Fun and Festive Things to Do with Kids Around Ireland at Christmas 2023

Jill Holtz

September 1, 2023

things to do around Ireland at Christmas

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Get wrapped up in the magic of Christmas and all the seasonal fun with some fantastic family-friendly events and activities. If you are looking for things to do this December and Christmas break, check out our round up of seasonal events and things to do with kids around Ireland this Christmas 2023.

Things to Do in Dublin at Christmas

Santa’s Magical Cabin – Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Clare & Laois

Santa's Magical Cabin things to do in Ireland around Christmas

Dates: 17th November to 23rd December

Prices: €13.50 per child including gift, €6 per adult

The award winning and original Santa’s Magical Cabin returns for this 2023 Winter season! Upon check-in an elf guide will meet each family and take them directly to meet Santa Claus in his magical cabin.

Children will be amazed by what Santa knows about them, thanks to the Santa Needs to Know forms, filled in at the time of booking. Santa will also give each child a beautiful age appropriate gift. Everyone will be entertained throughout by energetic elves who will tell everyone exactly how Santa, his reindeer and all the elves prepare for Christmas. Book your visit now!

Venues:

  • Dunnes Stores, Kilnamanagh Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24
  • Dunnes Stores, Ilac Centre, Dublin 1
  • Dunnes Stores, Patrick Street, Cork City
  • Dunnes Stores, Ilac Centre, Dublin 1
  • Dunnes Stores, Ennis, Co Clare
  • Dunnes Stores, Kilnamanagh Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24
  • Jetland Shopping Centre, Limerick City
  • The Kyle Centre, Portlaoise, Co Laois

Visit the Santa Experience at Croke Park

Santa visits Ireland GAA Museum Croke Park

Dates: November 18th to December 22nd 2023 (Various dates)

A team from the North Pole are setting up a training camp in Croke Park and they’d love you to visit as they prepare for their special journey around the world on Christmas Eve.

On the Santa Experience, you’ll join the Ice Patrol for a sneak peek inside the North Pole GAA Elf Dressing Rooms before entering their Skills Zone to play some ‘cool’ festive games!

Then it will be time to step inside Santa’s very special Croke Park cabin to meet the man himself. You can take a photo with Santa and tell him about your predictions for the 2024 GAA All-Ireland Championships!

Every child will receive a small GAA-themed gift and photos will also be available to purchase if you wish. You will also get access to the GAA Museum where you can collect your Junior Explorer passport and follow the North Pole GAA trail. And call into Cú Chulainn’s Den to write your letter to Santa and post it in the museum box.

For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo

Wild lights 2022

Dates: 16th November 2023 to 7th January 2024 (Select Dates)

Wild Lights, the spectacular, night-time experience at Dublin Zoo, will is back with an exciting brand new theme – The Enchanted Zoo, for the 2023 festive season.

Over a thousand breathtaking, dazzling lanterns will portray a fascinating and important story.

Wonderlights ‘The Magic of Winter’ at Malahide Castle & Gardens, Dublin

Things to do at Christmas around Ireland 2023

Dates: November 10th 2023 to January 2nd 2024

Wonderlights is an enchanting evening spectacle for all the family, taking you on an awe-inspiring walking trail through the illuminated gardens of Malahide Castle. Guests can expect a magical mix of lights, colour, nature and sounds.

The theme for 2023/4 is The Magic of Winter where life flourishes in unexpected ways.

Dundrum on Ice

Dundrum on ice for ice skating in dublin

Dates: October 12th 2023 to January 28th 2024

Dundrum on Ice at Pembroke Square in the Dundrum Town Centre is a popular family activity, surrounded by all that Dundrum Town Centre has to offer. Family tickets are available, and penguins for small kids.

Swords on Ice

Dates: November 3rd 2023 to January 14th 2024

Bring on the festive season with a trip to Swords on Ice at Swords Pavilions this winter. With great music and atmosphere, this is a fun family activity with the benefits on the Pavilions on the doorstep.

Ice Skating Blanchardstown

Dates: November 17th 2023 to January 28th 2024

Ireland’s largest ice rink returns this year and very popular with families due to the dedicated rink for children, with penguin skating aids. With fresh ice every hour, the 1,000 sq. m. rink is found right next to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.

