Pantos, big wheels, festivals — Ciara McDonnell rounds up the best events this December to keep you busy in the build up to Christmas
Cork on Ice
The hugely popular Cork on Ice has moved to a new location this year. Running until January 26, the rink has moved to Centre Park Road (the Live at the Marquee site). No need to worry if you’re a beginner skater — all levels of ability are catered for here in the large main rink and smaller rink aimed at the littlest members of the family.
You’ll get the best prices by booking in advance online. Adult tickets start at €13 and children at €12 for off-peak times, and a family of four can skate for €50 at peak times of the day.
Choose Your Tree
The Field of Dreams will be opening its Christmas tree farm on December 7 to choose your pre-booked Christmas tree.
Ranging from 6 ft to 7 ft tall, all proceeds from the sale of their selection of Noble fir trees goes towards Down Syndrome Ireland and keeping the Field of Dreams alive.
They’ll have a Christmas café onsite selling all sorts of treats, so it’s the ideal way to kick off the family festive season.
Trees cost €45 and come netted. Search ‘Christmas Tree Sales at Field of Dreams’ on www.eventbrite.ie to reserve yours.
Head to Garrettstown beach on December 1 to take part in Hope Foundation’s annual Santa Splash.
Whether you’re willing to brave the icy water yourself, or want to cheer on those that do, this is an event full of laughter and high jinks.
Participants are welcome to dive into the sea in costume or to decorate their surfboard — it all adds to the fun.
The fundraiser begins at 1pm. For more information or for a sponsorship card, contact Áine Bonass on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santa’s Crafty Labs
Planet Science Kidz are opening up their festive science lab at Limerick’s King John’s Castle this December.
This one-hour festive science workshop will allow children to engage in the awesome world of chemistry, explore glittery slime, and be amazed by intriguing polymers.
They’ll learn all about acid base reactions by launching ‘Rudolph rockets’ and explore eruptions in the erupting ornaments experiment. The workshops take place on December 14 and 21, and cost €21 per child. See www.planetsciencekidz.com
The iconic Coca-Cola truck is returning to Ireland for the ninth year in a row this Christmas and it’s coming to Mahon Point Shopping Centre.
You’ll be able to take pictures, buy merchandise and indulge in a fizzy drink for the day that’s in it.
All proceeds from the Coca-Cola truck tour go to the Saint Vincent De Paul.
The truck will park up at Mahon Point on Friday, December 13 from 2pm-8pm.
This year’s panto at The Everyman is full of beans, pardon the pun. The team behind last year’s sold-out interpretation of Cinderella have reimagined Jack and the Beanstalk, and the result is full of laughs and traditional panto fun.
Directed by Catherine Mahon-Buckley, this is a wonderful way to kick off the festive season.
Tickets are €30 each, and a family ticket of four is €105. Performances run until Sunday, January 12, with matinees on most days. There is a special Irish Sign Language performance on Friday, January 3 at 1.30pm. www.everymancork.com
Join Wendy, the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, and Hook in a spectacular version of Peter Pan at The Opera House. The show is packed with technicolour sets, fantastic costumes, lots of singing and dancing, and a whole heap of belly-laughs.
The Opera House has a crack team behind the pantomimes and tickets sell extremely quickly, so be sure to book well in advance.
Tickets start at €27.50, and a family pass starts at €90. Performances run until January 19, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ballet Ireland are bringing the most famous ballet of all time to Glór in Ennis this December.
Swan Lake tells the tale of a beautiful princess who has been turned into a swan and is saved from her fate by love — what better way to start the festive season? It features 27 of Ireland’s most internationally acclaimed ballet dancers and is an absolute treat for any child who wants to grow up to dance one day.
Tickets are €25 and €70 for a family of four. The performances take place on Thursday, December 12 and Friday, December 13 at 7.30pm. The show is two hours and 20 minutes long and is aimed at children over the age of eight.
Home Alone AND ELF
A live version of Elf comes to the 3Arena on December 28 for two nights.
Keeping the festive movie theme, the INEC in Killarney is bringing another favourite Christmas movie to life this December with a very special screening.
For one night only, John Williams’ delightful score will be performed live to picture by The Orchestra of Ireland.
Tickets for Elf start at €35, 3arena.ie; Home Alone in Concert takes place on Monday December 2 at 8pm. Tickets start from €30.25 for a child and €49.50 for an adult. inec.ie
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
Little ones will delight in going to see a performance of Branar’s ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas at Limetree Theatre in Limerick.
Aimed at children aged five and over, join this progressive theatre company as they take you on a magical journey through to the most magical night of the year.
Inspired by the classic poem, this bilingual show combines storytelling, original live music, and puppetry to create a fun and magical festive show for the whole family. A treat.
The show takes place on Saturday 14 th December 14 at 2.30pm and tickets are priced at €8 each.
Waterford will transform again into Winterval this December, a festival that tranforms the destination into a winter wonderland that is not to be missed. Can’t afford Lapland? This is the next best thing.
Meanwhile in Kilkenny Yulefest takes over.
With a jam-packed programme of events, there is a huge amount to entertain the whole family — and it won’t break the bank either.
The festival prides itself on offering free as well as paid-for events to ensure that everyone feels included, no matter what their budget.
See a full programme of events at https://yulefestkilkenny.ie/
The magical wonder of GLOW returns to Cork this Christmas, adding a touch of festive sparkle to the city centre.
Grand Parade is once again home to the giant Ferris wheel and wonderful Christmas Market, and Bishop Lucey Park is transforming into the venue for the National Elf Test for a whole month.
Expect lots of fun from Santa’s helpers including puppet shows, the Elf Hall of Fame and an Elf and Fitness Gym.
All details of opening hours can be found at http://corkchristmascelebration.ie