Christmas events 2018: Your guide to pantos, concerts, festivals and more around Ireland
Your one-stop Christmas events shop is here
We Are Going on a Bear Hunt at the Pavilion, Dún Laoghaire
PANTOMIMES AND THEATRE
Alice The Musical
New musical version of Lewis Carroll’s topsy-turvy masterpiece by Paul Boyd.
Lyric Theatre, Ridgeward Street Until Jan 5 £12.50/17.50 048-90381081 lyrictheatre.co.uk
The Elves and the Shoemaker
Cahoots NI tell the story of a kind-hearted cobbler who gets a helping hand from a party of nocturnal pixies; sounds like a Christmas fable to me.
The Mac Until Jan 6 £12.50/25 048-90235053, themaclive.com
Jack and the Beanstalk
David Bedella plays a giant baddie in this traditional fairytale-inspired panto.
Grand Opera House, Great Victoria St until Jan 13 £20.75/£32.25, 048-90241919 goh.co.uk
Beauty and the Beast
Belle finds love in the form of an unlikely beast in this traditional panto adventure.
Waterfront Hall, 2 Lanyon Place Until Jan 6 £16/£18 048-90334455 waterfront.co.uk
Hansel and Gretel
The greedy siblings get the satirical treatment in this traditional panto presented by Pantaloons.
Glór Irish Music Centre, Ennis Dec 22-31, €15, 066-843103 glor.ie
Go to the ball with Zoe Talbot and Ross McLeod, who star as Cinderella and her Handsome Prince.
Everyman Palace, MacCurtain St Dec 1-Jan 13, €28, 021-4501673 everymancork.com
The Genie brings extra magic to this long-running Cork spectacular.
Cork Opera House, Emmet Place until Jan 20 €27.50/€33/€35 021-4270022, corkoperahouse.ie
Panto with a triple “P”.
Millennium Forum, Derry Until Dec 30 £12.50/£19.50 048-71264455 millenniumforum.co.uk
Circus meets panto in this tale of a puppet’s mad adventures.
An Grianán, Letterkenny Dec 11 €6, 074-9120777 angrianan.com
Alice in Wonderland
Dame Stuffy tumbles down the rabbit hole with Alice in this local panto.
Axis, Ballymun Jan 3-27 €10 01-8832100 axis-ballymun.ie
A Winter Wish
Live trad music and theatrical storytelling from Ceol Connected. On tour.
Civic Theatre, Tallaght Dec 12 & 13 €5/€7 01-4627477 civictheatre.ie
Baby’s First Christmas
Sensory seasonal storytelling for the tiniest audience.
Civic Theatre ,Tallaght Dec 12 &13 €10 01-4627477 civictheatre.ie
Beauty and the Beast
Sixty minutes of panto pandemonium directed by Geoff O’Keefe.
Mill Theatre, Dundrum Dec 8-Jan 6 €14/€16 01-2969340 milltheatre.ie
Bosco’s Magical Christmas with Cinderella
A seasonal show with 1980s favourite Bosco.
Axis, Ballymun Dec 16 €10 01-8832100 axis-ballymun.ie
How to Catch a Star
Oliver Jeffers’s book gets the Branar treatment in this beautiful, wordless puppet show.
The Ark Dec 5-30 €12.50/€9.50 01-6707788 ark.ie
TheatreworX take on the timeless tale of Sherwood Forest’s goodies and baddies.
The Helix, Dublin City University, Glasnevin until Jan 20 €24/€28, 01-7007000, thehelix.ie
Polly and the Magic Lamp
With Rory Cowan, Ryan Andrews and Jake Carter.
Olympia Theatre, Dame St Dec 21-Jan 6 €26/€34 0818-719330 ticketmaster.ie
The Snow Queen
Will the Snow Queen freeze the fun out of Christmas? Oh no she won’t . . .
Gaiety Theatre, South King St until Jan 20 01-6486029/0818-719388 gaietytheatre.ie
Alan Hughes returns as Sammy Sausages, regular interlocutor in the Cheerios Panto. With Joe Duffy as the Magic Mirror.
Tivoli Theatre Dec 4-Jan 17 €15/€30 01-4544472 tivoli.ie
Jack and the Beanstalk
A giant of a panto, with Sorcha Furlong and Enya Martin.
Civic Theatre, Tallaght Dec 12-Jan 7 €14/€16 01 4627477 civictheatre.ie
The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy gets a companion for her journey through Oz: Dame Stuffy. Panto with a local twist.