The Moving Crib

moving crib Dublin 2022

Dates: November 23rd to January 7th 2024

The Moving Crib will be back in Parnell Square, Dublin from this year. Delighting families for free for 66 years, the crib will be open daily from 11am to 5.30pm, except for Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day and New Years Day.

Booking is essential. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Roald Dhal’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical

Things to do at Christmas around Ireland

Dates: December 5th 2023 to January 7th 2024

When Charlie Bucket finds one of the five golden tickets to the Wonka Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the other winners can’t wait to feast on the sweets of their dreams. But beyond the gates, they discover more than just remarkable edible delights. As they embark on an extraordinary journey through Willy Wonka’s marvellous mind, they soon learn that nobody leaves the same way that they arrived…

The Giggler Treatment at The Ark, Dublin

things to do around Ireland at Christmas with kids

Dates: December 1st to 31st 2023; relaxed performances on Dec 15th, 16th and 29th

The Giggler Treatment is a marvellous, mischievous new musical based on the novel by Roddy Doyle. Expect big songs and even bigger pongs!

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Dublin Gospel Choir Christmas

Dublin gospel choir

Date: Various

The Dublin Gospel Choir returns with a brilliant selection of festive favourites and gospel greats to give you all the Christmas feels!

DGC have long been a household name in Ireland – versatile, vibrant and uplifting with powerful voices and rich harmonies. They have performed with artists as diverse as John Legend, Take That, Duran Duran, Damien Rice, Outkast and Ennio Morricone and their annual slot at Electric Picnic is nothing less than legendary.

Shows include:

  • December 15th – The Moat Theatre Naas
  • December 17th – Draoicht, Blanchardstown

Christmas Crafts Workshop at The Rediscovery Centre

Date: December 9th 2023 11am to 12.30pm and 14.30pm to 16.00pm

Join The Rediscovery Centre for a fun, hands-on eco Christmas crafts workshop for kids, where you will make fabulous Christmas decorations from waste materials.

Crafts include creating Santa Claus figures using cardboard, to making plastic bottle penguins, fabric tree decorations and beautiful upcycled Christmas cards.

Suitable for children aged 6-12 years of age.

Santa at Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Roscommon

Santa at Lough Key

Date: December 17th 2023 from 1pm to 3pm

Santa, Mrs Claus along with their team of elves and Frosty the Snowman will be making a stop at Lough Key Forest and Activity Park this December 17th. You can:

  • Have a meet and greet with Santa
  • Enjoy mulled wine and festive treats
  • Take some beautiful festive photos.

Booking Details: No booking required for this event. To find out more, check out the Lough Key Forest and Activity Park Facebook page.

Rathfarnham Castle Christmas Market

What's On

Dates: December 10th 2023 from 10am to 3pm

The Rathfarnham Castle Christmas Market will showcase festive food, crafts and artisan products and there will be entertainment to suit all ages too.

For more information, click here.

FREE Drop-in Family Christmas Card Workshop, Chester Beatty Dublin

Things to do wiith kids at Christmas in Ireland

Date: December 16th 2023

Make somebody feel special be designing a Christmas card for them. These will be created using a variety of mixed media and materials.

Suitable for all ages, children need to be supervised and assisted by their parent or guardian.

Limited to 15 Participants. Free, no booking required. For more information, click here.

Family Christmas Concerts at The National Concert Hall, Dublin

Date: December 2023 various dates

The Christmas season at the National Concert Hall promises be spectacular with some family favourites including:

  • December 2nd – Celebrate the festive season with a jazz twist! Join the Echo Band who will perform festive songs to entertain the family including lots of participation to keep younger members of the family involved!
  • December 8th & 9th – Home Alone in Concert with live orchestra accompaniment
  • December 18th – Christmas at the Movies with the Dublin Concert Orchestra who perform great music from your favourite festive films.

A Christmas Carol, Pavilion Theatre Dublin

things to do at Christmas

Dates: December 14th to 17th 2023

A Christmas Carol is Aaron Monaghan and Bryan Burroughs’ playful, physical storytelling, stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ much loved novella.

Devised straight from Dickens classic text, the two award-winning actors – dressed in snazzy suits – play all the characters at break-neck speed using an array of colourful hats, scarves and an Ikea coat-rack!

