If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit, putting on your hat and scarf and walking through a market may do just the trick. The glittery baubles and fairy lights on strings make the dark evenings seem easier on the lead up to the holiday season. We’ve put together a guide to help you experience the festive cheer on your very own doorstep. Here are 5 Christmas Markets in Ireland and Northern Ireland that you can visit this year:
1. Galway Markets
Where: Eyre Square, Galway; 20 minutes off M6, M17 and M18.
When: November 22nd to Late December
The Galway markets are quite popular in Ireland, and for good reason. The centre of Eyre Square, along to the Spanish Arch, is lit brightly with twinkling lights and rows of stalls and chalets to pick up quirky Christmas gifts, ornaments, and warm foods to snack on. You can also pay a visit to the German tents to indulge on waffles and bratwursts, and sip on a Stiegl or two for those of age.
2. Belfast Markets
Where: Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland; 15 minutes off M1 or A12
When: November 16th to December 22nd
The Belfast markets have been running now for 15 years, transforming Belfast’s City Hall into a traditional German-style market with over 90 wooden chalets. You’ll find a range of traders from all across Europe selling plenty of goods to help get you in the holiday spirit. Treat yourself to crepes and hot chocolates while browsing the knick-knacks and ornaments. Plus, if you have little ones in tow, there is a Kids Zone with rides and entertainment. If you decide to leave the kids at home, you may instead choose to spend your day tasting craft beers and wines.
3. Glow Cork
Where: Grand Parade, Cork; <10 minutes off M8 or N20
When: November 15th to December 23rd
Christmas celebrations kick off in Cork towards late November with the Official Lights Switch On in Cork City. From here, the city is lit up with the help of events taking place throughout, including the Glow Markets in Bishop Lucey Park and Grand Parade. If you’re planning on making the trip you’ll find a variety of food stands, a selection of mulled wines and plentiful entertainment for the whole family. From choral shows to a Ferris wheel over looking the city, there’s a sense of magic in the air throughout the festive season.
4. Wicklow Markets
Where: Abbey Grounds Park; 25 minutes off M50
When: November 23rd to December 15th (Saturday & Sunday only)
Set within the magical Abbey Grounds, the Wicklow Christmas Markets truly bring that festive cheer to life. You’ll find stalls full of artisan local foods, a crafts market for decorations, and a Christmas food and beverage court to relax in after your day of shopping. There’s also plenty of entertainment in this Christmas Wonderland, including Santa Express, funfair rides, and an Alpaca farm. Or, you can pay a visit to the Ski Lodge Bar for cocktails and nibbles.
5. Winterval Waterford
Where: Spread across Waterford; 15 minutes off M9 or N25.
When: November 23rd to December 23rd
What better way to start off your holiday season by taking a trip to Ireland’s Christmas Capital in Waterford. You can spend a day amongst the Christmas chalets in the markets, or partake in the many events on offer. Board the Winterval Express train, visit Santa’s medieval Chambers or spend an hour on the ice rink. Afterwards, you can relax under a blanket with a glass of prosecco or a hot chocolate to take in the view of the city lights beneath from the Waterford Eye.
Whichever Christmas market you visit this year (or maybe you tick them all off the list!) we wish you a very happy holiday season from everyone at Allianz.
This guidance is for general information purposes only.
If you decide to travel to any of these markets this festive season, make sure you're covered with Allianz Car Insurance before you begin your journey.