Family treats, from panto to Santa


There’s plenty of festive fun to be had around the country for all ages from now until January



Sleeping Beauty

Traditional pantomime from the Ulster Theatre Company. Market Place Theatre, Armagh Until Dec 23 various times £8-£12.50 (€9-€15.40) 048-37521821


Sleeping Beauty

Journalist and former UTV reporter Ivan Little takes on his first role as panto dame Lady MaMa in this traditional pantomime from Lana Productions. Waterfront Hall, 2 Lanyon Place Until Jan 5 various times £14-£17 (€17.26-€21) 048-90334455


Northern Ireland’s queen of pantomime May McFettridge stars alongside Basil Brush and Jayne Wisener in this very popular pantomime. Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street Dec 8-Jan 26 various times £12.75-£25 (€15.70-€30.80) 048-90241919


Goldilocks and The Three Bears

Carlow Club Players present this traditional pantomime. George Bernard Shaw Theatre, Old Dublin Road, Carlow Dec 14/17 8pm; Dec 15 2.30pm, 8pm Dec 16 2.30pm, 7pm €15/€12, 059-9172400


Little Red Riding Hood

Pantaloons and BreakThrough Dance Company present this traditional pantomime. Glór Irish Music Centre, Ennis Dec 22, 23, 27-31 various times €15, 065-6843103


Alice in Wonderland

Traditional pantomime starring Claire and Eva O’Leary as Alice, Michael Joseph as the Mad Hatter, Declan Wolfe as the White Rabbit and Michael Grennell as the Red Knave. Cork Opera House, Emmet Place Dec 10-Jan 20 various times €25-€30,


Red Riding Hood

Stars of this pantomime include Dame Jim Mulcahy, West End star Michael Sands, Fionula Linehan and Marcus Bale. Everyman Palace, Cork City Dec 8-Jan 6 various times €23-€26, 021-4501673


Red Riding Hood

A traditional pantomime from C21 Theatre Company. An Grianán, Letterkenny Dec 18-22 various times €8.50, 074-9120777


Beauty and the Beast

This 10th anniversary show from TheatreworX Productions stars Kyle Kennedy, Lauren Nevin, Eoin Cannon, Aidan Mannion and John Lovett. The Helix, Dublin City University, Glasnevin Until Jan 13 €21-25 01-7007000


Starring Stephanie McKeon as Cinderella, David Glynn-Crowley as Prince Charming, Joe Conlon and Gary Mountaine as the Ugly Sisters. Directed by Daryn Crosbie. Gaiety Theatre, South King Street Until Jan 13 €25-35, 01-6771717 or 0818-719388

Snow White and the Adventures of Sammy Sausages

This not-so-traditional pantomime written by Karl Broderick stars Alan Hughes (aka Sammy Sausages), singer Niamh Kavanagh, model Nadia Forde and, new this year, Molly Lynch as Snow White. Tivoli Theatre, Dec 12-Jan 13 €21.50-€29.50 01-4544472,

Jedward and the Magic Lamp

Jedward (John and Edward Grimes) are back again this year with Linda Martin and Alan Porter in this pantomime written by Fiona Looney. Olympia Theatre, Dame Street Dec 19-Jan 6 €22-€36, 0818-719330,

Humpty Dumpty

Holding Court Theatre Company presents this family pantomime. Axis, Ballymun Jan 4-27 various times €6-€12, 01-8832100


Coolmine Panto Group presents this popular pantomime. Draíocht, Blanchardstown 01-8852622 Jan 6-20 various times €16/€20


The Lambert team puts its puppets in pantomime mode for this festive show. Lambert Puppet Theatre, Clifton Lane, Monkstown Dec 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 27-31, and Jan 2-6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 €11-13 01-2800974


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Renmore Pantomime Society presents its annual traditional pantomime, written by and starring Peter Kennedy with Brian and Sean Power and the Renmore Smurfs. Townhall Theatre, Galway City Dec 29-Jan 13 €14-€16 091-569777



George McMahon, Richie Hayes, Leanne Moore, Dustin the Turkey, Twink and Myles Breen star in this traditional pantomime. University Concert Hall, University of Limerick, Limerick City Dec 21-Jan 6 various times €27.50 adults; €22.50 children 061-331549

Jack and the Beanstalk

CentreStage Productions is back this year with a show written by Mike Finn and directed by Richie Ryan. Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick City Dec 13-30 various times €13.50-€18.50, 061-319866