The famous cautionary tale tells the story miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by ghosts who take him on a journey through his past, present and future one fateful Christmas Eve. This production is funny, slightly scary, utterly heartwarming and features a surprise special guest appearing as Tiny Tim…

For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Movie Screenings at Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire

things to do at Christmas

Date: December 14th to 22nd 2023

Movies include:

  • Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker – December 14th & 15th
  • It’s a Wonderful Life – December 16th
  • A Christmas Tale – December 18th
  • Room on the Broom & The Highway Rate – December 21st
  • Te Muppet Christmas Carol – December 21st
  • Elf – December 21st
  • The Snowman & Stick Man – December 22nd
  • The Greatest Showman Sing-Along – December 22nd
  • Home Alone – December 22nd

Christmas Movie Screenings at Draíocht

What's on in Ireland

Date: December 18th and 19th 2023

Come and enjoy your festive family favourites on the big screen!

  • Elf – December 18th
  • Home Alone – December 19th

Download

Stuck for ideas? Don’t miss our free Elf on the Shelf cheat sheet that you can download with 24 fun and easy elf ideas!

Things to Do Around Ireland at Christmas

Tree Top Night Lights at Beyond The Trees Avondale, Wicklow

Best places to see Christmas Lights in Ireland

Dates: November 11th 2023 to January 21st 2024, daily from 4pm to 7pm

Experience the forest after dark in a completely novel way with the dazzling Treetop Night Lights spectacle. Travel the beautifully lit treetop walkway, tunnel and viewing tower and meet an array of lit up forest creatures that make Avondale Forest Park their home.

This is an experience that all ages and all abilities will enjoy together getting up close and personal with nature after dark. Less than one hour’s drive from Dublin city in the heart of the Wicklow countryside, Treetop Night Lights provides a family-friendly, age-friendly and truly accessible spectacle.

Running from Saturday 11th November 2023 to Sunday 21st January 2024 this is more than a Christmas experience, it’s a celebration of winter and an exploration of a night time forest fantasy. The perfect ‘together adventure’ for all ages and abilities this winter season.

How to Book: For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Visit Santa’s Secret Workshop at the International Rugby Experience, Limerick

Dates: November 30th to December 23rd 2023

Santa has been keeping a close eye on Limerick and was overjoyed to discover that the nation’s new Favourite Building has a panoramic view of the city from which he can plan his epic Christmas Eve journey. But better than that, tucked away within its floors, is the perfect magical haven to house his secret workshop.

Expect a warm welcome to a twinkling world of festive fun. Feel the sense of anticipation grow with each step as you descend to Santa’s busy workshop to meet his special helpers, the IRE Elves, celebrated throughout the city for their exceptional gift-giving expertise.

Of course they might need a little help as they bustle about crafting beautiful toys and treats – but that’s where you come in. Make magical memories, working with the Elves to put the finishing touches to gifts that will make their way around the world. That is all before you meet the star of the show himself. Santa Claus, with his beaming smile and snowy white beard, will captivate both young and old, spreading seasonal cheer for the perfect start to your best Christmas ever!

Santa’s Secret Workshop is produced by award winning, Limerick based production company Honest Arts.

For more information and to book your Santa visit, click here.

Santa’s Magical Cabin – Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Clare & Laois

Santa's Magical Cabin things to do in Ireland around Christmas

Dates: 17th November to 23rd December

Prices: €13.50 per child including gift, €6 per adult

The award winning and original Santa’s Magical Cabin returns for this 2023 Winter season! Upon check-in an elf guide will meet each family and take them directly to meet Santa Claus in his magical cabin.

Children will be amazed by what Santa knows about them, thanks to the Santa Needs to Know forms, filled in at the time of booking. Santa will also give each child a beautiful age appropriate gift. Everyone will be entertained throughout by energetic elves who will tell everyone exactly how Santa, his reindeer and all the elves prepare for Christmas. Book your visit now!

Venues:

Dunnes Stores, Patrick Street, Cork City
Dunnes Stores, Ilac Centre, Dublin 1
Dunnes Stores, Ennis, Co Clare
Dunnes Stores, Kilnamanagh Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Jetland Shopping Centre, Limerick City
The Kyle Centre, Portlaoise, Co Laois

An Enchanted Christmas at Johnstown Castle, Wexford

What's on at Christmas - Johnstown Castle

Dates: December 1st to 23rd 2023

Be part of something really special this Christmas at Johnstown Castle. On this traditional experience, guests will enjoy some fun activities with the team of merry elves. Every group will spend some time with Santa and children will then have the opportunity to pick their own gift in Santa’s workshop. There will be plenty of seasonal photo opportunities in the Castle – so don’t forget to bring your camera!

