While we all love a trip to a Christmas show or a panto or a visit to Santa, for some it can be overwhelming. So we have rounded up a list of some sensory Christmas shows, Santas and pantos for this holiday season that the whole family can enjoy together.
Sign up for our free monthly newsletter stuffed full of ideas, competitions and offers. PS Did we mention it’s free?
Sensory Christmas Pantos & Shows
Mother Goose, Clare
Pantaloons are back at glór Ennis for their 17th panto production “Mother Goose“. This year they will be joined on stage by Sparks Hip Hop Dance School.
Mother Goose is about to be thrown off her land because she cannot pay the rent, when she gets a gift of Pricilla – the golden egg laying goose – from The Good Fairy. Mother Goose becomes rich, but the Demon King and his Bailiffs are on hand to tempt her with the things she doesn’t have – youth and Beauty. Will Mother Goose enter the Fountain of Youth? Will everybody love her?
Dates: Saturday 21st to Tuesday 31st December (except Dec 24th to 26th). There will be a relaxed performance for those with learning disabilities, dementia and other sensory needs. There will also be an Irish Sign Language Performance. Please contact glór for details on (065) 6843103 or email [email protected]
Aladdin Renmore Panto, Galway
Celebrating 41 years, The Renmore Panto will be a spectacular adventure of music, dance, song and fun and will feature a host of Galway performers at The Town Hall Theatre, Galway.
Will Aladdin win his Princess Jasmine? Will wicked Abanazar meet his Mummy? Will Widow Twankey’s Chinese Laundry be a complete wash-out? You’ll just have to come along and find out for yourselves.
Dates: Sunday December 29th 2019 to Sunday January 12th 2020. There will be a sensory friendly performance please contact box office at Town Hall Theatre for further details.
Specsavers Limerick Panto, Aladdin at UCH, Limerick
Featuring some of the funniest, wackiest characters in pantoland Aladdin at UCH, Limerick promises to transport you to a whole new world this Christmas.
Journey with the lovable laundry boy as he moves from being at Abanazer’s beck and call to becoming master of the lamp – all the while trying to win the hand of the beautiful Jasmine. Throw in an animated, wish-granting Genie, a carpet that just can’t keep its tassels on the ground, and the always hilarious Wishey Washey and Aladdin has all the ingredients to be the most fun your family has this Christmas.
Dates: Monday 16th December 2019 to Sunday 5th January 2020. There will be one sensory friendly performance please call the box office at UCH for exact date.
The Three Musketeers Panto, Dublin
The Helix Panto for 2019 is a TheatreworX production of The Three Musketeers and it promises to be the best panto ever seen with wit, magic, fun and laughter!
Dates: November 22nd 2019 to January 19th 2020. There will be a special Sensory Friendly Performance on Wednesday, December 18th 2019 at 7pm.
Robin Hood & The Babes In The Wood Panto, Waterford
The Waterford Panto Society presents Robin Hood & Babes In the Wood at The Theatre Royal Waterford this December 2019.
With a live band, spectacular scenery and stunning costumes and some special guest stars, this panto promises to be a forest full of fun!
Dates: Friday 6th to Monday 30th December 2019. There is usually a special Sensory Performance. Please call the box office at the Theatre Royal Waterford for date & booking details.
Robin Hood Coolmine Panto Group, Dublin
Coolmine Panto Group return to Draiocht this January 2020 with their panto version of the classic tale of Robin Hood. Fun and laughter guaranteed for all!
Dates: Saturday 4th to 19th 2020. Special relaxed performance on Wednesday January 8th 2020. At this performance there will be no loud or sudden noises, the music will be softer, lights will be brighter, you will be able to move around the theatre and there is a chill out zone.
Yulefest Kilkenny work with Creative Ireland to offer some sensory sensitive quite times at their attractions this December. We are just waiting on dates and times of these activities for 2019. But last year they included:
- The lights and music on the Vintage Carousel will be turned down from 10.30am to 11.30am daily.
- The Medieval Mile Museum will be a haven of calm fun
- Kilkenny On Ice is fully accessible for wheelchair users at all times.
- Kilkenny Castle will have a quiet room available
- Nore Valley Park Santa Experience at McDonagh Junction will have sensory Santa visits
Sensory Christmas Santa Experiences
The Santa Experience at Kilnamanagh Shopping Centre, Dublin, Jetland Shopping Centre Limerick & Patrick Street Dunnes Stores Cork
For generations, a visit to Santa’s grotto has been part of the magic of Christmas and provides plenty of festive fun for all the family. The Santa Experience provides families with an authentic, immersive and entertaining journey to meet Santa.
For those with ASD who wish to visit there will be an exclusive ASD afternoon on Sunday November 24th & Thursday December 5th from 3pm to 6pm. If you wish to visit on another day, please email [email protected] and we will advise the best times and dates to book your visit.
