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Dublin Christmas Lights 2020 Switch-On: The Lights Are Coming Back (But There’s No Event)

Dublin Christmas Lights 2020 Switch-On: The Lights Are Coming Back (But There’s No Event)

Since publishing our guide to the Dublin Christmas markets, we’ve had a rake-load of messages asking about the dates for the Dublin Christmas lights 2020 switch-on.

Unfortunately, Dublin no longer has one big switch-on of the city’s Christmas lights. This is due to two events that took place in 2016 and again in 2017 (you can find info on this below).

In 2019, there was a more gradual turn-on that took place across the city. In 2020, it looks like much of the same is to be expected.

Dublin Christmas lights 2020

Photo by Tony Pleavin

Dublin Christmas Lights 2020 Switch-On

DublinTown, the group that represents 2,500 businesses in Dublin City, has confirmed that there will be no event to mark the Dublin Christmas lights switch in 2020.

In fairness, there hasn’t been an event since 2018 (info below). The lights will be shining bright on 26 streets in the city centre, including Grafton Street, Henry Street and more.

For some reason, there was no clear date (that we can see, anyway) for when the lights would go on. 

One thing that was confirmed was that the much-loved Nollaig Shona Duit Christmas lights sign will be back in 2020.

Christmas lights Dublin 2020: Why is there no big switch-On

dublin castle Christmas market

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

I always remember there big a big fuss about the switching on of the Dublin Christmas lights when I was a kid.

While we (my Mam and Dad and I) never went into the switch-on, there were always families on our street that’d go in to see the city being lit up.

It was a tradition for many, which is why it’s such a shame that there’s no longer a switching-on event. Here’s why:


The demise all started at the 2016 event. Everything was scheduled to take place as normal. There was even a concert scheduled that included Hermitage Green and the cast of the Gaiety Panto due to take to the stage.

Things went downhill when a large crowd turned up to the event, which resulted in DublinTown, the organisers, having to call the whole thing off.

It’s said that the mild weather resulted in crowds much large than expected attending the event, which had to be called off for health and safety reasons.


2017 was a bit of a disaster, also. There were two events to mark the switching on of the Dublin Christmas lights, one on O’Connell Street and another on Grafton Street. 

By all accounts, the one of Grafton Street went to plan. However, the one on O’Connell Street was a bit of a mess.

There was a parade that was due to move down O’Connell Street, and thousands of people were waiting to see it arrive. Unfortunately, the street became too congested and the parade couldn’t make its way through the swarms of people.


In 2018, the Dublin Christmas lights were switched on over the course of 30 days via an event called ‘Winter Lights Dublin City’. 

This event went smoothly and it appeared that there may be hope for those families that had a Dublin Christmas lights switch on tradition.

However, there was no such event in 2019. And there’s none for 2020, either.

Christmas markets in Dublin

Dun Laoghaire Christmas market 2020

Photos via

Although there’s no bit Christmas lights switch-on in Dublin in 2020 to look forward to, there are some confirmed Christmas markets in Dublin set to take place if all goes to plan.

In particular, the recently announced Mistletown Christmas market and the (hopefully soon to be announced!) Dublin Castle Christmas market, will both be worth a visit.

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