Christmas guide 2017: the best pantos, musicals and more

A round-up of events for families and children during the festive season

 

PANTOMIMES AND THEATRE

BELFAST

Beauty and the Beast
Lyric Theatre, Ridgeward Street, Until Jan 6, £12.50/£18, 048-90381081 lyrictheatre.co.uk
Derek O’Connor provides a modern twist to this timeless tale, recasting the Beast as a singer-songwriter with a monstrous ego.

Hansel and Gretel
The Mac, Until Jan 7, £16/25, 048-90235053 themaclive.com
Family show with fairytale inspiration.

Peter Pan
Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street, Dec 3-Jan 14, £17/£32, 048-90241919 goh.co.uk
May McFettridge is a female Captain Hook in this traditional panto, with Paul Burling, Claire King and Paddy Jenkins.

Sleeping Beauty
Waterfront Hall, 2 Lanyon Place, Until Jan 7, £12.50/£17.50, 048-90334455 waterfront.co.uk
Prince Charming tries to rouse the princess from a century-long sleep with the help of various stock panto characters.

CLARE

Cinderella
Glór Irish Music Centre, Ennis, Dec 22-31, €15, 065-6843103 glor.ie   
Cinderella fights her ugly sisters, Tia and Maria, in this traditional panto presented by Pantaloons.

CORK

Beauty and the Beast
Everyman Palace, MacCurtain Street, Cork city, Dec 9-28, €26, 021-4501673 everymancork.com
With Voice of Ireland 2015 winner Keith Hanley, in disguise as the frightening but soft-centred Beast.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Cork Opera House, Emmet Place, until Jan 21, €25, 021-4270022 corkoperahouse.ie  
With well-known fairytale characters and some Corkonian originals, including Nanny Nellie and Muddles and the Wicked Queen Sadista.

DROGHEDA

Beauty and the Beast
TLT Drogheda, Dec 15-23, €18, 041-9878560 thetlt.ie
Ireland’s first professional touring panto, with Karl Spain, Adam Weafer and Clara Murray.

DUBLIN

Aladdin
Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dec 7-Jan 7, €16/14, 01-2969340 milltheatre.ie
Take a magical carpet ride with Jack Boylan as the diamond in the rough.

Beauty and the Beast
The Helix, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, until Jan 21,  €24/28, 01-7007000 thehelix.ie
TheatreworX take on the timeless tale of Belle and her monstrous amour. With Orla Jennings, Chris Corron and Paul Byrom.

Bosco’s Magical Christmas with Snow White
Axis, Ballymun, Dec 17, €10, 01-8832100 axis-ballymun.ie
A seasonal show with 1980s favourite Bosco.

Polly and the Beanstalk
Olympia Theatre, Dame Street, Dec 15-Jan 7, €26/34, 0818-719330 ticketmaster.ie
This show stars Dustin the Turkey, with Rory Cowan stepping in to replace Al Porter.

Rapunzel
Gaiety Theatre, South King Street, until Jan 22, 01-6486029 or 0818-719388 gaietytheatre.ie
A tangled tale of good and evil, written and directed by Darryn Crosbie.

Rudolph Saves Christmas
Axis, Ballymun, Dec 9, €11, 01-8832100 axis-ballymun.ie
Reindeers and Goblins get together to save Santa’s workshop from disaster. Theatre for 3-year-olds up.

 Sleeping Beauty
Tivoli Theatre, Dec 7-Jan 14, €15/30, 01-4544472 tivoli.ie

The Cheerios Panto Sleeping Beauty at the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin
The Cheerios Panto Sleeping Beauty at the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin

Alan Hughes returns as Sammy Sausages, regular interlocutor in the Cheerios Panto. With Mary Byrne as the Fairy Godmother. 

Sleeping Beauty
Lambert Puppet Theatre, Until Jan 28, €13,  01-2800974 lambertpuppettheatre.com
Puppet pantomime with special guest and family favourite Mr Judge.

They Called Her Vivaldi
Abbey Theatre, Until Dec 23, €10-18, 01-8787222 abbeytheatre.ie
Theatre Lovett presents the thrilling adventures of a musical prodigy with sensitive ears.

The Grimm Tale of Cinderella
Smock Alley Theatre, Until Dec 23, €15/18, 01-6770014 smockalley.com.
The Brothers Grimm bring the origins of their famous tale to life.

The Three Musketeers
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dec 14-Jan 7, €15, 01-4627477 civictheatre.ie
Who said a musketeer had to be a swords-man? Dame Lola leads this local panto. 

