3 Christmas Markets In Ireland That Are Taking Place In 2020

A festive guide

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

YES! There will be Christmas markets in Ireland in 2020 if all goes to plan!

Although 2020 has been the weirdest year that many of us have ever experienced, there are a number of Christmas markets still taking place. Once things don’t deteriorate further over the coming months, that is…

A number of markets, like the Galway Christmas Markets, have confirmed that they’ll be going ahead in 2020, while others, like the Dublin Castle Christmas Market, are still TBC.

Christmas Markets in Ireland in 2020

Visiting a Christmas market in Ireland has become a popular Irish Christmas tradition over the last 7 years or so. There’s a buzz around festival markets that’s hard to bate, to be fair! 

In the guide below, you’ll discover the best Christmas markets Ireland has to offer, from big set-ups, like the one in Galway, to smaller markets, like the one in Wicklow! Dive on in!

1. Waterford Winterval: December 4th to 23rd

winterval waterford 2021
Photo by Madrugada Verde (Shutterstock)

The folks running Waterford Winterval have confirmed that the markets in Waterford City will return on December 4th and will run until the 23rd.

Happy days! Now, unsurprisingly enough, the Waterford Christmas markets have had to switch things up for 2020, with a number of changes announced (read about them here).

Some of the features that you’ll remember from previous years, such as the big market, the ice skating rink and the Illuminates feature will be taking a break in 2020.

However, many other festive favourites, like the Winterval Train, the now-iconic 32 metre high Waterford Eye and more will be going strong in 2020.

2. The Wicklow Christmas Market: December 4th – 22nd

the wicklow Christmas market
Photo via the Wicklow Christmas Market

Our next Irish Christmas market is one of the newer Christmas markets Ireland has to offer. The Wicklow Christmas market takes place in the Abbey Grounds in Wicklow town.

Like Waterford Winterval, these markets are being reimagined for 2020 and the people running the event are redesigning the entire experience in light of the current situation.

The Wicklow Christmas Markets will take place on Dec 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st & 22nd (Friday 2-8pm Sat & Sun 10-8pm).

Those that visit can expect a Santa Express experience, an ALPACA experience, a magical funfair, craft stalls, food, fire shows and much more.

3. Glow Cork: November 18th to January 10th

Cork Christmas Market 2019
Photo via Glow Cork on FB

The Cork Christmas Markets (Glow Cork) are one of several Christmas markets in Ireland that tend to get overlooked by many looking to visit a festive event in Ireland.

Which is a shame, as Glow Cork packs a fine punch! Every year, Cork City’s Grand Parade and Bishop Lucey Park house the Cork Christmas market. 

Glow has also been re-imagined for 2020 – the Ferris wheel will still be dominating the Cork City skyline and the city street will be scattered with lights, but the usual market stalls won’t be there.

4. The Galway Christmas Markets: Cancelled

galway Christmas markets 2020
Photo left: Rihardzz. Right: mark_gusev (Shutterstock)

The Galway Christmas Markets are arguably the most popular Christmas markets in Ireland. They’re officially the longest-running, anyway!

The Galway Christmas markets have been on the go for over seven years which, considering the Munich markets are running for over 200 years, really isn’t that long.

As you’ve probably guessed at this stage, the 2020 markets won’t be going ahead this year (although there is an event for kids from December 3rd).

However, Galway is lit up nice and bright, as always, this year which means that it’s still a Christmassy spot for a wander after the sun has dropped.

5. The Belfast Christmas Markets: Cancelled

Christmas market belfast 2020
One of our favourite Christmas markets in Ireland: Photo by stenic56/shutterstock.com

The Belfast Christmas Markets is another of the more popular Christmas market Ireland has to offer, and it’s been on the go for over 11 years now!

Each year, Belfast’s City Hall is transformed into a traditional German-style Christmas market, packed to the brim with 90 masterfully handcrafted wooden chalets.

For the first time in 15 years, the Belfast Christmas markets won’t be lighting up Northern Ireland’s capital.

If you’re living in Belfast and you’re in search of some festive things to do, your best bet is to head to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (reopening December 3rd). There’s a Christmas garden trail for kids.

6. Christmas Markets in Dublin: TBC

dublin castle Christmas market
Photo by The Irish Road Trip

If you’ve had a flick through our Dublin Christmas Market guide, you’ll know that there are usually several different markets that take place each year (plus several newcomers!).

Some, like the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market, has been on the go a long time while others, like the Dublin Castle Christmas market, are more recent additions.

At the time of typing, there are now Christmas markets confirmed for Dublin this year. However, it was mid-December last year when the Dublin Castle market was announced.

So, here’s hoping!  There were also a number of small Christmas markets in Dublin last year, like the one on/near St. Stephen’s Green, the Swords Castle Christmas market and another, as far as I can remember, in Howth.

Whether these will go ahead in 2020 is still unknown.

FAQs about markets, light switch-ons and Christmas in Ireland 2020

Christmas in killarney
Photo by Brian Morrison

So, we’ve had a lot of emails over the last couple of weeks about the various different Christmas markets Ireland has to offer and what the craic is in 2020.

The honest answer to the majority of the questions is ‘Who Knows?!’. Things could change over the next week and we could end up having no markets at all.

Or everything could be grand (hopefully…) and Christmas in Ireland in 2020 will be like any other year. Here’s some of the most FAQs we’ve received.

What Irish Christmas markets have been confirmed for 2020?

So far, the only Irish Christmas markets that have confirmed that they are going ahead are Waterford Winterval, Glow Cork and the Wicklow markets (dates above).

What are the best Christmas markets in Ireland in 2020?

  1. The Galway Continental Christmas market
  2. The Belfast Christmas markets
  3. Waterford Winterval
  4. Glow Cork
  5. The Dublin Castle Christmas market
  6. The Wicklow Christmas market

If you could only pick one, which market would you visit?

If it was me, I’d visit the Galway Continental Christmas market. You can easily spend your first day spinning around the market, eating in the city’s restaurants and sipping away in the many cosy pubs Galway has to offer.

You can spend your second day off exploring Connemara, hiking on Diamond Hill, spinning along the Sky Road in Clifden or rambling around Kylemore Abbey.

Is the Dublin Flea market not going ahead?

Unfortunately, the organisers of the Dublin Flea Christmas market announced last year that they were no longer able to go ahead due to a lack of venue. Hopefully, this’ll come back at some point.

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!

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