Christmas events 2019: Your guide to pantos, concerts, festivals and more

Cinderella: Matthew Carpenter as the ugly sister Bernie, Jake Carter as Prince Charming and Rob Murphy as Buffy, at the Pantodome at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin. Photograph: Leon Farrell

PANTOMIMES and THEATRE

Belfast

A Christmas Carol
The Mac; until January 5th; £25/£12.50; themaclive.com
Family-friendly festive fable, in a version by Tara-Lynne O’Neill and Simon Magill.

Beauty and the Beast
Grand Opera House; until January 12th; £36.25/£21.75; goh.co.uk
Traditional tale given a traditional telling, with May McFettridge – in her 30th season – and Ben Richards as the bestial hero. 

The Frozen Princess
Waterfront Hall; until December 19th; £16-£66, waterfront.co.uk
Loosely based on the fairy tale; more closely inspired by the Disney film.

Peter Pan 
Lyric Theatre; until January 4th; £12.50-£17.50; lyrictheatre.co.uk
New musical version of JM Barrie’s story of childhood innocence corrupted by age, in a stage adaptation by Paul Boyd.

Co Carlow

A Christmas Tale
Visual, Carlow; tomorrow; €16/€10, visualcarlow.ie
An original theatrical Christmas adventure from Janice de Bróithe.

Co Clare

Mother Goose
Glór, Ennis; December 21st-31st; €15; glor.ie
Fairy-tale mash-up in traditional panto style, presented by Pantaloons.

Cork

Jack and the Beanstalk
Everyman Palace; until January 12th; €30; everymancork.com
Climb the beanstalk with Jack (Jimmy Brockie) and some original accomplices, including Professor Saxophen (Michael Sands) and Charlotte Cowhee (Ciaran Bermingham).

Peter Pan
Cork Opera House; until January 19th; €27.50/€33/€35; corkoperahouse.ie
Traditional panto sprinkled with fairy dust for spectacular effect.

Dublin

A Christmas Carol
Gate Theatre, Dublin 1; until January 18th; €15/€25/€35, gatetheatre.ie
Fionnula Flanagan, Camille O’Sullivan and Kate Gilmore play Dickens’s ghosts in this high-brow production.

Aladdin
Gaiety Theatre, Dublin 2; until January 5th; €37/€19.50, gaietytheatre.ie
Written, choreographed and directed by panto king Daryn Crosbie.

Beauty and the Beast
Axis, Ballymun, Dublin 9; December 22nd-January 26th; €10; axisballymun.ie
Traditional princess tale, with added local flair.

Cinderella: Matthew Carpenter as the ugly sister Bernie, Jake Carter as Prince Charming and Rob Murphy as Buffy, at the Pantodome at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin. Photograph: Leon Farrell
Cinderella: Matthew Carpenter as the ugly sister Bernie, Jake Carter as Prince Charming and Rob Murphy as Buffy

Cinderella
Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8; until January 5th; €28/€31.50; panto.ie
The Cheerios Panto finds a new home at the purpose-built Pantodome.

Cinderella: The Story of Cinders and Her Fella
Olympia Theatre, Dublin 2; December 20th-January 4th; €27/€35; olympia.ie
With Erin McGregor as the Ugly Sister and James Patrice as the Fairy Godbrother. 

Dream Gun Reads The Lion King
Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin 2; December 21st; €10; smockalley.com
Family-friendly instalment from the comedy troupe.

Elf: A Christmas Spectacular
3Arena, Dublin 1; December 28th and 29th; €35/€55, 3arena.ie
Multimedia musical based on the film and Broadway hit, with Kym Marsh. 

Snow White
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24; December 10th-January 5th; €19/€17, family €65; civictheatre.ie
With Megan Clarke as Snow White, Conor O’Brien as Prince Charming and Morgan Crowley as Dame Dottie.

Moon Woke Me Up, at the Ark children’s cultural centre in Dublin
Moon Woke Me Up, at the Ark children’s cultural centre in Dublin

Moon Woke Me Up
The Ark, Dublin 2; December 14th-29th; €9.50/€12.50, ark.ie
A magical interactive space adventure from Little Big Top, for ages three to five.

