Christmas pantos, musicals, concerts and festivals

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




Beauty and the Beast

Lyric Theatre, Ridgeward Street, Until Jan 6, £12.50/£18, 048-90381081

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

Family show with fairytale inspiration.

Peter Pan

Grand Opera House, Great Victoria St, Dec 3-Jan 14, £17/£32, 048-90241919

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

 Prince Charming tries to rouse the princess from a century-long sleep with the help of various stock panto characters.



Glór Irish Music Centre, Ennis, Dec 22-31, €15, 065-6843103   

Cinderella fights her ugly sisters, Tia and Maria, in this traditional panto presented by Pantaloons.


Beauty and the Beast

Everyman Palace, MacCurtain St, Cork City, Dec 9-28, €26, 021-4501673

With Voice of Ireland 2015 winner Keith Hanley, in disguise as the frightening but soft-centered Beast.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Cork Opera House, Emmet Place, until Jan 21, €25, 021-4270022  

With well-known fairytale characters and some Corkonian originals, including Nanny Nellie and Muddles and the Wicked Queen Sadista.


Beauty and the Beast

TLT Drogheda, Dec 15-23, €18, 041-9878560

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



Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dec 7-Jan 7, €16/14, 01-2969340

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

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

A seasonal show with 1980s favourite Bosco.

Polly and the Beanstalk

Olympia Theatre, Dame St, Dec 15-Jan 7, €26/34, 0818-719330

This show stars Dustin the Turkey, with Rory Cowan stepping in to replace Al Porter.


Gaiety Theatre, South King St, until Jan 22, 01-6486029 or 0818-719388

A tangled tale of good and evil, written and directed by Darryn Crosbie.

Rudolph Saves Christmas

Axis, Ballymun, Dec 9, €11, 01-8832100

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

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

Puppet pantomime with special guest and family favourite Mr Judge.

They Called Her Vivaldi

Abbey Theatre, Until Dec 23, €10-18, 01-8787222

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

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

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

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

Musical adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s classic picture-book


A Christmas Carol

Mick Lally Theatre, Until Dec 9, €9, 091-568660

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

A local pantomime with the Renmore Players.


Beauty and the Beast

INEC Killarney, January 2-4, from €18, 064-6671555

See Drogheda.


The Three Musketeers

Moat Theatre, Naas, Until Dec 9, €15, 045-883030

Nelly Smickers joins the Three Musketeers in their battle against Cardinal Richelieu.

Rudolph Saves Christmas

Moat Theatre, Naas, Dec 17, €11, 045-883030

See Dublin.



University Concert Hall, Dec 18-Jan 7, €15/26.50, 061 331549

With Samantha Mumba cast against type as the Wicked Stepmother.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell St, Drogheda, Dec 6-10, 041-983394

With Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood enlivening the traditional narrative.


Babes in the Wood

Hawkswell Theatre, Dec 3-15, €17, 071-9161518

Jack and Jill meet Robin Hood in this popular local panto.


Beauty and the Beast

Theatre Royal, Dec 3-30, €19.50/16, 051-0874402

Richie Hayes directs a live band for this presentation by Waterford Panto Society.


A Fairy Good Christmas

National Opera House, Wexford, Dec 6-17, €12, 053-9122400  

An interactive theatrical quest.

Beauty and the Beast

National Opera House, Wexford, Dec 26-30, from €18, 053 912 2400,  

See Drogheda, above.



Christmas Circus

Big Top, Writer’s Square, Dec 8-27, £22/12/7.50

Family shows and late night cabaret with Tumble Circus.


Annie: The Musical

National Concert Hall, Dec 16/17, €25/36, 01-4170000

Festival Production’s annual Christmas show, directed by Tony Finnegan.

Fossetts Circus

Tallaght Stadium, Dec 14-Jan 7, €10-18

Traditional family circus.

The Sound of Music

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dec 19-Jan 7, from €21, 01-6777770

Big-budget spectacle with Lucy O’Byrne.

The Snowman

National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dec 16 & 17, €19-25, 01-4170000

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

With the Irish Philharmonic Orchestra and Shay Byrne.


The Snowman

Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell St, Drogheda, Dec 22, €10/8, 041 9833946

Drogheda Orchestral Collective give a live accompaniment to the iconic Christmas film.


Romeo and Juliet

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.