The Wizard of Oz
Axis, Ballymun, Jan 4-28, €11, 01-8832100 axis-ballymun.ie
Dorothy gets a companion for her journey through Oz: Dame Stuffy. Panto with a local twist.

What the Ladybird Heard
Pavilion Theatre, Dec 21-Jan 7, €17.50, 01-2312929 paviliontheatre.ie
Musical adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s classic picture-book

GALWAY

A Christmas Carol
Mick Lally Theatre, Until Dec 9, €9, 091-568660 druid.ie
Imaginative retelling of Dickens’s Christmas classic by Bryan Burroughs and Aaron Monaghan.

Beauty and the Beast
Town Hall Theatre, Galway city, Dec 30-Jan 15, €17/15, 091-569777 tht.ie
A local pantomime with the Renmore Players.

KERRY

Beauty and the Beast
INEC Killarney, January 2-4, from €18, 064-6671555 inec.ie

Michael Kiersey and Clara Murray in Beauty and the Beast at the INEC in Killarney
Michael Kiersey and Clara Murray in Beauty and the Beast at the INEC in Killarney

Ireland’s first professional touring panto, with Karl Spain, Adam Weafer and Clara Murray.

KILDARE

The Three Musketeers
Moat Theatre, Naas, Until Dec 9, €15, 045-883030 moattheatre.com
Nelly Smickers joins the Three Musketeers in their battle against Cardinal Richelieu.

Rudolph Saves Christmas
Moat Theatre, Naas, Dec 17, €11, 045-883030 moattheatre.com
Reindeers and Goblins get together to save Santa’s workshop from disaster. Theatre for 3-year-olds up.

LIMERICK

Cinderella
University Concert Hall, Dec 18-Jan 7, €15/26.50, 061 331549 uch.ie

Samantha Mumba as the evil Stepmother and Leanne Moore as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the University Concert Hall, Limerick. Photograph: Sean Curtin
Samantha Mumba as the evil Stepmother and Leanne Moore as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the University Concert Hall, Limerick. Photograph: Sean Curtin

With Samantha Mumba cast against type as the Wicked Stepmother.

LOUTH

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street, Drogheda, Dec 6-10, 041-983394 droichead.com
With Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood enlivening the traditional narrative.

SLIGO

Babes in the Wood
Hawkswell Theatre, Dec 3-15, €17, 071-9161518 hawkswell.com
Jack and Jill meet Robin Hood in this popular local panto.

WATERFORD

Beauty and the Beast
Theatre Royal, Dec 3-30, €19.50/16, 051-0874402 theatreroyal.ie
Richie Hayes directs a live band for this presentation by Waterford Panto Society.

WEXFORD

A Fairy Good Christmas
National Opera House, Wexford, Dec 6-17, €12, 053-9122400 nationaloperahouse.ie  
An interactive theatrical quest.

Beauty and the Beast
National Opera House, Wexford, Dec 26-30, from €18, 053-9122400, nationaloperahouse.ie  
Ireland’s first professional touring panto, with Karl Spain, Adam Weafer and Clara Murray.

MUSICALS, CIRCUS AND DANCE

BELFAST

Christmas Circus
Big Top, Writer’s Square, Dec 8-27, £22/12/7.50 tumblecircus.com
Family shows and late night cabaret with Tumble Circus.

DUBLIN

Annie: The Musical
National Concert Hall, Dec 16/17, €25/36, 01-4170000 nch.ie
Festival Production’s annual Christmas show, directed by Tony Finnegan.

Fossetts Circus
Tallaght Stadium, Dec 14-Jan 7, €10-18 fossettscircus.com
Spills and thrills at a traditional family circus.

The Sound of Music
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dec 19-Jan 7, from €21, 01-6777770 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
Big-budget spectacle with Lucy O’Byrne.

The Snowman
National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dec 16 & 17, €19-25, 01-4170000 nch.ie
Raymond Briggs on the big screen, with live music and Simon Delaney.

The Snowman
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dec 16th & 17th, from €16, 01-6777770 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
With the Irish Philharmonic Orchestra and Shay Byrne.

LOUTH

The Snowman
Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street, Drogheda, Dec 22, €10/8, 041 9833946 droichead.com
Drogheda Orchestral Collective give a live accompaniment to the iconic Christmas film.

ON TOUR

Romeo and Juliet
Ballet Ireland’s sumptuous Christmas production. balletireland.ie
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, 01-4627477 Dec 7-9
National Opera House, Wexford, Dec 10
Backstage Theatre, Longford,  Dec 12, 045-334 7888
Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick, Dec 13, 061-774774
Glór, Ennis, December 15, 065-6843103
Siamsa Tíre, Tralee, Dec 16, 066-712 3055
Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny, Dec 19, 056-7761678
VISUAL, Carlow, Dec 20, 059-917 2400
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, December 21, 046-9092300
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Dec 22-23, 01-2724030 

Ballet Ireland’s sumptuous Christmas production.

