Are you looking for free things to do with kids around Ireland during the Christmas Break? Here are some free things to do with kids this Christmas 2019:
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FREE Christmas Fun Day at Lough Key Forest & Activity Park
Sunday 15th December from 1pm – Celebrate Christmas at Lough Key Forest and Activity Park on December 15th when Santa will be popping in for a visit and you can enjoy free tasty hot chocolate, mince pies & mulled wine. There will be a live outdoor nativity scene and festive traditional music and dance.
Free Family Events at National Museum of Ireland, Dublin & Mayo
From Winter & Christmas Activity Trails to Christmas Craft Workshops to Christmas Carols, check out the Free Family Events at the 4 National Museum of Ireland sites, Collins Barracks, Merrion Square and Kildare Street in Dublin and Country Life Mayo.
Visit the Animals at Powerscourt Stables, Wicklow
Visit the animals at the stables in Powerscourt House and Gardens, Co Wicklow. See Santa’s animals at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion from November 23rd to December 23rd 2019, 10am to 5pm daily.
Kids will love the chance to meet some farm animals’ right up close including Santa’s deer, pygmy goats, miniature donkeys, rabbits and guinea pigs. Children of all ages and adults alike will enjoy a visit to the stables, which is free of charge. The Powerscourt Stables are located beside Powerscourt Garden Pavilion.
While there, you can also choose the perfect Christmas Tree from the selection of locally grown trees on offer in the Tree Centre.
Check out our Christmas Fun Ideas, chock full of festive ideas.
Enjoy The Moving Crib Parnell Square, Dublin
The Moving Crib will be back in Parnell Square, Dublin from November 28th 2019 to January 5th 2020. This year they celebrate 63 years of delighting families for free. The crib is open daily from 11am to 6pm except for Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day and New Years Day.
Free Christmas Events at Farmleigh, Dublin
Farmleigh has a host of free events running on December 7th, 8th, 14th, 14th, 21st & 22nd including:
- Christmas Food & Craft Markets 10am to 5pm
- Festive Crib from 10am to 5pm
- Festive Barbershop Melodies 2pm to 4pm
- Christmas Puppet Show from 12 to 12.30pm, 1.45 to 2.15pm, 3.30 to 4pm*
- Storytelling for Children from 12.45 to 1.30pm, 2.30 to 3.15pm & 4.15 to 5pm*
- Christmas Carol Singing 1.30 to 3.30pm*
*These events are free but do require tickets.
Visit a Christmas Market or Craft Fair, Nationwide
Soak up the Christmas atmosphere at your local Christmas Market or Craft Fair and support local traders and craftspeople. Here’s our pick of the Best Christmas Markets in Ireland.
Free Christmas Event at Jervis Street Centre, Dublin
Santa arrives to his new Magical Castle in Jervis Shopping Centre on November 16th 2019. There will be FREE magical festivities throughout the day he arrives from 11.00am – 3.30pm.
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Free Christmas Events at Arnotts, Dublin
Saturday November 30th to December 24th Arnotts Dublin have a host of Free Christmas Events and Fun including Christmas Themed Workshops on November 30th & December 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd & 24th from 11am to 4pm.
Free Certified Elf School at Stillorgan Village Shopping Centre, Dublin
Elf School is back for December 2019 on December 7th & 14th. Booking for your place in the free Elf School open on Wednesday 20th at 2pm and places are limited and allocated on a first come first serve basis.
Experience Christmas in Cork
Head to the Christmas Market on the Grand Parade which runs each weekend from Friday 29th November to Sunday 22nd December. Once again GLOW returns to Cork and there will be a free festive installation in Bishop Lucey Park, the giant Ferris wheel returns, and there will be food markets and festive entertainment galore.
Enjoy Spraoi’s Winter Wonderland at Winterval Waterford
As part of the annual Winterval Festival which runs on select dates from November 23rd to December 23rd 2019 in Waterford, Constitution Square (behind Bishop’s Palace) will be transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland with music, lights, mystical forest dwellers and large scale effect toys. The Spraoi Winter Wonderland will be open to visitors at weekends from 5pm to 8pm from November 29th to December 23rd. It is one of many free events taking place as part of the Winterval Festival 2019.