For more information, click here.

A Victorian Christmas Experience at Strokestown Park, Roscommon

Visit santa at Strokestown

Dates: November 26th to December 22nd 2023

Enjoy Christmas at Strokestown Park where you can meet Santa and a host of festive characters at the Victorian Christmas Experience.

Children will have fun and games at Strokestown this Christmas. Book a tour, find yourself on a wonderful journey, culminating in a special meeting with Santa who is resting up in the big house at Strokestown. All tours will begin at the Visitor Centre and end at the enchanted Woodland where festive fun is sure to be had!

For more information, click here.

The Magic of Christmas at Fota House, Cork

What's On

Dates: Select dates from December 1st to 23rd 2023

Enjoy an enchanted traditional Christmas at Johnstown Castle where there will be fun activities with the merry elves. Each group will meet Santa and then children will get to pick their very own gift in Santa’s Workshop.

Find out more here.

Christmas Fun at The Irish National Stud and Gardens, Kildare

Things to do at Christmas

Dates: Select dates from December 2nd to 17th 2023

There are plenty of fun activities taking place at the Irish National Stud & Gardens, Co Kildare, this December.

  • On December 2nd join Lindsay and her busy elves in building your very own Christmas Bear. From 11:00 am to 12:00 pm children will have an opportunity to build their very own 16-inch Christmas themed bear while also choosing a special wish and writing their very own birth certificate. For further details and bookings,click here
  • On Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th AND Saturday 16th – Sunday 17th December there will be a fun-filled festive experience for all the family from 12-3pm each day.

Santa won’t be making an appearance as he is super busy in the North Pole but you’ll get to meet Christmas characters, enjoy face painting, balloon modelling, games and more.

All the regular attractions are available including an opportunity to visit the Irish Racehorse Experience, take the fairy trail route, and walk along the stepping stones in the Japanese Gardens for hours of outdoor fun.

The restaurant will be serving seasonal recipes along with the usual yummy cakes and treats. For further details and bookings, click here

Winter Market at Slieve Aughty Centre, Galway

Dates: November 26th, December 3rd & 10th 2023 – 11pm to 4pm daily

Enjoy a festive atmosphere and festive goodies at the Slieve Aughty Christmas Market

Land of Light at Belvedere House, Westmeath

Dates: November 10th to December 23rd 2023

Land Of Light is an outdoor event that combines the use of nature and technology to provide a spectacle of lights, music and performance for attendees of all ages. Set in the beautiful grounds of Belvedere House, Gardens & Park in County Westmeath, the experience delivers thrills and excitement at every turn.

As you walk your way along the forest trail, the night sky, trees and buildings are lit up by a spectacular light show, with stunning atmospheric music to complete the scene. It’s like walking through another world!

Galway Christmas LEGO Show

Castlebar LEGO Show

Dates: November 19th 2023

The Galway Christmas LEGO show at the Loughrea Hotel & Spa includes:

  • Original and hard to find LEGO models
  • LEGO play area
  • Free speed build competitions
  • Free face painting
  • Colouring table for younger children
  • Duplo play area
  • Treasure hunt
  • Vendors
  • and sensory cool down area.

Santa will also meet every child – keep an eye out as he gets up to have fun with the kids.

All children will also receive a LEGO polybag to take home. For more information visit Brick Shows Ireland on Facebook.

Winter Wonderland at Westport House, Mayo

winter wonderland westport house

Dates: November 19th to December 23rd 2023

Winter Wonderland at Westport House is a magical family experience brimming with Christmas cheer that will leave the kids starry-eyed and the whole family believing in fairy-tales – and 2023 is no different!

Westport House will be beautifully decorated and you’re invited to visit to see the giant Christmas tree, take a festive photo, get your faces painted, make your own decorations, meet Mrs Claus and enjoy a complimentary drink before heading to spend some time with the main man himself in his Grotto in Tinsel Town.

And don’t forget to hop on board Winter Wonderland Express Train for a spin around the estate!

