There’s something wonderfully Christmassy about throwing on some cosy winter gear and strolling around a chilly Christmas market, while soaking up the festive atmosphere and wrapping your hands around a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine.
Lots of European cities like Munich, Prague and Berlin boast globally known Yuletide markets, but you don’t have to dig out your passport and travel hours on a plane to experience one for yourself.
Over the past seven or eight years, a handful of cracking markets (see what I did there?) have popped up across Ireland, posing the perfect opportunity for those on the hunt for a Christmas market experience that’s closer to home.
If you’re in search of some Christmas markets in Ireland, here’s five of the best to visit in 2017!
1 – The Galway Christmas Markets / Christmas in Galway – 17th Nov. – 22nd Dec. 2017
Proudly donning the title of Ireland’s longest running Christmas market, the Galway Christmas markets have been on the go for over six years which, considering the Munich markets are over 200 years, really isn’t that long.
The markets span across Galway City from Eyre Square to Spanish Arch, boasting 50+ stalls buckling under a fine selection of food and drink.
There’s also amusements to keep the kids happy and a couple of beer tents where you can rest your feet for a few hours and nurse a stein or three.
The dates for this year’s markets have been officially confirmed, with the launch taking place a couple of days earlier than last year on November 17th.
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2 – The Belfast Christmas Markets 2017 – Nov. 18th – Dec 23rd
For over eleven years, Belfast’s City Hall has been transformed into a traditional German-style Christmas market, packed to the brim with 90 masterfully handcrafted wooden chalets.
Officially confirmed to kick off on Saturday 18th November, the 2017 Belfast Christmas markets are once again set to play host to traders from Germany, Spain, France, Italy and, of course, Ireland.
Visitors to the markets can gorge on Crepes from France, Belgian chocolates, and giant German bratwurst.
3 – Glow – A Cork Christmas Celebration – Nov. 24th – Dec. 18th (See below)
We’ll gladly embrace any excuse to visit Cork, a county so jammed with beauty and buzz that it’s a must for everyone visiting Ireland.
Thankfully, during the festive period, we’ve one more reason to visit the Rebel County.
Cork City’s Grand Parade and Bishop Lucey Park house Cork’s Christmas markets and, if you’re planning a visit, expect delicious artisan food, vintage carousel rides, choral performances, mulled wine and entertainment galore.
The dates for the Christmas markets in Cork are yet to be confirmed, but if it kicks off on the last Friday of the month, as it has previously, we can expect to see them launch on November 24th.
4 – Waterford Winterval 2017 – Nov. 17th – Dec. 23rd
When it comes to Christmas Markets, Waterford doesn’t fool about.
Every November, the city is transformed into a winter wonderland with activities for all the family to dive into.
Throw on a pair of skates and brave the ice rink, or sit back and relax on the Christmas carousel while munching on some festive food.
Have a wander around and browse some of the many stalls, or take the kids to visit Santa’s Grotto, the Toy Museum and the Winterval Express Train.
This year, Waterford Winterval 2017 is set to be extended by eight days, in comparison to last year. It kicks off on November 17th and runs until December 23rd.