Cork Opera House Christmas Concert

Cork Opera House, Dec 18, €25/30, 021-4270022

With Cara O’Sullivan, Cork Chamber Choir and local school choirs.


Carols by Candlelight

Peppercanister Church, Mount Street, Dec 12, Adm free

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

A Christmas family concert with the Whistleblast Quartet.

Tracks in the Snow

The Ark, until Jan 6, €9/€12, 01-6707788

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


Ceola Christmas Concert

Moat Theatre, Naas, Dec 17, €11 045-883030

An evening of festive classics with Ceola’s Adult and Children’s choir.


Christmas Family Concert

Black Box Theatre, Dyke Road, €10/€8, 091-569777

Presented by the Galway Youth Orchestra.



Cork on Ice

Mahon Point Shopping Centre, until Jan 28, €11/13, 0818-919807


Dundrum on Ice

Dundrum Town Centre, until Jan 14, €14/16, 01-5242101  

I-Skate at the RDS   

RDS, Simmonscourt, Ballsbridge, from Dec 14-Jan 14, €13/€12, 01-4853045

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

Ice Skating at Blanchardstown

Millennium Park, next to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, until Jan 24, €11/€13, 081-8919807


Galway City On Ice

Leisureland, Salthill, Until Jan 8, €13/€15, 091-394504


Kilkenny On Ice

Cillin Hill, Until Jan 14, €13/€15

An Olympiad of an ice-rink with ice slides, bungee trampolines and a zipline.


Dundalk on Ice

Market Square, Dundalk, Until Jan 7, €15/€13,   


Castlebar On Ice

The Mall, Castlebar, Until Jan 7, €14/€18 081-8919807


Winterval on Ice

Waterside Quay Park, Until Jan 14, €15/€11, 0818-919807

Part of the Winterval festival, this rink includes a vintage fun fair and a live animal crib.



Christmas at Huntington Castle

Clonegal, Dec 9-17, €14.50/€7.95, 053-9377160

An old-world Santa experience with vintage crib, railway model and Old Saint Nick.



Bishop Lucey Park, Until Dec 22

Markets and a free festive installation.

The Magic of Santa

Fota House, Cork, Dec 8-17, €15/€7.50, 021-481 5543

A theatrical trip through a seasonally reimagined Fota House & Gardens led by friendly elves. Includes a meet and greet with Santa too.


Airfield Christmas Experience

Until Dec 23, €11/€15

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

Weekend family festival at Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, with free events including puppet shows, carol singing and a festive crib.


Smithfield Square, Dec 9

With Lords of Strut, Chris Judge, Brown Bag Films and The Muppets.

Winter Funderland

RDS, Dublin 4, Until Jan 14

Christmas market and fairground attractions.

Winter Solstice Celebration

Smithfield Square, Dec 21

Drama, craft and a parade with Smashing Times theatre and film company.



Until Dec 24, 056-7794978

A festival of music, food, craft and entertainment, with historical, cultural and arts events.



Various venues, Until Dec 23, 051-856516

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 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 ( 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:


Amazeing Crafty Workshop

The Mac, Dec 16-31, £7, 048-90235053

Make your own 3D MAZE and help Hansel and Gretel find their way home.


Christmas Elf Chocolate Workshop

Until Dec 22, €13.50/€8, 059-6481999

Make a chocolate moulded Christmas figure with Santa’s elves.


Christmas in Space

Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dec 16, Adm free

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  

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

Make a cardboard tenement and a Muppet puppet with artist Feargal McCarthy.

Family Art Workshops

National Gallery, throughout December, 01-6615133

Every Sunday is family day at National Gallery, with a special festive workshop on Dec 31.


Hugh Lane Gallery, Dec 16, €5, 01-2225550

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

Make a decoration for the museum’s Christmas Tree.

Shine through 2018

Hugh Lane Gallery, Dec 30, 01-2225550

New Year drop-in light and shadow workshop.


Unity Braid Wreath

McDonagh Junction, Dec 9, Adm free

Join this collaborative project led by Theresia Guschlbauer.

Make a Christmas Pomador

Rothe House, Dec 9, €3, 056-7722893

No idea what that is? Then this is the perfect opportunity to find out.


Christmas Decoration Workshop

Museum of Country Life, Turlough Park, Dec 16/17, Adm free

Drop-in crafts with Breda Burns. Explore the Christmas in the Community exhibition while you are there.

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