FAMILY CONCERTS

CORK

Cork Opera House Christmas Concert
Cork Opera House, Dec 18, €25/30, 021-4270022 corkoperahouse.ie
With Cara O’Sullivan, Cork Chamber Choir and local school choirs.

DUBLIN

Carols by Candlelight
Peppercanister Church, Mount Street, Dec 12, Adm free, merrionsquare.ie
A traditional service of nine lessons (short readings) and carols from the Classicus Youth Choir at the family-friendly time of 6pm.

The Nutcracker
National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dec 9, €10/12, 01-4170000 nch.ie
A Christmas family concert with the Whistleblast Quartet.

Tracks in the Snow
The Ark, Until Jan 6, €9/€12, 01-6707788 ark.ie

The Henry Girls return to the Ark in Temple Bar, Dublin with their winter show Tracks in the Snow
The Henry Girls return to the Ark in Temple Bar, Dublin, with their winter show Tracks in the Snow

The Henry Girls return to The Ark with heavenly harmonies and winter fun.

KILDARE

Ceola Christmas Concert
Moat Theatre, Naas, Dec 17, €11 045-883030 moattheatre.com
An evening of festive classics with Ceola’s adult and children’s choir.

 GALWAY

Christmas Family Concert
Black Box Theatre, Dyke Road, €10/€8, 091-569777 tht.ie.
Presented by the Galway Youth Orchestra.

ON ICE  

Get your skates on for the 2017 ice skating season
Get your skates on for the 2017 ice skating season

CORK

Cork on Ice
Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Until Jan 28, €11/13, 0818-919807 iceskating.ie

DUBLIN

Dundrum on Ice
Dundrum Town Centre, Until Jan 14, €14/16, 01-5242101 dundrumonice.ie  

I-Skate at the RDS   
RDS, Simmonscourt, Ballsbridge, from Dec 14-Jan 14, €13/€12, 01-4853045 winterfunderland.ie
Part of the Winter Funderland experience, this outdoor rink draws big crowds over the festive period.

Swords on Ice
Opposite Wrights Cafe, behind the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Swords, Until Jan 7, €11/€12, 01-5242322  swordsonice.ie

Ice Skating at Blanchardstown
Millennium Park, next to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, until Jan 24, €11/€13, 081-8919807 iceskating.ie

GALWAY

Galway City On Ice
Leisureland, Salthill, Until Jan 8, €13/€15, 091-394504 galwaycityonice.ie

KILKENNY

Kilkenny On Ice
Cillin Hill, Until Jan 14, €13/€15 kilkennyonice.com
An Olympiad of an ice-rink with ice slides, bungee trampolines and a zipline.

LOUTH

Dundalk on Ice
Market Square, Dundalk, Until Jan 7, €15/€13, dundalkonice.com   

MAYO

Castlebar On Ice
The Mall, Castlebar, Until Jan 7, €14/€18 081-8919807 iceskating.ie

WATERFORD

Winterval on Ice

Waterside Quay Park, Until Jan 14, €15/€11, 0818-919807 winterval.ie
Part of the Winterval festival, this rink includes a vintage fun fair and a live animal crib.

CHRISTMAS FESTIVALS

CARLOW

Christmas at Huntington Castle
Clonegal, Dec 9-17, €14.50/€7.95, 053-9377160 huntingtoncastle.com
An old-world Santa experience with vintage crib, railway model and Old Saint Nick.

CORK

Glow
Bishop Lucey Park, Until Dec 22 corkchristmascelebration.ie
Markets and a free festive installation.

The Magic of Santa
Fota House, Cork, Dec 8-17, €15/€7.50, 021-481 5543 fotahouse.com.
A theatrical trip through a seasonally reimagined Fota House & Gardens led by friendly elves. Includes a meet and greet with Santa too.

DUBLIN

Airfield Christmas Experience
Until Dec 23, €11/€15 airfield.ie
The traditional family estate and farm is transformed into a winter wonderland, with Christmas-themed workshops, storytelling and, of course, an opportunity to meet the big man himself.

Christmas at Farmleigh
Farmleigh House, Saturdays and Sundays throughout Dec, 01-8155900 farmleigh.ie
Weekend family festival at Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, with free events including puppet shows, carol singing and a festive crib.

Glow
Smithfield Square, Dec 9 facebook.com/grasshopperevents/
With Lords of Strut, Chris Judge, Brown Bag Films and The Muppets.

