One of the nicest things about Christmas are all the twinkly Christmas lights. There are some fantastic Christmas Light Displays and Switching On events around Ireland. And they are all free to see! Here’s my pick of The Best Places to See Christmas Lights Events in Ireland:
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Galway City Christmas Lights
Galway is to get new Christmas Lights some of the main buildings in the city are to have light projections. Light Up Galway City will take place on November 16th 2018. The Santa Express Train with Santa and Mrs Claus on board will chug through the streets and there will be a host of activities including music and the annual Christmas Market at Eyre Square, it’s one not to be missed.
Light Up Galway 2018 event details
Where: Starts at Raven Terrace and moves along Cross Street, Quay Street, Shop Street down to Woodquay and finally to Eyre Square
When: 16th November
What time: 6pm – 8pm (approx)
Dublin Christmas Lights
A tradition for many families is heading out to see the Dublin Lights come on at the Christmas Lights Switch On Show. This year, due to overcrowding at the annual switching on ceremony parade in 2017, it has been decided, that instead of having a switching on event, the city will see 12 iconic sites lit up with projections, animations and lights for 30 nights from sunset to the early hours of the morning. That way families can view the lights on an evening that best suits them.
- The Powerscourt Centre have a Christmas Lights Switch On event on November 15th
- Dundrum Town Centre welcome Santa, Belle & The Beast for a Christmas event on November 15th
- Santa arrives to his new Magical Castle in Jervis Shopping Centre at 11.00am on Saturday 17th November. There will be FREE magical festivities throughout the day from 11.00am – 3.30pm when you can also enjoy the Christmas Lights
- The Stephens Green Centre switch their Christmas lights on on November 18th
- Enjoy the Free family friendly Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee from 6pm to 7pm at Custom House Quay as part of NYF Dublin on December 31st. There will be a spectacular laser and lights show and countdown to the new year. You will need to register for tickets in advance.
- The Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival runs from November 24th to December 23rd 2018 and kicks off with a free event from 4pm on November 24th when Santa arrives to the Harbour Plaza and the largest ever display of Christmas lights are turned on! In addition there will be a giant ferris wheel, vintage funfair, Santa’s post box and a market which will run at weekends from 11am to 7pm.
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Light Up LauraLynn
The annual tree-lighting ceremony for LauraLynn – Ireland’s Children’s Hospice is a wonderful celebration of life and Christmas with supporters and the local community.
You will be entertained by MC Ray D’Arcy and a range of acts including Hollypark National School Girls Choir, The Legato Singers and A Glór and the Symantec Choir along with the LauraLynn Choir!
You can pick up your Passport to Light Up LauraLynn when you arrive and have it stamped as you make your way around the festive winter wonderland. These can be redeemed at local businesses.
There will be festive fun for children in the Elves Workshop and you can enjoy picking up treats and presents from the Christmas shop. Parking will be available at Leopardstown Racecourse car park. Tickets go on sale on November 1st 2018.
Light Up LauraLynn 2018 event details
Where: LauraLynn, Leopardstown Road, Foxrock, D18
When: Sunday, November 25th 2018
What time: Festivities commence at 3.30pm with the main Light Up and fireworks taking place at 5pm.
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For festive fun for all the family head to Waterford for Winterval which includes Waterford Illuminates, a 3D illuminating light show taking place each evening. Winterval, one of Waterford’s biggest festivals, also has an ice rink, over 45 events (mostly free) and the Winterval Express Train.
Waterford Illuminates 2018 event details
Where: Cathedral Square
When: November 17th &18th, 23rd – 25th & 30th. December 1st & 2nd, 7th – 9th, 14th – 16th, 19th – 23rd.
What time: Every half hour from 5pm – 8pm
Gorey Christmas Lights
The Big Switch On in Gorey sees Santa arriving in his sleigh on the top of Main Street followed by entertainment for all.
Big Switch On in Gorey 2018 event details
Where: Main Street Gorey
When: 24th November 2018
What time: 7pm – 9pm
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Christmas Lights in Killarney
Santa will take to the streets of Killarney five times before Christmas for everyone to enjoy. The big opening Magical Christmas Parade starts at 6pm on November 24th.
Christmas in Killarney Parade event details
Where: The parade starts at Beech Road and goes right up to Main Street.
When: Every Saturday from November 24th until December 22nd.
What time: 6pm – 7pm
Frostival Winter Festival, Louth
The theme for this year’s Frostival Winter Festival is ‘Carnival of Light’ the opening parade takes place on Friday evening and there will be a Christmas Market, Family fun zone, street entertainment, Frostival express train, Santa’s Grotto and a family treasure hunt to enjoy.
Where: The Carnival of Light parade takes place in Dundalk Town Centre
When: Friday November 23rd & Saturday 24th
What time: Evening
Coca-Cola Truck Tour
Enjoy the Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour which is stopping off at locations across Ireland & Northern Ireland from November 30th to December 16th 2018. Starting in Galway and finishing in Dublin.
Enchanted Winter Garden, Antrim
Antrim Castle Gardens gets transformed into a winter wonderland with an array of attractions including a 35m Ferris Wheel, Christmas Train, Wonderland Walk, Festive Fayre and spectacular light installations. The event runs from Friday December 7th to Monday 19th book early to avail of a special offer on tokens!