You will travel through four special areas including:
- The Elves post office
- Santa’s Stable
- The Sleigh Station
- The Artic
on your journey to meet Santa Claus who is eagerly awaiting your arrival. Here the children can share their Christmas wish lists with him and Santa will even know some info about each child, he is Santa after all!
Each tour has a maximum of 6 children to allow Santa to speak to each child individually. The tour is done on a group basis where children can interact with each other and parents can watch the magic unfold.
Parents will also be able to get a photographic memento of the occasion! Photos are available immediately and cost €14 for the first and €6 for each additional copy.
Santa will be in The Kilnamangh Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Dunnes Stores Patrick Street, Cork and The Jetland Shopping Centre, Limerick on dates from November 22nd to December 23rd 2019.
Sensory Santa Experience at Castlecomer Discovery Park, Kilkenny
Santa will be at Castlecomer Discovery Park on dates from December 7th to 23rd 2019.
Journey from the North Pole Station aboard the Santa Express on a magical train ride through a forest winter wonderland of twinkling lights.
Once you reach the Christmas Village, you’ll have time to explore, make a Christmas tree decoration in the arts and crafts area or sit back and wrap your mittens around a steaming mug of hot chocolate from the Canopy Café. Children can also play at leisure in the elf and fairy village, where imaginative playgrounds feature bouncing nets and a Junior Woodland Adventure Course.
The igloos are cosy and warm and full of festive spirit and it’s here that children will meet Mrs Claus to hear tales of mischievous elves and life in the North Pole.
Last but not least, it’s time to visit the great man himself, where each child will have the opportunity to spend time alone with Santa Claus, to whisper their wish list into his ear, and to receive a memorable gift.
The duration of the Christmas experience is approximately 90 minutes, at a relaxed and enjoyable pace, making sure you can take time to soak up every ounce of magic from beginning right through to the end. Families are welcome to return to the elf village to spend more time at play.
For those who may become overwhelmed by the noise, lights and crowds Castlecomer Discovery Park have scheduled Friday December 13th for sensory friendly Santa visits. These visits must be booked by calling 056 4440707 or emailing [email protected] with your details.
Visit The Santa Express at Wicklow Christmas Market
Wicklow Christmas Market is set within the Magical Abbey Grounds, in Wicklow town just 25 minutes from the M50. You will find plenty of craft stalls to get you in the Christmas mood.
Wicklow Christmas Market is delighted to announce that Santa is bringing his Santa Express to Wicklow Christmas Market on dates form November 23rd to December 15th 2019. He has a whole day out planned for you and your family.
The Santa Express will transport you on a magical journey.
- Driven by one of Santa’s favourite elves… Oribel, who is mischievous and fun.
- He’ll take you to Santa’s wonderland workshops where his most creative elves will show you how to make some of your own magical gifts.
- Mrs Claus will read one of her favourite Christmas tales too!
- The grown-ups can enjoy some of Mrs Claus’s festive Wildside punch.
Of course, Santa will be waiting to meet all the boys and girls so they can tell him about their wishes for Christmas. Each family will meet Santa individually and each child will get a special gift from Santa.
Don’t forget to enter the festive colouring competition too!
Let us know you’re coming so we can save your seats. Book your tickets now!
Sensory Santa Express Dec 8th, 11-12pm – The Santa Express Sensory train will run at 11am on Sunday December 8th. We ask that you only book these times if you have a requirement. Lights & music will be calmer as will our elves although just as happy and festive (One Carer per booking no charge for carer)
Sensory Santa Trail & Sleepover at The Clanard Court Hotel, Kildare
Join Santa’s elves on a wonderful journey through Santa’s Magical Trail – a fun filled and action-packed experience for children young and old held at the Clanard Court Hotel, Kildare!
Now in its 10th YEAR the award-winning, leading Kildare Santa experience (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award for Families) … is for anyone who really loves all things Santa and believe in lots of FUN, MAGIC and SMILES along the way!!! Look out for some fun characters along the way including Willy Wonka!
Why not make a night of it too with our extremely popular Magical Sleep Over option? Guaranteed to make you the best Mum & Dad ever! You can book selected weekends from November 30th to December 22nd 2019
This year Santa and his elves at The Clanard Court are planning their first ever Autism Friendly Trail and Sleepover. This will take place on December 11th 2019.
ASD Friendly Santa at Airfield, Dublin
Airfield Estate will be offering an ASD friendly Santa Visit on Saturday 15th December 2019 at 9:30am to 11:30am with the visit in a sensory friendly and inclusive environment. And a Deaf & Hard of Hearing Christmas Experience at 12pm with Irish sign language interpreters on hand.
The ASD friendly adjustments are designed to make the visit to Santa more inclusive and accessible for people with sensory sensitivities, and others who can benefit from this environment. Staff are trained in ASD awareness and are happy to help make your visit more enjoyable.
Dates: Santa will be at Airfield from November 23rd to December 23rd 2019. The ASD & Deaf & Hard of Hearing friendly Santa Experience takes place on December 15th.