Winter Funderland
RDS, Dublin 4, Until Jan 14 winterfunderland.ie

Winter Funderland at the RDS, Dublin 4. Photograph: Alan Betson
Winter Funderland at the RDS, Dublin 4. Photograph: Alan Betson

Christmas market and fairground attractions.

Winter Solstice Celebration
Smithfield Square, Dec 21 smashingtimes.ie
Drama, craft and a parade with Smashing Times theatre and film company.

KILKENNY

Yulefest
Until Dec 24, 056-7794978 yulefestkilkenny.ie
A festival of music, food, craft and entertainment, with historical, cultural and arts events.

WATERFORD

Winterval
Various venues, Until Dec 23, 051-856516 winterval.ie
Seasonal events in beautiful heritage sites throughout 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 happening around the country. At the Rothe House Museum and Garden, Kilkenny you can experience A Children’s Medieval Christmas (Dec 8, €5/3, 056-7722893), with Tudor-style storytelling from Heritage Tales. Handle medieval toys and learn about the unusual things they ate, while sampling some warm mulled apple and mince pies.

Christmas Present, Christmas Past! at the Irish Family History Centre offers a Victorian-themed Christmas for families (CHQ Building, 1 Custom House Quay, Dublin 1, Dec 16, €5 irishfamilyhistorycentre.com). Sing Christmas carols, play traditional games, decorate cards, and sample delicious festive foods.

At Dalkey Castle in Co Dublin, you can experience Christmas at the Castle with special Medieval Christmas tours from the Living History crew, who reveal the secrets of Christmas: the origins of the Christmas Box, the piggy bank, carol singing, the wearing of Christmas holly, and the fruit-laden Christmas tree (Until Dec 22, €9/€7, 01-2858366).

Have Yourself a Merry Cultured Christmas

If you are looking for some respite from the commercial mayhem of Christmas, Ireland’s cultural institutions offer a safe and peaceful haven from the city-centre rush. Most of them provide children’s activities as part of their remit, and they pull out all the stops at Christmas to welcome children during the Yuletide season. The National Museums in Dublin and Mayo have special winter-themed trails and Christmas celebrations throughout December, which bring a seasonal slant to the museums’ collections (museum.ie). Art galleries, meanwhile, offer a chance for children to get creative with their Christmas ideas in structured workshops. Here’s a selection of the best:

BELFAST

Amazeing Crafty Workshop
The Mac, Dec 16-31, £7, 048-90235053 themaclive.com
Make your own 3D MAZE and help Hansel and Gretel find their way home.

CARLOW

Christmas Elf Chocolate Workshop
Until Dec 22, €13.50/€8, 059-6481999 chocolategarden.ie
Make a chocolate moulded Christmas figure with Santa’s elves.

DUBLIN

Christmas in Space
Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dec 16, Adm free, InspireSpace.com
With Kevin Nolan of the Planetary Society as part of family-friendly Inspire Space day.

Eco-Christmas Craft Workshops

National Botanic Gardens, Dec 5, €5, 01-8570909 botanicgardens.ie  
Grab the chance to make some eco Christmas crafts and decorations from recycled and natural materials. (6+)

Dickensian City
Lighthouse Cinema, Dec 9, Adm free facebook.com/grasshopperevents/
Make a cardboard tenement and a Muppet puppet with artist Feargal McCarthy.

Family Art Workshops
National Gallery, throughout December, 01-6615133 nationalgallery.ie
Every Sunday is family day at National Gallery, with a special festive workshop on Dec 31.

Galaxy
Hugh Lane Gallery, Dec 16, €5, 01-2225550 hughlane.ie
Make your own Christmas decorations inspired by the galaxy. Bring them home or add them to the gallery’s Christmas tree.

Oh Christmas Tree!
Museum of Archaeology, Dec 17, Adm free, museum.ie
Make a decoration for the museum’s Christmas Tree.

Shine through 2018
Hugh Lane Gallery, Dec 30, 01-2225550 hughlane.ie
New Year drop-in light and shadow workshop.

KILKENNY

Unity Braid Wreath
McDonagh Junction, Dec 9, Adm free, yulefestkilkenny.ie
Join this collaborative project led by Theresia Guschlbauer.

Make a Christmas Pomador
Rothe House, Dec 9, €3, 056-7722893 yulefestkilkenny.ie
No idea what that is? Then this is the perfect opportunity to find out.

MAYO

Christmas Decoration Workshop
Museum of Country Life, Turlough Park, Dec 16/17, Adm free, museum.ie
Drop-in crafts with Breda Burns. Explore the Christmas in the Community exhibition while you are there.

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