Where: Antrim Castle Gardens
When: Friday December 7th to Monday 19th 2018
Letterkenny Christmas Lights 2018 Switch On
Letterkenny’s Christmas light switch on takes place by Market Square and there will be music and entertainment and lots of free treats along the street from 6pm with an appearance from Santa too.
Where: Market Square
When: November 23rd 2018
What time: 6-7.30pm
Navan Christmas Lights
Navan Christmas Lights will be switched on with children of St. Marys School in Johnstown followed by Joe Daly’s magic show. Sweets and treats will be available for all!
Navan Christmas Lights Switch On event details
Where: Main Street
When: Thursday 15th November 2018
What time: 7pm
Light Up Limerick Christmas Lights
The magic of Christmas will descend on Limerick’s O’Connell Street on Sunday 18th November when the Christmas lights are officially switched on. There will also be street performers and musical entertainment.
Limerick Christmas Lights Switch On 2018 event details
Where: O’Connell Street
When: Sunday 18th November 2018
What time: Lights on at 6pm with entertainment starting from 4.30pm.
Cork Christmas Lights
Cork City Christmas Lights will be switched on this year on November 18th, part of the 2018 Glow – a Cork Christmas Celebration which takes place on weekends during December. Visit Santa’s Cork Workshop in Bishop Lucey Park, soar high above Cork on a giant Ferris wheel, visit the festive market and enjoy the entertainment on the Grand Parade this Christmas.
Cork Christmas Lights Switch On 2018 event details
Where: St. Patrick’s Street
When: Sunday 18th November 2018
What time: 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo
A must-see this Christmas will be the ocean of lights at Dublin Zoo as Wild Lights is back for 2018/19. This year celebrates the wonders of aquatic life and offers a spectacular display of hand made silk lanterns depicting seahorses, polar bears, giant quid, whales, and much more.
Where: Dublin Zoo
When: Every weekend from November 1st 2018 until January 6th 2019
What time: 5.00pm to 9.00pm (last entry 8pm)
Butler House Christmas Garden, Kilkenny
Every evening from dusk, the garden at Butler House will illuminate with toy soldiers, reindeer, winter pond, snowman and glittering trees. There will be a host of festive fun for families and Santa will be there too if children wish to visit him.
Where: Butler House Garden, Kilkenny
When: Every weekend from December 1st 2018 until Friday December 21st.
What time: 1.00pm to 6.00pm (lights are best seen from dusk onwards)
Carlow Christmas Lights
The Carlow Christmas Market opens on Friday, December 14th from 1pm to 7pm and runs from 12pm to 7pm on Saturday, December 15th and Sunday, December 16th. It will be family focused with an illumination show running every half hour from 5pm daily, 2 free movies running each evening, 50+ quality food and craft stalls. Santa & Mrs Claus will arrive at 2pm on Friday until 7pm and will be open for visitors on from 12pm to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. There is a charge to visit Santa and to ride the fairground attractions but entry to the market, films and light show are all free.
Where: Town Hall, Carlow
When: December 14th, 15th & 16th 2018.
What time: Daily at 5pm, 5.30pm, 6pm and 6.30pm
Other Venues Around Ireland Including Private Homes
Decorating your home or business with festive Christmas lights is becoming more popular annually with many raising money for charities nationwide. Below is a list of some of those private homes & businesses who are making an effort this Christmas.
- House of Lights – Weston Cresent, Lucan, Dublin in aid of Temple Street.
- Josie’s Xmas Lights – Rathdrum Road, Crumlin, Dublin in aid of Hope for Ryan. Santa will be at Josie’s from 7 – 8.30pm every night from the 15th.
- Byrnes – Rathdrum Road in aid of Hope for Cian.
- Pearse Villa’s, Sallynoggin, Dublin.
- Winston Lights – Rossfield Grove, Tallaght, Dublin.
- Stoughairs Christmas Lights- Tamarisk Way, Kilnamangh, Dublin.
- Mr Tillys -Bath Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin.
- Ardburgh Road, Dalkey, Dublin.
- Anthony Doyle – Arklow, Wexford in aid of the RNLI and Arklow First Responders.
- Doyles – Bagnelstown, Carlow.
- McSweeneys – Drimoleague, West Cork.
- Tony Noonan – Templeglantine in West Limerick.
- Sheahan – Askeaton, Limerick in aid of Enable Ireland.
- Coolnagrane, Foxford, Mayo in aid of Bumbleance.
- Gibseys – Galway Road, Tuam.
- Tony Fitzpatrick – Green Road, Drinagh, Wexford.
- Carrolls – Bruree, Limerick.
- Hayes Christmas Lights – Shanagolden, Limerick.
- Árd Mhuire, Rathangan,Co. Kildare
- Bernie Carroll’s – Coolruss, Bruree in Limerick In aid of St Joseph’s Foundation, Pieta house and Carebright Dementia Centre Bruff.
Over to you now. Have you got a favourite place to go and look at Christmas Lights with the kids? Tell us in the comments below.