Galway Christmas Markets 2020 Have Been Cancelled

Everything you need to know about the 2020 markets

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

It’s been confirmed – the Galway Christmas markets 2020 won’t be going ahead.

Arguably one of the most popular Christmas markets in Ireland, the Christmas markets in Galway give the already buzzy city of tribes an extra layer of deadliness. 

However, this year will be the first in a long time that the markets won’t be taking place in the city which, although not surprising, is a damn shame.

What’s the story with the 2020 Galway Christmas markets?

Christmas markets in Galway 2020
Photo by Paddy Finn/

So, up until mid-October, we were all under the impression that the 2020 Galway Christmas Markets would be going ahead.

It was around this time that Maria Moynihan Lee, the woman behind the Galway Christmas markets, announced that a number of new measures will be put in place to ensure that the Galway Christmas markets ran smoothly.

Speaking to the Connacht Tribune, she said, ‘What we’re doing is very detailed planning and working with the Council on making the market happen. It will be the same market in the way people know it to be and it will meet all expectations, but there will be a huge level of control.’

Then the Galway Christmas Markets 2020 were cancelled completely

Galway Christmas market 2020
Photo by Rihardzz/

Then, on October 14th, those running the Galway Christmas Markets announced on their official Facebook page that this year’s markets would be going ahead.

They explained that, ‘there will be no activity on Eyre Sq for Christmas 2020. It is with great disappointment that we received the news, unexpected at this early remove, that Galway City Council CEO had taken a decision that there will be no activity on Eyre Sq for Christmas 2020.’

Although measures were put in place to ensure the safe running of a ‘re-imagined event’, it would have only been possible under level 2 restrictions.

Christmas in Galway: Is there any point in visiting?

Christmas in Galway
Photo by the Irish Road Trip

YES! If you can still visit Galway safely, you definitely should. Even without the Galway Christmas Markets 2020, Galway City is bursting with a buzzy festive atmosphere.

The City is lit up with what are arguably some of the most impressive Christmas lights put up by any town or city in Ireland.

And there’s still a clatter of things to do in Galway that make it the perfect place to spend a weekend this December.

What to expect if you plan on visiting the Galway Christmas Markets in 2021

So, hopefully I’ll be updating this guide to the Galway Christmas Markets next year and this whole nightmare that is 2020 will be just a distant memory.

If you fancy visiting Galway at Christmas in 2021, here’s a bit of what you can expect, aside from the many great pubs in Galway and the endless number of great restaurants in Galway.

Stands, stalls, food and German beer

All going to plan, the 2021 Galway Christmas Markets will feature many of the stalls and feature that were present during the previous years. There’ll be:

  • The 32 metre Big Wheel
  • A traditional Carousel
  • An Après Ski Bar
  • Santa’s Express Train
  • Live performances
  • Carol singing 
  • A German Bierkeller (there’ll be a range of traditional German beers on offer here)

Galway Christmas Markets: Are they worth visiting?

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

I’ve been visiting Galway at Christmas every year for the past 5 or 6 years at this stage. If I’m completely honest, they have, in my opinion, deteriorated a bit over the past two years.

Now, before you jump down my throat, hear me out. When I visit a Christmas market in Ireland or abroad, I like to ramble around for a while, soak up the atmosphere, grab some food from the stalls and then head for a few pints.

While the city is still incredible to ramble around at Christmas and the food options are as good as ever, the spots to drink have gone downhill big time.

Back 3 or 4 years ago, there were two great spots to grab a pint:

  1. The beer tent on Eyre Square
  2. The little chalet thing down near Spanish Arch

The beer tent 

This has gone to the dogs over the last couple of years; The queues are insane, you can’t get in unless you arrive insanely early, and it’s full of kids.

The Chalet near Spanish Arch

This was a ridiculously Christmassy chalet-style building near Spanish Arch that was a lot calmer than the Galway beer tent.

You could chill, grab a beer and it was a bit like something you’d see in Switzerland or Germany.

I’ve been hoping that this would make another appearance for the past 2 years, but I’m not holding my breath. If you’re not fussed about having a drink, then you should still enjoy it! 

FAQs about the Christmas markets in Galway over the years?

We’ve received a fairly mental number of emails asking about the 2020 markets. Here’s everything we know so far:

Are the markets coming back in 2020?

No. Unfortunatel the Galway Christmas Markets 2020 will not be taking place.

What are the dates for the markets in 2020?

It was hoped that the markets would kick off at 18:00 on Friday 13th November and would run until Sunday 20th December 2020, but that won’t be the case.

What will there be at the markets in 2021?

There’ll be everything from the usual food and drink stalls to live performances, amusements and plenty more.

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. I love Christmas Markets, be they home or abroad. My first Christmas Market abroad was Prague. Beautiful beyond words. Second Christmas Market was Austria and third was Berlin! Each of these markets were unique, but very enjoyable. They weren’t all about food, there were plenty of stalls and unique seating (wooden barrels made into seating) and best of all, Mugs of mulled wine, with the name of the City as a keep sake, obviously to be bought, but worth it. I collected mugs from Prague and Austria and beautiful glasses from Berlin. Nice to look at these and remember how enjoyable the markets abroad are. In Galway, you get either a plastic cup with your mulled wine, or an ordinary glass, nothing to remember I’m afraid.

  2. Mary – agree on all points. I’ve been to Berlin, Cologne and Basel, all different but brilliant. The deposit on the mugs there is only €2, great as a keepsake. The markets here, when they’re established, should do similar. Also better for the environment. You’ve put an idea in my head and this year, I’ll bring my reusable mug to Galway with me and hopefully there won’t be an issue.

  3. Having come to Galway this year specifcally to go to the marlet, my family and I were bitterly dissappointed. There appeared to be fewer stalls than previous years, food items were overpriced and when I got a mulled wine it appeaered to be just warm wine with no hint of spices or sweetness. A lot of the vendors appeared to be disinterested and were either talking among themselves or had their heads buried in their phones. I am afraid this will be my last visit to the Galway Christmas market.


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