The best Christmas markets right on your doorstep

Ciara McDonnell rounds up the best Christmas markets closer to home.


A firm staple of Cork’s Christmas calendar, nothing sets the festive tone quite like a stroll down the Grand Parade during Glow — the city’s month-long Christmas celebration.

Each year, Glow adopts a theme and this year is no different; Bishop Lucey Park will be transformed into a fantastical wonderland inspired by The Night Before Christmas in Cork of yore. Start at the festive food market on the Grand Parade before taking a spin on the 30 metre Ferris wheel to get an unparalleled view of the city.

Head from there to Bishop Lucey Park where Santa and his elves await with all kinds of festive mayhem aimed at the smaller members of the family. Glow officially opens on Friday November 30 and is open every weekend until December 22.

City Hall Crafts & Design Fair

Taking place from November 23 to 25, this market marks the official beginning of the festive season in Cork city.

With hundreds of exhibitors showcasing handcrafted gift ideas, this is an ideal spot to pick up Christmas gifts for your most discerning loved ones.

Ballymaloe Craft Fair

Make a day of it and head east to the Ballymaloe Grainstore, whose annual craft fair runs from November 16-18 and will feature a wide array of textiles, glassware, sculptures, art, woodwork, jewellery, leather goods and lots of gorgeous local and national crafty gift ideas.

Waterford Winterval

Transforming a city into a winter wonderland for a whole month is no mean feat, but every year, Winterval just gets bigger and better.

There are three markets dotted around the city, at Cathedral Square, Constitution Square and Arundel Square, and all feature yummy treats and gorgeous handcrafted gifts from some of the area’s most talented artisan producers. Cathedral Square is a great place to bring the kids for a hot chocolate — there is a light show repeated there every half an hour, making it the perfect place to catch your breath in between all the excitement that the festival has to offer. November 17– December 23.

Garter Lane Christmas Craft Fair

Now in its 35th year, over 40 of Waterford’s top craftspeople come together each year to showcase the finest range of crafts that the area has to offer at Garter Lane.

You’ll find everything from hand-woven baskets to handmade skincare at this fair that runs from November 24 until December 23.

Christmas Milk Market

Limerick’s Milk Market becomes a hub of Christmas cheer throughout the month of December.

There’s the traditional Christmas market, which sells all kinds of handmade gifts and festive food to warm the cockles this festive season. Running from Friday December 14 to Monday December 24, the festival kicks off with an extra special Transition Year Student Enterprise Market from 10am-2pm on its first day.

There’ll be choirs on hand to provide the soundtrack to your shopping experience, and kids can send their Santa letter direct to the North Pole at the onsite Santa Letter Service.

Rockbarton Christmas Fair

Rockbarton Garden centre are going all out on the first Sunday of December with food stalls, a children’s storyteller, Christmas trees and wreaths and even a mulled wine reception. rockbarton

Galway Continental Christmas Market

Celebrating its ninth year, the jewel of Galway’s festive crown attracted over 350,000 visitors in 2017 and looks set for the same level of success this year.

Featuring more than 50 wooden chalets selling gifts and food, Eyre Square is the centre of activity for the month-long festival.

Santa’s Grotto has pride of place, as does the German beer hall, as well as a whole programme of theatrical spectaculars throughout the season.

The fair will host a large amusement section this year, with a 32 metre Big Wheel, as well as regular performances from some of Galway’s top musical talent. From November 16 to December 23.

Oranmore Christmas Shopping Fair

For the second year, The Oranmore Lodge Hotel will be hosting this local craft fair, taking place on November 25 from 11am-3pm and featuring mulled wine, festive music and an early appearance from Santa Claus.

Athenry Christmas Shopping Fair

On November 15, there’ll be crafts and food galore from makers who hail from the area at the Raheen Woods Hotel from 7pm to 10pm.

Dublin Gifted

The RDS becomes a grown- up’s festive grotto from December 5-9 when Gifted (formerly the National Crafts and Design Fair) rolls into town, Gifted features everything from hand-blown glass to fashion and fragrance.

Dublin Christmas Flea Market

If you are achingly hip, then you won’t be satisfied with any old Christmas market. The Dublin Flea will fill your cup, resplendent with makings from the most up and coming creative talent the city has to offer. December 6-9 and 13-16;

Dún Laoghaire Christmas Market

If you like your festivities served with a side of bracing sea air, then head to Dún Laoghaire Christmas Market, which will take up residence along The Metals.

Walk between Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire. Featuring lots of yummy food and crafts galore, the market is a great reason to take a stroll along the 6km historic walkway. Every weekend from November 28 to December 23.

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