Dick Whittington and his cat

Coolera Dramatic Society includes circus acts in its pantomime this year. Hawkswell Theatre, Sligo Dec 9 -22 various times €16 071-9161518

Musicals, dance, storytelling and circuses


Hansel + Grettel

Paul Boyd directs this musical adaptation of this classic children’s tale with Lyric Players. Lyric Theatre, Belfast Until Jan 13 various times £8.50-£17.50 (€10.50-€21.50) 048-90381081


The Nutcracker

Glór, Ennis, Co Clare Dec 14 8pm €12, €20, €25, 065-6843103;



Cameron Machintosh’s hit musical comes to town. Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Docklands Dec 12-Jan 12, €20-€60, 01-6777770

The Snowman

Raymond Brigg’s animated film with live music from the Orchestra of the National Concert Hall and narration by Shay Byrne National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace Dec 15 and 16 noon, 2.30pm, 5pm and 7.30pm €20 adults; €15 children 01-4170000

The Sound of Music

Festival Productions stages the musical. National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace Dec 27-30 and Jan 2, 3 various times €18-€34, 01-4170000

The Nutcracker Suite and A Christmas Tale

The Irish National Youth Ballet’s festive performance. Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Dec 14, noon and 8pm; Dec 15 3pm and 8pm; Dec 16 2pm and 7pm €20 adults;€15 children 01-2312929

Storytelling, Puppet Shows and Magic Shows at


The extensive Christmas family programme includes storytelling in the Old Kitchen and puppet shows in the Cowshed Theatre. Farmleigh, Phoenix Park adm free, no booking necessary Dec 8, 9, 15,16, 22,23, 01-8155900

Fossett’s Christmas Circus

Traditional two-hour circus shows in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, featuring a new Russian swing act. Royal Kilmainham Hospital, Dublin Dec 5-Jan 6 various times €5-€15 087-7978518

The Nutcracker

Ballet Ireland’s touring production Draíocht, Blanchardstown, Dublin Dec 4 8pm €12-€20 01-8852623; Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin Dec 6-8 8pm €16/€20 01-4627477; The Helix, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dec 20 7.30pm €22.50-€25, 01-7007000


The Nutcracker

Siamsa Tíre Theatre, Tralee, Co Kerry Dec 15 8pm €21/€23, 066-7123055


A Hippo for Christmas

A musical for families adapted from the children’s book of the same name. LIT Millennium Theatre, Moylish Park, Limerick Dec 17-20 various times,


The Nutcracker

Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick Dec 13 8pm €15-€20, 061-774772


The Nutcracker

Royal Theatre, Castlebar, Co Mayo Dec 11 8pm €12.50, €15, €20, 0818-300000


The Nutcracker

Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co Meath Dec 21,22 8pm €16-€20, 046-9092300


The Nutcracker

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co Wicklow Dec 18 8pm €18/€20, 01-2724030

Theatre shows


A Christmas Carol

A playful adaptation of Charles Dicken’s classic story on the 200th anniversary of his birth. The Ark, Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dec 8, 15, 22 2pm and 4pm €8/€10 01-6707788

Santa’s Cracking Christmas Adventure

An in-house seasonal offering. Mill Theatre, Dundrum Town Centre Dec 8-23 various times €10/€40, 01-2969340

The Ice Witch

Ofegus Theatre Company presents this Christmas show full of adventure. Mill Theatre, Dundrum Town Centre Dec 27-31, Jan 2-5 2.30pm €10/€12.50, 01-2969340

Tromluí Phinocchio/Pinocchio – A Nightmare

A bilingual show about the boy who feels trapped between childhood and adulthood (aged 11+). Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar Dec 13-22 various times €10/€15, 01-6770014

Old Mother Hubbard’s Magical Christmas

A funny festive tale for all the family, Civic Theatre, Tallaght Dec 14 7pm Dec 15 3pm (sold out) and 7pm; Dec 16 3pm (sold out) €10, 01-4627477

On ice


Cork on Ice

Ice rink in the Mahon Point Shopping Centre. Various times until Jan 6 €14/€12 adults, €10/€13 children peak/off peak 021-4217641


Dundrum on Ice

Now in its third year, the ice rink in Dundrum Town Centre gives people an energetic alternative activity. €12/€14 adults; €11/€13 children peak/off peak Mon-Fri 3pm-9pm; Sat/Sun 10am-9pm Until Jan 6 01-5242101


