I heard a lot of good things from people that visited the Cork Christmas Market (aka Glow Cork) last year.
And I, like many, had grand plans to carve out a weekend in December to visit, but, well, you know the story with 2020…
Now, although GLOW Cork will be very different this year, there are still plenty of reasons to visit the city in December for a nosey around.
Cork Christmas Market 2020 (Update)
So, this year GLOW is being ‘Re-Imagined’, like many of the other Christmas markets Ireland has to offer.
Although many of the features from previous years won’t be present, the now-iconic Ferris wheel will be rocking away.
As will the incredible lights that can be found right the way across the city, adding a fine festive buzz to the place.
There’s also a Windows Trail where several windows across the city have been decked out to show various panto shows.
What to expect from Glow Cork 2021
Hopefully, all going to plan, the Cork Christmas markets will be back to normal in 2021. Below, you’ll find out what Cork is usually like at Christmas.
From markets on the Grand Parade to events, shows and more, there’s usually a little bit of something to tickle every fancy.
Markets on the Grand Parade
Cork’s Grand Parade (one of the city’s main streets) is where the main market stalls are based.
The friend that I mentioned earlier who visited the markets here last year raved about the food that he picked up at the stalls (he’d eat anything, though, in all fairness).
Apparently, there’s also some seating in front of the stalls where you can much away and watch the world go by.
Other things to do here:
– Take a spin on the big Ferris Wheel
– Take the kids on the mini Ferris Wheel
– Pick up some hand-made decorations or gifts
Bishop Lucey Park
Cork’s Bishop Lucey Park gets transformed into a Christmas wonderland when the Cork Christmas Market arrives.
Last year, the park was decorated around the theme of ‘The Night Before Christmas in Old Cork’.
Visitors to Glow in Bishop Lucey Park will enter via an ice tunnel, before strolling through streets resembling a Medieval village.
Visitors to the park can:
- Take a peek through the windows of Santa’s house
- Visit the Old Post Office (Padaí the Postman greets and shows kids where to post their letters to Santa)
Other things on at the Cork Christmas Market
I’ll update this guide closer to the launch of the Cork Christmas Markets, as it’s highly likely that more events and attractions will be announced.
Here are a handful of other things to see (note: these were present at last year’s market):
- Local choirs, groups, and bands banging out Christmas favourites
- Santa’s workshop
- The North Pole express toy train
- A merry-go-round
Where to stay if you’re visiting Cork at Christmas
Planning on staying in the city for a couple of nights while you visit the Cork Christmas Markets?
Below, we’ll give you an insight into some places to stay in Cork across several different pricing tiers:
- Looking to spend as little as possible
- Happy to spend a few quid, but nothing mental
- Happy to splash the cash
For those on a budget (€47 to €84)
OK, this section contains hostels, guesthouses, and B&Bs that’ll tickle the fancy of those of you visiting Glow Cork and looking to do it on a budget:
- Sheilas Tourist Hostel – €47 (Rated ‘Good – 7.6’ out of 2,447 reviews on booking.com)
- Kinlay House Hostel Cork – €56 (Rated ‘Good – 7.8’ out of 1,800+ reviews on booking.com)
Guesthouses / Apartments
- Redclyffe Guesthouse – €68 (Rated ‘Good – 7.7’ out of 1,200+ reviews on booking.com)
- Acton Lodge Guesthouse – €84 (Rated ‘Good – 8.2’ out of 640+ reviews on booking.com)
These hotels fall in the middle of our recommended budget-friendly and, potentially, no so budget-friendly rentals:
- The Blarney Stone Guesthouse – €129 (Rated ‘Superb – 9.2’ out of 900+ reviews on booking.com)
- The Montenotte Hotel – €137 (Rated ‘Superb – 9.1’ out of 2,400+ reviews on booking.com)
For those not on a budget
If you’re happy to splash the cash for something a little bit swanky, then these next hotels in Cork should be right up your street:
- Maldron Hotel South Mall Cork City – €168 (Rated ‘Superb – 9.1’ out of 1,380+ reviews on booking.com)
- The River Lee Hotel – €170 (Rated ‘Superb – 9.2’ out of 1,500+ reviews on booking.com)
Have you visited the Cork Christmas markets in the past? What did you think? Let me know in the comments section below!