 2020.

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.

Where to stay

I’ll break the accommodation up into two categories; one for those of you on a budget and another for those happy to splash out:

Budget

€100+ accommodation

Note: the prices above are based on the first Friday in December at the time of writing. And yep, these are affiliate links. You won’t get charged extra if you book, but I’ll get a small (and I mean small) commission that’ll go towards running this site.

4. Waterford Winterval (November 23rd – December 23rd, 2020)

waterford winterval festival
Photo by Patrick Browne via Failte Ireland

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.

Waterford Winterval has been confirmed to take place on Friday, Saturdays and Sunday from November 23rd. It’ll take place every day from December 18th-23rd.

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.

Where to stay

I’ll break the accommodation up into two categories; one for those of you on a budget and another for those happy to splash out:

Budget

€100+ accommodation

Note: the prices above are based on the first Friday in December at the time of writing. And yep, these are affiliate links. You won’t get charged extra if you book, but I’ll get a small (and I mean small) commission that’ll go towards running this site.

5. The Wicklow Christmas Market (November 23rd – December 15th)

the wicklow Christmas market

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

Oh.

AND AN ALPACA EXPERIENCE!

The Wicklow Christmas markets take place on November 23rd, 24th and 30th and December 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th

Where to stay

I’ll break the accommodation up into two categories; one for those of you on a budget and another for those happy to splash out:

Budget

€100+ accommodation

Note: the prices above are based on the first Friday in December at the time of writing. And yep, these are affiliate links. You won’t get charged extra if you book, but I’ll get a small (and I mean small) commission that’ll go towards running this site.

6. Christmas Markets in Dublin (November 15th – December 23rd, 2020)

Dublin Christmas market
Photo by Tony Pleavin

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.

Related read: Check out Dublin Christmas market 2020 guide.

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:

  1. The Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market
  2. The Ha’penny Christmas market at the Grand Social
  3. Christmas At Smithfield
  4. The MART Market
  5. The Bernard Shaw Flea Market
  6. Winter Funderland
  7. The Annual Christmas Lights Switch On

Where to stay

I’ll break the accommodation up into two categories; one for those of you on a budget and another for those happy to splash out:

For those on a budget

We’ve prepared a full guide to the best hostels in Dublin that you can browse through.

Keep in mind that you won’t find an overly cheap hostel in the city unless you opt to stay in a dorm.

Places below the €200* mark

*The below prices are based on a Friday in September

‘Sure, why would you bother visiting an Irish Christmas Market?’

galway Christmas markets 2019
Photo via GalwayTourism.ie

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.

Why you should consider visiting one in 2020

There’s something wonderfully Christmassy about throwing on some warm winter gear and sauntering around a chilly Christmas market.

Lob in a dash of festive atmosphere and a steamy cup of hot chocolate (or mulled wine) and you’re laughing.

Lots of European cities boast globally renowned markets, but you don’t have to dig out your passport and hop on a plane to visit one for yourself.

Wrapping up the guide with some FAQS

pub in meath from guinness Christmas ad

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.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

1 COMMENT

  1. Awww you didn’t mention The Boatyard Market in Greystones @boatyardmarket on facebook. Fab little fundraiser for Greystones Tidy Towns and St Vincent de Paul. Over 35 traders every Saturday and Sunday in December. Santa on a Sunday!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.