Orson Welles’ Christmas Carol
New Theatre, Dublin 2; until December 14th;14/€18, thenewtheatre.com
Festive “radio play within a play” that matches Dickens with the actor and film director. For ages eight and up.

Robin Hood
Liberty Hall, Dublin 1; December 19th-31st; €25.50; libertypanto.com
With Eric Lalor as Simon Scowell, Sheriff of Snottingham.

Robin Hood
Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin 16; tomorrow-January 5th; €18/€16; milltheatre.ie
Sixty minutes of panto pandemonium, directed by Geoff O’Keefe.

Room on the Broom
Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin; December 18th-January 5th; €18.50; paviliontheatre.ie
Musical adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s classic picture book.

Santa’s Fairytale Christmas
Axis, Ballymun, Dublin 9; December 22nd; €11; axisballymun.ie
Original story about Santa’s struggle to overthrow some elvish villains, from Talisman Theatre.

The Three Musketeers
Helix, Dublin City University, Dublin 9; until January 19th; €24/€28; thehelix.ie
TheatreworX gets inspired by classic literature for its traditional, spectacular panto.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Photograph: Ste Murray
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Photograph: Ste Murray

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1; until December 28th; €10/€16/€18, abbeytheatre.ie
Magical moral fable from Collapsing Horse.

Co Galway

Aladdin
Town Hall Theatre; December 29th-January 12th; €17/€15; tht.ie
Traditional panto with local flavour, including the Renmore Smurfs.

Co Kerry

Cinderella
INEC Killarney; January 3rd-5th; €25; inec.ie
Touring panto with George McMahon, and RTÉjr stars.

Co Kildare

Heart of Winter
Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge; today and tomorrow; 8; riverbank.ie
Seasonal musical story-themed theatre from Lyngo, for ages three and up.

Rudolph Saves Christmas
Moat Theatre, Naas; until December 14th; €16; moattheatre.com
In a version by Ben Crocker.

Santa’s Fairytale Christmas
Moat Theatre, Naas; December 21st; €16; moattheatre.com
Original story about Santa’s struggle to overthrow some elvish villains, from Talisman Theatre.

Limerick

Aladdin: Richard Lynch as the Emperor in Limerick. Photograph: Sean Curtin/True Media
Aladdin: Richard Lynch as the Emperor in Limerick. Photograph: Sean Curtin/True Media

Aladdin
University Concert Hall; December 16th-January 5th; €15/€26.50; uch.ie
The fairy-tale hero gets another three wishes in the most popular panto theme of the season.

Co Louth

Cinderella
TLT, Drogheda; December 19th-30th; €13; thetlt.ie
A local panto gives Cinderella her happy ever after.

The Pied Piper
Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda; until Sunday; 10/€15; droichead.com
Original choice of traditional material from local performers.

Co Sligo

Aladdin
Hawk’s Well Theatre, tomorrow-December 20th; €17; hawkswell.com
A magic carpet ride awaits Sligo audiences.

Co Waterford

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood
Theatre Royal; until December 30th; €16/€19.50; theatreroyal.ie
Two stories for the price of one – and lots of pop fun.

Co Wexford

Cinderella
National Opera House, Wexford; December 27th-30th; €25; nationaloperahouse.ie
Touring panto with George McMahon, and RTÉjr stars.

Co Wicklow

Orson Welles’ Christmas Carol
The Whale, Greystones; December 19th; €14/€18, whaletheatre.ie
Festive “radio play within a play” that matches Dickens with the actor and film director. For ages eight and up.

MUSICALS, CIRCUS and DANCE

Belfast

Christmas Circus
Big Top, Writer’s Square; December 13th-January 2nd; £22/£12/£7.50, tumblecircus.com
Family shows and late-night cabaret with Tumble Circus.

Co Carlow

Circus Cinderella
Rathwood Estate, Tullow; December 28th-January 4th; €10/€20, rathwood.com
Fossett’s brings a panto vibe to its traditional family circus show.

Dublin

Oliver!
National Concert Hall, Dublin 2; December 27th-January 3rd; €25/€36; nch.ie
Tony Finnegan plays Fagin in Festival Productions’ annual Christmas extravaganza.

