5 Unique Christmas Activities in Ireland

If you’re looking for great winter break ideas, consider Ireland as a choice. In addition to many of the traditional Christmas celebrations with trees and lights, gift-giving and visits with Santa, there are also some pretty unique activities that take place in Ireland during the festive period.

No matter where you decide to visit in Ireland, there’s bound to be something on for the most popular holiday of the year. But if you’re stuck for ideas, check out a few of our suggestions for a Christmas to remember on the Emerald Isle:

Christmas Racing Festival in Leopardstown

It is still unclear if this festival will be back on for Christmas 2021, so keep an eye out for more information if this is an event you fancy attending. The Leopardstown Christmas Festival includes four days of exciting National Hunt racing and course-wide entertainment.

The Christmas Festival has also featured extra attractions each day including live music in the Festival Marquee, Winning Line celebrity tipster panel, and the Savills Style Awards.

With its famously seasonal, fun atmosphere, the Festival always attracts celebrities and stars from across the music, sporting, corporate and political worlds, as well as racing fans from near and far.

Christmas Tractor Parade in Carrick on Suir

The tradition of Christmas Tractor Parades in rural towns of Ireland began in Carrick on Suir in 2017 and it is now the longest running parade of its kind in Ireland. While a tractor parade may not sound that interesting at first – it’s actually a light show of sorts with each tractor covered in Christmas lights. It even holds a world record for the convoy with the most illuminated lights (118,000). 

While you might be able to find a tractor parade in other small towns, the one in Carrick on Suir usually includes amusements and a Santa’s grotto. It also serves as a fundraiser for local causes.

Wren Boys Parade in Dingle, Kerry

Each St. Stephen’s Day (December 26), areas in Dingle, Co Kerry come alive when the Wren Boys come to town in a colourful and very ancient one-day celebration. Wren boys, also called mummers, dress up in masks, straw suits and colourful motley clothing and are accompanied by traditional ceilidh bands. It is a memorable day of marching, music, and dance. People might also go door to door looking for sweets or donations to charity.

While this celebration used to be a widespread occurrence, its popularity waned for a time. The dedication to it in Dingle, however, helped created a resurgence of its popularity around Ireland and you may be able to find a Wren parade in quite a few other towns as well.

Christmas Markets in Galway

While you’ll find Christmas markets in just about any city in Ireland, the ones in Galway are considered some of the best. It has been running for over a decade and has a variety of activities and cuisines to try. In the past there has been: a 32 metre Ferris wheel, a Carousel, an Après Ski Bar, Santa’s Express Train, live performances, puppet shows, carol singing, a German Bierkeller and more.

No matter what age you are or what you’re looking for at a Christmas market, you’re bound to find it in Galway’s markets.

Christmas Panto in Dublin

Depending on where you’re from, perhaps you’ve already heard of a panto. But they’re only just gaining traction in the United States so if you haven’t heard of one, don’t worry! A panto is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is encouraged and expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers. They’re very camp and colourful and a great day out for the family.

In Ireland and indeed the rest of the UK, they’re an incredibly popular Christmastime activity. If you’re in the Dublin area, the Gaiety Theatre and the Olympia Theatre are two of the most well-known Christmas panto venues around.


Ready to plan your Irish getaway? It’s never too soon to start planning the perfect holiday. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help coordinate a bespoke Christmas holiday in Ireland.

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