Festive nights out that you cannot miss this Christmas

Ciaran Bermingham and Keith Hanley in Red Riding Hood at the Everyman, Cork

From pantos and carol concerts and regular rock gigs, Marjorie Brennan selects the best events for some seasonal fun over the next few weeks.



Cork Opera House, Dec 1 - Jan 20.


Here's our third clue for the #greatpantogiveaway! Come find us and get the slipper clue to be in with a chance of winning over €1000 worth of prizes! For dancing fame In the moderne age You need your clothes To hit the stage

A photo posted by Cork Opera House (@corkoperahouse) on Nov 26, 2016 at 5:00am PST

The Opera House panto never disappoints when it comes to creative content and high production values.

The live music is back, and the cast features regular favourites Frank Mackey and Michael Grennell.

Little Red Riding Hood

Everyman Theatre, Dec 10 - Jan 8

It’s girl power all the way as Red takes on a leather-clad big bad wolf.

The always entertaining Ciaran Birmingham plays Granny.

Sleeping Beauty

Village Hall, Patrick’s Quay, Dec 9-30

For those looking for something a bit different from the traditional fare, Dowtcha Puppets will be staging Cork’s first puppet pantomime.

Beauty, played by Irene Kelleher, will be joined by 10 life-size puppets trying to break the curse on the beleaguered princess.

The Improvised Panto

Cork Opera House, Dec 9-22

This alternative panto from ITSA theatre company has gone from strength to strength since it began six years ago, playing to small crowds in the Half-Moon theatre.

The adult-themed show now takes to the main stage at Cork Opera House at 10.30pm, when the smallies are safely tucked up in bed.

Unprepared and unscripted, the audience gets to choose the panto and characters.

Christmas at the Cathedral

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Dec 10

The Christmas spirit will be soaring in the stunning surrounds of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral as soprano Majella Cullagh performs some festive favourites, along with the Littleshoes Players, the Montfort Youth Choir and PfizerPfonics.

Opera House Christmas Concert

Cork Opera House, Dec 19

Presented in collaboration with the Cork Operatic Society, this concert will showcase the talents of soloists Mary Hegarty, Owen Gilhooly and Gemma Sugrue, along with choirs from local schools Regina Mundi and Chríost Rí.

Christmas Reflections by Cór Cois Abhann

Honan Chapel, UCC, Dec 13

The historic campus chapel, which recently celebrated its centenary, plays host to a performance of carols and festive favourites in aid of Simon.

Madrigal ’75

Curtis Auditorium, Cork School of Music, Union Quay, Dec 21

The renowned vocal group present their ever-popular Christmas concert.

The programme includes rarely performed works alongside Christmas classics, with music spanning the ages from early to contemporary.

Christmas Pantomonium

Riverside Park Hotel, Macroom, Jan 6-8

The show goes on for the Briery Gap Theatre in Macroom after a fire at the premises earlier this year.

It relocates its Christmas event to the Riverside Park Hotel, where panto legends Nonie and Donie will be on hand to provide plenty of Christmas cheer in this circus-themed extravaganza.

Live at St Luke’s

St Luke’s Church, Summerhill North, throughout December.

The successful concert series continues over the Christmas season, with acts including Declan O’Rourke (Dec 10), Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Cormac Begley (Dec 16) Rubberbandits (Dec 22), Jerry Fish with special guest Jack O’Rourke (Dec 28) and Hothouse Flowers (Dec 29).

Handel’s Messiah

Triskel Arts Centre,Tobin St, Dec 8

The former church will ring to the glorious sounds of this Christmas perennial which will be performed by the Irish Baroque Orchestra, joined by the Resurgam choir.

The Triskel is also showing an eclectic selection of Christmas movies over the festive season, with Die Hard, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Muppets’ Christmas Carol featuring.


The Ugly Sisters and Yer Wan

Olympia Theatre, Dec 16-Jan 8

Man of the moment Al Porter brings his own unique spin to the classic Cinderella.