The Sound of Music
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 2; January 10th-February 1st; €21-€65; bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
Big-budget spectacle to beat the post-Christmas blues.

Touring

Baby’s First Xmas
Draiocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, today and tomorrow; Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co Wicklow, Monday, December 9th; South Tipperary Arts Centre, Clonmel, Tuesday, December 10th; Belltable, Limerick, Wednesday, December 11th; Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare, Friday, December 13th; Axis, Ballymun, Dublin 9, Saturday, December 14th; Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co Louth, Tuesday, December 17th, and Wednesday, December 18th; Backstage Theatre, Longford, Friday, December 20th; Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo, Saturday, December 21st; annanewell.co.uk
Theatre adventure for the under-ones, staged by Anna Newell.

Swan Lake
Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick, today and tomorrow; Visual, Carlow, Sunday, December 8th; Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co Meath, Monday, December 9th, and Tuesday, December 10th; Glór, Ennis, Co Clare, Thursday, December 12th, and Friday, December 13th; Siamsa Tíre, Tralee, Co Kerry, Saturday, December 14th; An Grianán, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Wednesday, December 18th; Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co Wicklow, from Friday, December 20th until Sunday, December 22nd
Ballet Ireland’s sumptuous Christmas production. 

Twas the Night Before Christmas
Glór, Ennis, Co Clare, today; Pavilion, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, Monday, December 8th; Backstage Theatre, Longford, Wednesday, December 11th; Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick, Friday, December 13th, and Saturday, December 14th; Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Co Laois, Tuesday, December 17th; Town Hall Theatre, Galway, from Thursday, December 19th, to Saturday, December 21st
Bilingual musical show from Branar about a town getting ready for Christmas.

FAMILY CONCERTS

Cork

Cork Opera House Christmas Concert
Cork Opera House; Monday, December 16th, and Tuesday, December 17th; €28-€33; corkoperahouse.ie
With Owen Gilhooly, Michael Grennell, Niamh O’Sullivan and Ruth Berkeley, plus Prodijig, children from Bunscoil na Toirbhirte, in Michelstown, and  Choral Con Fusion LGBTS Choir.

Dublin

Carols by Candlelight
Peppercanister Church, Dublin 2; Monday, December 9th, and Tuesday, December 10th, 6pm; free; merrionsquare.ie
A traditional service of nine lessons and carols at a family-friendly time.

Family Christmas Concert with the Echo Band
National Concert Hall, Dublin 2; tomorrow; €12; nch.ie
A festive family concert with a jazzy twist.

Noel, Noel
St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin 2; Sunday, December 8th, 6pm; €6/€12; stann.dublin.anglican.org
Annual Christmas concert by the RTÉ Cór na nÓg children’s choir.

Nightmare Before Christmas
3Arena, Dublin 1; Sunday, December 8th;65-€97; 3arena.ie
Film screening of the modern classic with original singing voices of Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara and Ken Page.

This Way to Christmas
National Concert Hall, Dublin 2; Saturday, December 21st-Monday, December 23rd; €19.50/€25; nch.ie
Louis Lovett lights the way with a screening of The Snowman.

The Snowman
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin 8; Monday, December 23rd; stpatrickscathedral.ie
Choral version with the St Patrick’s Cathedral choir.

The Snowman
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin 2; today-Sunday; €15-€26 plus fees; bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
Live concert screening with the Irish Philharmonic Orchestra and Shay Byrne.

Co Kildare

Ceola Christmas Concert
Moat Theatre, Naas; Tuesday, December 17th; €11; moattheatre.com
An evening of festive classics with Ceola’s adult and children’s choir.

Co Galway

Children’s Human Rights Carol Service
Town Hall Theatre; Sunday, December 8th; free; tht.ie
Held by Immunisation 4 Life, which works with health professionals in Ireland and Zambia.

CULTURAL EVENTS

Belfast

Christmas Storytelling at the Museum
Ulster Museum; Sunday, December 8th; free; nmni.com
Interactive storytelling for four- to eight-year-olds.