Visit Santa at Elf Town, Galway

Elf Town Galway

Tickets are on sale!

Santa and his merry band of elves are looking forward to returning to Galway and meeting all the wonderful boy and girls at Elf Town.

Elf Town is back for 2023 with a bigger and better experience. The entire journey will take over 2 hours and promises to be full of fun. It is set over 3 buildings, and the Elf Town journey is over 4 floors with each area expertly designed and decorated by the expert team of elves.

Your journey into Elf Town begins through the Grand Entrance at the Castle gates, where you will meet Glitterpants – Santa’s head Elf – who will get you started on your journey and show you Elf Town’s very own “Elf Town Shuffle”.

During your visit you will also:

🎄Visit Jack Frost’s Icy Home!
🎄Meet Santa’s real reindeer and learn all about Rudolph, Dancer, and their friends in the Reindeer House!
🎄Have a boogie on the dance floor with the elves!
🎄See how fast you can spin on the teacup ride!
🎄Decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus!
🌲 Journey to the Enchanted Forest and search for the magical Woodland Elves!
🎄Meet the wondrous characters of Glitterpants, Woodland Elves, Postie, McSkrinchy, and many more!
🎄Write your letter to Santa with Postie the Elf and post it in the Elftown post office!
🎄Decorate cookies with Mrs Claus!
🎄Check out the Elftown Express at the Elf Town Train Station!
🎄Journey to the Grotto for your family’s private visit with Santa where children will be amazed at all Santa knows!
🎄Visit Santa’s Toy Shop stocked from floor to ceiling where you exchange your magical Elftown Coin for any toy you like in the Toy Shop!

Be sure to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

The Christmas Experience at Bunratty Castle, Clare

Bunratty trail of lights

Dates: November 27th to December 22nd 2023

With a little sprinkling of magical fairy dust over this quaint little corner of County Clare Santa has created a magical illuminated festive trail for all to enjoy!

Spread across the park’s extensive 26 acres, take a wander along the park’s charming paths and enjoy an array of illuminated festive displays along the way. Meet a host of colourful festive characters, take a ride of the Bunratty Polar Express or a whirl on our magical carousels. And you can visit Santa before he takes off to his workshop in the North Pole.

The Night Before Christmas at The MAC, Belfast

Things to do in Ireland at Christmas

Dates: November 29th 2023 to January 7th 2024

Twas the night before Christmas and you will meet a storyteller who loses her words in this festive fable about the power of stories. Will this spinner of yarns rediscover her wonderful tales in time for Christmas?

This adaptation of one of our favourite Christmas tales is written by Stephen Beggs and Simon Magill. Produced by the MAC.

Walking With The Snowman at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast

Dates: December18th 2023 to January 7th 2024

Experience the magic of Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’ which will be brought to life in magical ‘walking with the snowman’ trail around the stunning gardens of Hillsborough Castle this festive season.

The family can enjoy 12 giant hand painted snowmen sculptures inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas. Will you be able to find them all?

Christmas Season at Riverbank Arts Centre, Kildare

Things to do in Ireland at Christmas

Dates: December 2023

Riverbank Arts Centre have a full line up of Christmas events for the family including:

  • The Land of a Hundred Little Hills – December 6th
  • A Very WhistleBlast Christmas – December 8th
  • The Greatest Showman Sing-along – December 9th
  • A Christmas Carol – December 15th

Goldilocks and The 3 Bears Christmas Show, Wexford Arts Centre

Things to do around Ireland at Christmas

Date: December 2nd 2023

Centre Stage Theatre Company presents Goldilocks.

She’s off to seek her fortune but she soon finds that it is not as easy as she thought. Meanwhile, The Three Bears are hiding a very special honey hive, making honey that helps Santa have a very special breakfast before he sets out for Christmas. But, a rather naughty witch, Wanda The Wasp, is out to steal it!

Not to fear though, there might be a Handsome Prince in the forest to help… and the children in the audience will certainly want to lend a hand in this sparkling version of the much loved classic tale.

Few children’s stories can have more instantly recognisable lines than ‘Someone’s been eating my porridge…’ It’s guaranteed to have hordes of children shrieking their delight at these enthralling words!

Download

Are you looking for a fun and festive way to entertain your kids? Download your FREE Christmas word search which is perfect for keeping kids busy!

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