Robin Hood and his Merry Men

Gaiety Theatre, until Jan 22

This theatrical institution has been staging pantos for well over a century and its popularity continues, with extra dates already added for this fun-filled trip to Sherwood Forest.


The Helix, DCU, until Jan 22

The Tivoli, Francis St, Dec 13-Jan 15.

The street urchin turned prince is a popular choice this year, with both the Helix and the Tivoli staging the popular show. TV3’s Alan Hughes as Sammy Sausages is joined by Brian Dowling as the genie in the Tivoli production.

The Snowman

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Dec 11-18

The film of Raymond Briggs’ classic tale has become a Christmas staple, and the live orchestra treatment is always a showstopper.

Big The Musical

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Dec 8-Jan 7

This is sure to be a hit with kids, as well as the grown-ups who were kids when they saw the film starring Tom Hanks.

The stage version stars The Wanted singer and Strictly Come Dancing champion Jay McGuiness as Josh, the 12-year-old whose wish to be ‘big’ is granted, with hilarious and heart-warming consequences.

Celine Byrne Home for Christmas

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Dec 18

The well-known soprano performs much-loved operatic arias and seasonal favourites, under the baton of David Brophy.

Children of Lir

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dec 14

Brophy will also lend his talents to a performance of Patrick Cassidy’s iconic work, in aid of the Friends of St Luke’s.

Actor Patrick Bergin will narrate, with the Enchiriadis Chamber Choir and the Orchestra of Ireland providing the music.


Nathan Carter

The INEC, Killarney, Dec 31

The country star has plenty to celebrate as he caps off a great year.


Siamsa Tíre, Tralee, Dec 29 — Jan 3

Let your hair down for this Kerry take on the classic fairytale.


The Nutcracker

Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Dec 9 and 10

Follow heroine Clara’s magical midnight journey to the Land of Snow and Kingdom of Sweets at the Ballet Ireland staging of the Christmas classic.

Beauty and The Beast

University Concert Hall, Dec 19 to Jan 8

The tale as old as time boasts the talents of Karl Spain, George McMahon, Leanne Moore, and Aoibhin Garrihy.


WLR Lions Club Appeal Concert of Christmas Music

Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Dec 17

This charity event has been performed under the direction of conductor Kevin O’Carroll for more than 25 years.

The concert, aired on WLR on Christmas Day, will be especially poignant given the recent death of broadcasting legend Billy McCarthy, who compered the show for many years.

Beauty and the Beast

Theatre Royal, The Mall, Dec 3-30

Panto veteran Richie Hayes returns to direct with the Waterford Panto Society at the city’s Theatre Royal.

Audiences are in for a visual treat, with sets designed by legendary street theatre company Spraoi.

On December 8, there will be a specially adapted sensory performance for those with special needs and autism.



National Opera House, Dec 19-23

Children’s author Eoin Colfer continues to spread his creative wings with this musical, staged in the writer’s home town.

Co-written with Liam Bates and directed by Ben Barnes, Noël follows a young girl who helps a homeless man rediscover the magic of Christmas on her journey to find her missing mother.

More on this topic

Meet the five Boho types you'll meet at festivals this summerMeet the five Boho types you'll meet at festivals this summer


The Cosmetify Index reveals the cosmetics companies that are generating the most buzz online – and Dubai-based Huda Kattan has the top spot.Huda Beauty tops the 10 ‘most popular’ beauty brands this year

Read the script of Kya deLongchamps’ kitchen-sink drama to set the scene to make an informed choice when selecting this home essentialTake the plunge: Read this checklist before you splash out on your new kitchen sink

WHAT do aerospace engineering and baking have in common? A lot, says scientist and Bake-Off finalist Andrew Smyth, one of the presenters of the family show Baking in Space.The Shape I'm In: Andrew Smyth - Bake-Off finalist

It would be foolish to discount all evergreen plants when seeking autumn variety, says Peter Dowdall.Showing their true colours: Don't discount all evergreen plants when seeking autumn variety

More From The Irish Examiner