Tick Tock Christmas Clock
The Mac; December 14th, 21st and 22nd; £7; themaclive.com
Make your own bejewelled clock, and wind back time to Christmas past or fast-forward to Christmas future.

Cork

Christmas at the Crawford
Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place; each Sunday; free; crawfordartgallery.ie
Explore the Arctic with Julie Kelleher; Wish upon a Star with Avril O’Brien.

Dublin

Build a Home for an Elf
Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane; Parnell Square, Dublin 1; tomorrow, 2pm; €10; hughlane.ie
Somewhere in Gustave Courbet’s painting The Diligence in the Snow is an elf home. Make your own with the artist Frances Coghlan. For four- to six-year-olds.

Family art workshops
National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square, Dublin 2; throughout December; nationalgallery.ie
Every Sunday is family day at the National Gallery, with a special festive workshop on December 29th.

Fireworks in the Night Sky
Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, Parnell Square, Dublin 1; December 28th; free; hughlane.ie
Get ready for New Year with Barbara O’Connell.

Budding Scribes Calligraphy Workshop
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin 2; Tuesday, December 31st; free but ticketed; museum.ie
Learn the skills of the medieval scribe.

Co Kilkenny

Children’s Christmas Tree Ornaments Workshop
National Design and Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny city; tomorrow; free but ticketed; yulefestkilkenny.ie
Sandra McAllister leads this tree-decoration workshop.

Co Limerick

Santa’s Crafty Science Lab
King John’s Castle, Limerick city; December 14th and 21st;21; 083-3422249, kingjohnscastle.com
Make Rudolph rockets and erupting ornaments under Santa’s guiding hand.

Co Mayo

A Crafty Little Christmas
National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar; December 14th; free; museum.ie
Crafting and choirs for all the family.

Co Wicklow

Christmas Lantern Workshop
Cool Planet Experience, Enniskerry; December 22nd; €20; coolplanetexperience.org
Create your own ecofriendly LED lantern, with a festive twist. For ages six to 12.

Big House Tales: Family Story Generator
Russborough House, Blessington; December 14th; child €8.85/family of four €32.45; russborough.ie
Create crazy characters and fiendishly difficult plots, and do lots of creative thinking and drawing, guided by the writer Sarah Webb, before leaving with your own family story.

ICE SKATING

Cork

Cork on Ice
Mahon Point Shopping Centre; until January 23rd; €11/€13; iceskating.ie
The popular ice rink returns.

Dublin

Dundrum on Ice
Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 16; until January 12th; €14/€16; dundrumonice.ie 
The energetic alternative to shopping moves to a new location in the mall.

I-Skate at the RDS
RDS, Dublin 4; Thursday, December 26th-Sunday, January 12th; €13/€12, winterfunderland.ie
Part of the Winter Funderland experience, this outdoor rink has extra thrills nearby.

Swords on Ice
Opposite Wright’s Cafe, behind Pavilion Shopping Centre, Swords, Co Dublin; until Monday, January 6th; €14/15, swordsonice.ie
Christmas shopping, Christmas skating, in one location.

Ice Skating at Blanchardstown
Millennium Park, next to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, Dublin 15; until Sunday, January 19th; €12/€17, iceskating.ie
Skating and shopping side by side.

Co Kilkenny

Kilkenny on Ice
The Hub, Cillin Hill, Lyrath; until Sunday, January 5th; €13/15, kilkennyonice.com
An Olympiad of an ice rink, with ice slides, bungee trampolines and a zip line.

Limerick

Limerick on Ice
Arthur’s Park, Limerick city; until Sunday, January 5th; €15/€17, limerickonice.com
Join Artic Arty and special guests (think Anna and Elsa) for ice-skating fun.

Co Mayo

Castlebar on Ice
The Mall, Castlebar; until Sunday, January 5th; €12/€14, mayoonicecastlebar.com
The town’s Christmas festivities feature ice skating for the first time.

Co Waterford

Winterval on Ice
Waterside Quay Park, Waterford city; until Sunday, January 5th; €15/€11; iceskating.ie
Part of the Winterval festival, which also features a vintage funfair and a live-animal crib.

Co Westmeath

Mullingar Town Car Park; until January 12th; €12/€17; iceskating.ie
Skate with Santa as part of Winterfest Mullingar.