Sensory Santa Day at Westport House, Mayo
In Mayo, Westport House’s Winter Wonderland is a magical family experience brimming with Christmas cheer that will leave the kids starry-eyed and the whole family believing in fairy-tales!
Kids will adore a special visit to Santa in his grotto, story-time by the fireside with Mrs Claus, sing-a-longs with the Elves and festive face-painting to really get them in the Christmas spirit.
Visit the elves hard at work in their Workshop where kids can make their own yuletide log and decorate their own Ginger Bread Man, and stop by the Christmas Wish Tree for the real spirit of Christmas.
Dates: Santa will be in his Winter Wonderland at Westport House from November 23rd to December 23rd 2019. And on Friday December 6th 2019 Westport House have a Sensory Santa Experience from 3pm to 8pm, where the lights and music will be toned down and families with children who have sensory disorders, autism or other special needs can enjoy a relaxed, magical experience. This must be booked by phone.
Sensory Santa Workshop, Clare
Santa will be in his workshop at Aillwee Cave in the Burren, Co Clare again this Christmas. His elves will guide you through the cave singing Christmas Carols and each child will have a personalised visit with Santa and meet Mrs Claus too. You will also get to meet Snowy the Owl in the birds of prey centre and Santa’s train will be hard at work all day giving rides to everyone.
Dates: Friday November 29th to Sunday December 22nd 2019. On the morning of Friday December 6th the pace will slow down in Santa’s Workshop and children with sensory challenges and autism can enjoy a relaxed morning with friends and family.
Visit Santa and his Rein-Dogs at Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind HQ, Cork
You can bring the kids or grandkids along to meet Santa and his rein-dogs at the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind HQ in Cork and help raise money for this wonderful charity. Whilst there you can pick up gifts in the Christmas Shop and even buy your Christmas Tree. Santa will be in residence from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday 7th & 14th and Sunday 8th & 15th. Bring along a camera to capture your special day out. The cost is €10 per child €3 per adult and each child will receive a selection box. You can fill in a form in advance with details for your child and bring along a gift for your child for the elves to give to Santa.
There is an autism friendly Grotto experience on November 30th.
See Santa at Delta Sensory Gardens in Carlow
Delta hosts its very popular Christmas Fair and Outdoor Lights Display from Friday 6th to Sunday 22nd December 2019. As well as a colourful display of outdoor lights in the sensory garden plus Christmas competitions and much more, you can visit Santa’s grotto on weekends.
Sensory Santa Experiences take place every weekend please check with Delta Sensory Gardens for exact dates.
Visit Santa at Winterval Festival 2019, Waterford
Winterval Festival Waterford will be an amazing Christmas experience with markets, workshops, amusements, lights and entertainment for all. Santa will be in his Medieval Chambers beneath City Hall, The Mall on dates from Saturday November 23rd to Monday December 23rd.
On Thursday December 12th they will host an autism friendly evening for those who wish to meet Santa but find the experience overwhelming. The experience will be relaxed and calm with the volume reduced.
Kildare Farm Foods FREE Sensory Santa Day
Santa will be at Kildare Farm Foods & Open Farm on Wednesday, December 8th for a special FREE Sensory Santa Day. Visits to see Santa are free and every child will receive a gift. There is no need to book.
Bring the little ones to visit Santa at IKEA in Dublin, and they can enjoy some festive activities while they visit.
Dates: Santa’s grotto is located in the main entrance and he will be there on November 30th, December 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st 22nd & 23rd 2019 from 12pm to 6pm. We hear that this Santa is excellent with any children who may have additional needs.
Sensory Ice Skating Wexford
Wexford on Ice will be on the Quays in Wexford, from November 21st 2019 until January 5th 2020 with family tickets available. For those who aren’t feeling confident, there are stability aids to help you glide across the ice.
Sensory and wheelchair friendly skate sessions take place every Saturday morning from 9am to 10am with music & lighting turned down and wheelchair users able to take their wheels directly onto the ice.
Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle Gardens Inclusive Enchantment Evening
The Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle Gardens is a wonderful experience for all the family this Christmas. It runs on dates from Friday 6th to Sunday 22nd December 2019. And on Wednesday, December 18th they will host an evening of inclusive enchantment from 4.30pm to 7.45pm for children and adults with specific needs including sensitivity to light, noise and crowds.
All the attractions and rides will be slowed down, strobe and strong lighting will be turned off and music levels will be turned down.
Visit the Santa Lodge at Nuremore Hotel, Monaghan
In Co. Monaghan, visit Santa’s Lodge at Nuremore Hotel and Country Club for a lovely Christmas experience. Santa will be there every Friday, Saturday & Sunday in December 2019. You can enjoy; photo opportunities with the elves in the giant sleigh, storytime with Mrs Claus, write your letter to Santa with the elves and meet Santa and receive a gift.
There will be a special Sensory Santa on Sunday, December 8th 2019 from 12pm to 3pm.
Do you know any other Sensory Christmas Shows, Santas or Pantos taking place? Please share them in the comments box below.