Galway Bay on Ice

This ice rink overlooks Galway Bay at Spanish Arch. €16.50 adults, €13.50 students, €11 children Until Jan 9 091-556609

Christmas workshops


Christmas Family Art Holiday at the National Gallery

This event gives children a welcome opportunity to sketch (bring your own art materials), along with tours of the exhibitions for adults and musical performances in the atrium. National Gallery, Merrion Square West, Dec 29 3pm-4pm adm free, no booking necessary. 01-6615133

Festive Fun at the National Museum

Experience the tastes, smells and sights of a medieval Christmas with Irish Arms historical re-enactors. Meet a candle maker and scriptor monk. Try on medieval helmets and taste foods of the era. Dec 9 2pm-4.30pm adm free, no booking required. Drop in and help decorate the Christmas tree, Dec 16 2pm-4.30pm National Museum of Ireland - Archaelogy, Kildare St, 01-6486453

Christmas Art Workshops at the Dublin City Gallery

Make origami snowballs (aged 10+ ) Dec 8 3.30pm-4.30pm €5. Children of all ages and accompanied adults can make stars and angels for the Christmas tree, Dec 15 11am-1pm, adm free. Free Sunday sketching workshops (aged 7+), Dec 9, 16, Jan 6 3pm Dublin City Gallery, Parnell Square North 01-2225564

Red Stables Christmas Workshops

Make Christmas tree decorations or create a winter wonderland at these drop-in art workshops. Learn how to make Swedish Christmas crackers, colourful angels, white Christmas doves and finger puppets with resident artists. Christmas Crackers puppet show with Custard Pie Puppet Company (Dec 15, 4pm) The Red Stables, St Anne’s Park, Mount Prospect Avenue, Dublin 3 Dec 8, 9 and 15 noon-4pm 01-2227377


Christmas Events at National Museum

Christmas Family Day with music, competitions and workshops in making Christmas decorations (aged 7+), National Museum of Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar Dec 15, 2pm-5pm adm free, no booking required 094-9031751

Visiting Santa

Babies, toddlers and school children up to aged 10 or so will be on the look-out for Santa Claus in the next few weeks. Many will already be cajoling parents into visiting his grottos in shopping centres, but consider making a family trip to a historic house or gardens to see Santa and you’ll have an altogether more memorable experience. Here are a few places to choose from.


At Dublin Zoo children can interact with Santa’s elves and pass through a winter wonderland on the way to meet him. Dec 8, 9, 15, 16, 22-24. €10 (in addition to admission price of €11 (children), €15.50 (adults) 01-4748900

Santa is also back this year in the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) on Mount Venus Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. While seeing Santa, children can enjoy storytelling, hot chocolate and cookies, and catch up with animals at the refuge in the Dublin Mountains. Dec 8, 15, 16, 22 and 23 (few tickets remaining) €14 children; €5 adults. Advanced booking essential. 01-4994700


Santa will also take up residence at Fota Wildlife Park on Fota Island, Cork. Until Dec 8-23 Sat, Sun and Mondays. Visits to Santa free with admission charge €9 (children), €14 (adults), under twos free 021-4812678


Billing itself as Ireland’s Lapland, Glendeer Pet Farm in Curryroe, Drum in Athlone hosts Santa and his reindeer Dancer and Prancer, alongside a nativity crib with live animals. Until Dec 23; Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm Sat/Sun 3pm-7pm €16 (children), €8 (adults) 090-6437147

Belvedere House and Gardens near Mullingar, Co Westmeath will be hosting Santa in traditional Victorian green robes in the courtyard of Belvedere House this year. Dec 8, 9, 15,16, 22, 23 €12 children, under threes and adults go free with child bookings

044- 9349060


Glenroe farm in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, gives Santa and Mrs Claus a homely thatched cottage for the few weeks before Christmas. Children can also see the nativity stable with live farm animals, visit the farm and watch puppet shows. Dec 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 10am-5pm €15 per child, one adult free per child (extra adults €5). 01-2872288


In Bunratty Folk Park, children can visit Santa, Mrs Claus, a troupe of elves and other Christmas characters in a specially designed street Until Dec 23. €13 (adults), €25 (children) pre-booking essential 061-360788


At the W5 in Belfast, children can walk through the pages of a giant book to discover some of Santa’s secrets. W5, Odyssey, 2 Queen’s Quay, Belfast Until Dec 23, Fridays-Sundays, various times £7.90/€9.70 (adults), £5.90/€7.30 (children). £5/€6 extra for gift from Santa 048-90467788

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