CHRISTMAS FESTIVALS

Co Carlow

Christmas at Huntington Castle
Huntington Castle, Clonegal; Monday, December 9th-Tuesday, December 17th; €14.50/€7.95; huntingtoncastle.com 
Old-world Santa experience with vintage crib, railway model and Old St Nick.

Co Cork 

Glow
Bishop Lucey Park, Cork city; until Sunday, December 22nd; corkchristmascelebration.ie
Markets and a free festive installation, with elves guiding you through the National Elf Test.

An Enchanted Christmas
Fota House, Fota Island, Carrigtwohill; Sunday, December 8th-Sunday, December 22nd; €12/€21, fotahouse.com
A theatrical trip through a seasonally reimagined Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens for a meet and greet with Santa.

Dublin

Christmas at the Castle
Dublin Castle, Dublin 2; December 12th-22nd; dublincastle.ie
An Alpine market, a vintage carousel, a Neapolitan crib and complimentary evening access to the State apartments are among some of the festive offerings.

Christmas at Farmleigh
Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin 15; Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas; farmleigh.ie
Weekend family festival, with free events including puppet shows, carol singing and a festive crib.

The True Spirit of Christmas Past
Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin 14; until December 20th; €12.50/€22.50; airfield.ie
Santa visit with traditional Victorian activities.

Winter Solstice Celebration
TU Dublin Grangegorman campus, Dublin 7, and Smithfield Square, Dublin 7; December 21st, 4pm, and December 22nd, 6pm; free registration online; smashingtimes.ie
Go to Grangegorman on Saturday for City of Dublin Winter Solstice Celebration, with storytelling, music, facepainting and craft workshops, as well as an outdoor ceremony to mark midwinter. Go to Smithfield Square on Sunday for a Celtic Journey meditation by the Christmas tree.

Winter Funderland
RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin 4; from St Stephen’s Day until January 12th; €2 entry (family €6) plus fee per ride, or €38/€29 for wristband valid for entry and rides for four hours (family €115); winterfunderland.ie
Ireland’s best-known Christmas fairground.

Co Kilkenny

Yulefest
Various venues, Kilkenny city; until January 7th; yulefestkilkenny.ie
Music, food, crafts and entertainment, with historical, cultural and arts events.

Co Waterford

Winterval
Various venues, Waterford city; until December 23rd; winterval.ie
Seasonal events in heritage sites around the city. With creative workshops, storytelling sessions, and a Christmas carousel.

GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST

How did our ancestors celebrate Christmas? Help the children find out in a variety of historical-themed family events around the country.

– Learn how Christmas was celebrated in 18th-century Cork and discover the spirit of Christmas through Nano Nagle’s story of altruism and generosity (today, plus December 13th and 20th, €6.50, nanonagleplace.ie).

– In Kilkenny you can discover what toys might have been on children’s Christmas lists long ago at the In Past Times exhibition at the Medieval Mile Museum (from tomorrow until January 5th;5; medievalmilemuseum.ie).

– At Christ Church cathedral in Dublin, find out about the origins of Advent, in a specially tailored Sheep Trail (until Christmas Eve, €7/€2.5, christchurchcathedral.ie).

– Dalkey Castle, in south Co Dublin, has Christmas at the Castle, with medieval tours from the Living History crew, who reveal the secrets of Christmas with a little help from Santa and his elves (until December 22nd, €10/€8, dalkeycastle.com).

– At Ulster American Folk Park, in Co Tyrone, you can explore a 19th-century Christmas in rural Ulster and Pioneer America, discover the origin of midwinter customs and have a go at making your own paper-and-popcorn wreaths to decorate your tree (until January 5th; nmni.com).

– At Ulster Folk Museum, in Co Down, travel back 100 years to hear tales of Yuletide old, with an optional visit to Santa (Fridays-Sundays until December 20th, nmni.com).

– Take a medieval Christmas pilgrimage at the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, in Dublin 2. As you pass through the galleries you’ll find out how people passed the time on dark evenings, feasted in winters past, and kept themselves safe on long and dangerous journeys (December 15th; free; museum.ie).