Christmas markets are a centuries-old tradition in Europe, with roots dating back to the 1300 and 1400s in Germany. Since that time, their popularity has spread—with Ireland being no exception. From fabulous local fare to holiday revelry, and, of course, an array of wares for sale, the spirit of the season is embodied in these markets, which take place during advent. Read on for three markets to explore for yourself.
Belfast Christmas Market
For 2018, the Belfast Market will be held November 17 – December 22. Children can visit Santa’s Grotto for a magical experience, complete with the opportunity to post a letter to the North Pole. Drop your letter in their box by December 18, and Santa himself will respond.
Adults will appreciate the numerous stalls located outside Belfast City Hall along Donegall Square. Treat yourself to tempting treats such as baklava, Belgian chocolate, and crepes. Or go for a more savory hog roast with a hot cup of Glühwein, a red wine with mulling spices. Find more info at visitbelfast.com or facebook.com/BelfastXmasMark.
Galway Continental Christmas Market
Beginning Friday, November 16th and lasting through Saturday, December 22, the Galway Continental Christmas Market, located in Eyre Square, is in its 90th year. Ride amusement-park rides, watch storytellers, carolers, and other musical performances or sample German beers, cider, and mulled wine along with French and local fare. Be sure to take the kids to visit Santa in his grotto.
Held from November 17 – December 23 this year, the Waterford Winterval is Christmas fun for all ages. Over the course of the month-long celebration, you can attend both free and ticketed events.
Some of these include: Wintereval Illuminates, a dazzling light display presented each evening; a ride on the Christmas Carousel or the Waterford Eye Ferris wheel; or a visit to Santa’s Grotto, where you can meet the elves and play games at Mrs. Claus’s house. The Christmas Festival Market is a part of Wintereval, and you can expect to find delicious treats as well as unique gift items in the stalls. Find more info at winterval.ie.
Numerous other areas of Ireland also host Christmas markets. If you’re visiting the Emerald Isle, be sure to check with the local tourism organizations to find one nearby.