Family Winter Walks
Ireland has an abundance of walking trails that are just the job to blow away the cowebs and get out and about for a season stroll with the family. We asked our audience to share their favourite Family Winter Walks with us.
2019 Christmas Day Swims Nationwide
Christmas Day swims take place around Ireland to raise money for charity. Swimmers brave the icy waters with swim gear and a Santa hat. Everyone is welcome to take part, although children may prefer to watch! Many ask you to register online in advance. Some well known Christmas Day Swims in Ireland include:
- COPE Galway swim takes place from 10am to 1pm December 25th at Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill, Galway
- Bundoran Beach Swim, Co Donegal swim takes place from the main beach at 12.15 on December 25th with funds raised going to Ozanam House/St Vincent De Paul
- Carlingford Lough Pier to Pier Swim is usually at 3pm on Christmas Eve
- Forty Foot, Sandycove, Dublin takes place on December 25th from early morning to early afternoon
- Guillamene, Tramore Co Waterford on December 25th from 10.30 to midday and funds raised will go to St Martins School
- Kilkee, Co Clare at 12.30pm on Christmas Day
- Lockes Beach, Fenit Co Kerry, takes place at 12pm on Christmas Day
- Gortglass Lake, Clare from 12pm on December 25th
- Skerries, Co Dublin from the sailing club at 12pm on December 25th
- Rosslare Strand at 12pm on Christmas Day
- Clontarf, Dublin Christmas Day Swim is organised by the Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club is on December 25th from 12pm to 1pm. Proceeds in aid of RNLI
- Wicklow Swim Club organise an annual charity swim in Wicklow Harbour on December 26th, St Stephens Day, at 12.30pm
- Bray, Co Wicklow annual Christmas charity swim takes place on New Year’s Day at midday. Meet at the Esplande Hotel.
- Ballyheigue Beach Christmas Day Swim takes place at 12pm on the 25th with participants immersing themselves in the sea a traditional 3 times.
Visit the Deer at Coole Park, Galway
Coole Park is perfect anytime of year for a family outing. At Christmas you can visit the Deer who live beside the visitor centre, enjoy a walk on one of the numerous trails around the woods, see if you can spot on a swan on the turlough and run around the Autograph Tree in the Walled Garden.
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Find The Stick Man or the Gruffalo!, Belfast
Take the Stick Man Activity Trail or The Gruffalo Activity Trail this December at Colin Glen and see what you can spot along the way. The trail is self guided and is aimed at children & families from aged 3 years+. The experience is completely free so bring the family and enjoy one of Belfast’s most beautiful parks.
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Find Fairies in Erica’s Fairy Forest, Cavan
Erica’s Fairy Forest in Cootehill, Co Cavan was created by her parents Natasha and Ciaran to honour Erica’s memory and her unshakable belief in fairies and magical kingdoms. It is also a thank you to the people of Cootehill and surrounding areas whose love and support was never ending throughout Erica’s journey.
We have more Fairy Trail suggestions for you too on our 15 Places to Find Magical Fairy Trails Around Ireland.
Wren Day in Dingle, Kerry
The people of Dingle, Co. Kerry are out and about early on St Stephen’s Day as they carry on the traditions of hunting the Wren for the annual Wren Day Festival which takes place on December 26th. Head along from 6am, when the streets are full of music, dance and the Wrenboys are dressed in masks, straw and colourful clothing. A truly magical sight.
Run a GOAL Mile, Nationwide
GOAL Miles are held at Christmas in villages, towns and cities right across Ireland. The event sees tens of thousands of participants run, jog or walk a Mile and raise funds and awareness for GOAL’s programmes in the developing world. Find a GOAL Mile near you or organise one!
New Years Festival Dublin
Join in the fun at NYF festival Dublin which takes place around Custom House Quay on December 31st & January 1st. There will be a family friendly FREE Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee from 6pm to 7pm where you can enjoy a spectacular laser and lights show and countdown to the new year. You will need to register for tickets in advance.
Castlecomer Wellie Race, Kilkenny
In Co. Kilkenny, The Castlecomer Wellie Race takes place again this year on New Year’s Day, Jan 1st 2020. All are welcome to come along (in wellies!) and participate in the fun to help raise money for charity.
If you have any other favourite free things to do with kids around Ireland in your local area that you’d like us to share with other parents, let us know in the comments below