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17th Nov 2021

7 Christmas Markets and Winter Wonderlands happening in Ireland’s Ancient East


Brought to you by Discover Ireland

Time to get festive…

This Christmas, you don’t have to go far to go walking in a winter wonderland. All along Ireland’s Ancient East, from Waterford up to Louth, there are festivals, spectacles, markets and more bringing you magic moments and Christmas cheer.

When it comes to captivating ways to get into the festive spirit, Ireland’s Ancient East has yuletide all wrapped up.

Christmas Festivals…

Waterford Winterval, Waterford City – 19 November to 23 December

During the Waterford Winterval Festival, Ireland’s oldest city is transformed into Ireland’s Christmas capital as the streets come alive with seasonal surprises and festive fun. There’s food, drink and handcrafted gifts at Continental Christmas Market Quarter and there’s a jam-packed programme of live performances and free and ticketed events.

Psst… make sure you post your letters to Santa in Winterval’s Giant Post Box.

Wexford Winterland Festival, Wexford Town – 27 November to 5 January

The Wexford Winterland Festival kicks off with a lively street parade that culminates with the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights. Then, get your skates on and glide and slide your way around one of Ireland’s biggest ice rinks. Little ones can pay a visit to Santa and Mrs Claus where they’ll bake reindeer cookies and receive a gift. This is fab festive fun for all the family.

Winter Light Events…

Land of Lights at Wells House, Co Wexford – 22 October to 19 December

Trip the light fantastic at the Land of Lights set in the beautiful grounds of Wells House. A magical, memorable time awaits as you follow a trail through the forest, past trees and buildings that are lit up by a spectacular light show and accompanied by incredibly atmospheric music. This fully immersive, outdoor experience excites and delights with its out-of-this-world illuminations.

Loughcrew Lightscape, Co Meath – 11 November to 23 December

The Loughcrew Lightscape is an Enchanted Garden where the fantastical story of Alice in Wonderland is retold through electric light, installation and sound. This outdoor, immersive experience takes you through an illuminated fantasy land, where you go down the rabbit hole and around the magical trail, and you’ll never want to leave. This captivating visual spectacle is like being in a real-life fairytale.

Enchanted Garden at Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, Co Waterford – 3 December to 9 January

The Enchanted Garden Winter Light Festival wows with its twinkling, colourful fairy lights that adorn these unique Japanese Gardens by the sea. As you wind your way around the walkways stunning displays greet you that further enhance the beauty of the trees, animal sculptures and water features. You might also catch a glimpse of the Winter Fairy as she magically appears. Enchanting and endearing this is one event sure to warm the cockles of your heart this winter.

Christmas Markets…

Wicklow Christmas Market, Wicklow Town – 27 November to 21 December

Experience the essence of a traditional continental market right in the heart of Wicklow Town at the Wicklow Christmas Market. Eat, drink and be merry as you visit the traditional wooden chalet stalls selling festive gifts and food and drink (gluhwein, anyone)? You can then pirouette your way around the eco ice skating rink before hopping aboard The Santa Express to go visit the big man and his family in the North Pole. It’s a holly jolly way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Other Christmas Experiences…

Carlingford Castle & Ghan Tour, Co Louth 

If you like your happy holidays with a side order of history, then take a tour of Carlingford Castle, aka King John’s Castle and Ghan House, this Christmas. Roam the 12th-century castle ruins with a knowledgeable guide before exploring the splendour of Ghan House. This grand Georgian House is the perfect spot to get cosy by the crackling log fires and warm up with mulled wine and scrumptious mince pies. It’s a decadent and delicious way to fill up on Christmas cheer.

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. So, this winter, let’s go to Ireland’s Ancient East, where you can get into full festive mode by enjoying the cracking Christmas celebrations.

Capacity restrictions may be in place at visitor attractions, sites and restaurants so you are encouraged to book ahead to avoid disappointment. The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this winter and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.

Brought to you by Discover Ireland