Axis, Ballymun Jan 4-28, €11, 01-8832100 axis-ballymun.ie
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Musical adaptation of the classic picture-book by Michael Rosen.
Pavilion Theatre, Dec 19-30 €17.50 01-2312929 paviliontheatre.ie
The Renmore Players celebrate 40 years in the panto business.
Townhall Theatre, Galway Dec 29-Jan 13 €18/€16 091-569777 tht.ie
George McMahon and Aoibheann McCaul star in Ireland’s only professional touring panto.
INEC Killarney January 3-5 €25 064-6671555 inec.ie
A Winter Wish
Riverbank Theatre, Newbridge Dec 14-15 €6 045-448327 riverbank.ie
Elfie Saves Christmas
When Santa’s favourite Elf meets mischievous Goblins, Christmas Eve doesn’t quite go to plan.
Moat Theatre, Naas Dec 19-22 €13.50/€12.50 045-883030 moattheatre.com
Nelly Smickers joins the band of Merry Men in their battle against the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Moat Theatre, Naas until Dec 15 €15 045-883030 moattheatre.com
Bosco’s Garden & Snow White
The 1980s star makes a comeback for Christmas.
Watergate Theatre Dec 15 €11 056-7761674 watergatetheatre.com
With Katherine Lynch as the Wicked Queen.
University Concert Hall Dec 17-Jan 6 €25/€29 061-331549 uch.ie
Help wake the sleepy princess in this local panto.
TLT Drogheda, Matthew’s Lane Dec 19-30 €13 041-9878560 thetlt.ie
A Winter Wish
Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar Dec 8 €8 094-9023733 thelinenhall.com
Coolera Dramatic Society celebrate their 40th pantomime production with Rumplestilzkin.
Hawkswell Theatre Dec 8-21 €17 071-9161518 hawkswell.com
A live band props up this poppy panto from Waterford Panto Society.
Theatre Royal Dec 8-30 €16/€19.50 051-874402 theatreroyal.ie
National Opera House, Wexford Dec 27-30 €25 053-9122400 nationaloperahouse.ie
A Jingle Bell Journey
Interactive theatrical adventure with a Christmas twist.
National Opera House, Wexford Dec 5-16 €12 053-9122400 nationaloperahouse.ie
A Winter Wish
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray Dec 11 €8 01-2724030 mermaidartscentre.ie
Baby’s First Xmas
Tinahely Courthouse Dec 7 €10 0402-38529 courthousearts.ie
MUSICALS, CIRCUS AND DANCE
Family shows and late-night cabaret with Tumble Circus.
Big Top, Writer’s Square Dec 14-Jan 1 £6/£8.50/£12 tumblecircus.com
Lost in Frost
Echo, Echo Dance with a mix of movement, music, visuals and storytelling.
An Grianán, Letterkenny Dec 11 €6 074-9120777 angrianan.com
The Wizard of Oz
Festival Production’s annual Christmas show, directed by and starring Tony Finnegan.
National Concert Hall Dec 27-Jan 3 €29/€32/€36, 01-4170000 nch.ie
Dublin’s only Christmas circus.
Tallaght Stadium Dec 13-Jan 6 €10-€18 fossettscircus.com
Big-budget spectacle touring from the West End.
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dec 5-Jan 12, from €21 01-6777770 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
This Way to Christmas
Theatre Lovett bring an extra touch of magic to the Christmas concert spectacle.
National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace Dec 21-23 €19-€25 01-4170000, nch.ie
Lost in Frost
Riverbank Theatre, Newbridge Dec 21-22 €6 045-448327 riverbank.ie
Drogheda Orchestral Collective give live accompaniment to the iconic Christmas film.
Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell St, Drogheda Dec 22 €10/€8 041-9833946 droichead.com
Ballet Ireland’s sumptuous Christmas production. See panel.
Civic Theatre, Tallaght Dec 6-8 01-4627477; Glór, Ennis Dec 11-12 065-6843103; Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick Dec 14-15 061-774774; Siamsa Tíre, Tralee Dec 16 066-7123055; Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Dec 19-20 046-9092300; VISUAL, Carlow Dec 21 059-9172400; Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray Dec 22-23 01-2724030 balletireland.ie
Cork Opera House Christmas Concert
Family friendly seasonal music led by John O’Brien.
Cork Opera House Dec 17/18 €25/€27.50/€30 021-4270022 corkoperahouse.ie
Christmas Family Concert
Carols with a jazzy twist from with the ECO Band.
National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace Dec 8 €12 01-4170000 nch.ie
Ceola Christmas Concert
An evening of festive classics with Ceola’s Adult and Children’s choir.
Moat Theatre, Naas Dec 17 €11 045-883030 moattheatre.com
The Nutcracker Christmas Show
Interactive classical fun with the Whistleblast Quartet.
Siamsa Tíre, Tralee Dec 8 €7 066-7123055 siamsatire.ie
Music for Tots
Christmas Concert for the under-4s.
Kilkenny Castle, Parade Tower Dec 12 & 17 Adm free but ticketed kilkennycastle.ie
Cork on Ice
Skate with Santa or join the Penguin Club.
Mahon Point Shopping Centre until Jan 27 €11/€13 0818-919807 iceskating.ie
Dundrum on Ice
The ice rink in the Dundrum Town Centre is an energetic alternative to shopping.
Dundrum Town Centre until Jan 13 €13/€14 01-5242101 dundrumonice.ie
I-Skate at the RDS
Part of the Winter Funderland experience, Ireland’s largest outdoor rink draws big crowds over the festive period.
RDS, Simmonscourt, Ballsbridge Dec 26-Jan 14 €13/€12, 01-4853045 winterfunderland.ie
Swords on Ice
Opposite the Wrights Cafe, behind the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Swords.
Until Jan 6 €11/€12 01-5242322 swordsonice.ie
Ice Skating at Blanchardstown
This ice rink is in Millennium Park, next to the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.
Until Jan 20 €11/€13 0818-919807 iceskating.ie
Galway City On Ice
A seaside skate in the all-weather marquee in Leisureland.
Leisureland, Salthill Until Jan 5, From €8 091-394504 galwaycityonice.ie
Kilkenny On Ice
An Olympiad of an ice-rink with ice slides, bungee trampolines and a zipline.
Cillin Hill Until Jan 6 €13/€15 kilkennyonice.com
Winterval on Ice
Part of the Winterval festival, with a kiddies’ and an adult rink.
Waterside Quay Park Until Jan 14 €11/€15 0818-919807 iceskating.ie
Mullingar on Ice
Mullingar gets its first taste of the ice.
Town Park Until Jan 6 €13/€14 0818-919807 iceskating.ie
Days of Christmas Past
Enjoy readings from The Night before Christmas, sing along with the Christmas Mummers, taste seasonal treats and meet Santa and Mrs Claus in his workshop.
Ulster American Folk Park Until Dec 16 £9 nmni.com
Spirit of Christmas
An Edwardian Christmas at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. With Santa and Carols by Candlelight.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Hollywood Until Dec 21 £11/£15 nmni.com
European-style market, a ferris wheel and a free festive installation in Bishop Lucey Park.
Until Jan 6 corkchristmascelebration.ie
The Magic of Santa
A theatrical trip through a seasonally reimagined Fota House and Gardens led by friendly elves.
Fota House, Cork Until Dec 16 €15/€7.50 021-4815543 fotahouse.com
Airfield Christmas Experience
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.
Until Dec 23 €15/€11 airfield.ie
Christmas at Farmleigh
Weekend family festival at Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, with free events including puppet shows, carol singing and a festive crib.
Farmleigh House Saturdays and Sundays throughout Dec 01-8155900 farmleigh.ie
Christmas market and fairground attractions.
Until Jan 13 winterfunderland.ie
Winter Solstice Celebration
Drama, craft, céilí and a fiery parade through Smithfield Square with Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company.
DIT Grangegorman Dec 21 smashingtimes.ie
A festival of music, food, craft and entertainment, with historical, cultural and arts events.
Until Dec 24 056-7794978 yulefestkilkenny.ie
Seasonal events in beautiful heritage sites throughout the city. With creative workshops, storytelling sessions, and a Christmas carousel.
Until Dec 23 051-856516 winterval.ie
Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl may embody the true, altruistic meaning of Christmas, but ETA Hoffman’s The Nutcracker, whose anti-materialist moral is a bit more subtle, has become the most popular of seasonal fairytales. The story unfolds on Christmas Eve, as a group of toys come to life after bedtime in a bid to defeat an army of mice. Hoffman published the story in 1818, and the magical themes resonated for readers throughout the 19th century. Alexander Dumas retold it in French in 1844, giving it further reach. It was this version that inspired Tchaikovsky’s final, and most popular ballet, The Nutcracker. It premiered to mixed success in 1892, but became a seasonal staple in the late 20th century, as Christmas became increasingly commercialised – how’s that for an ironic twist on the moral tale?
Tchaikovsky’s ballet is now thoroughly embedded in the Christmas canon, and there are plenty of opportunities to see various iterations of it in Ireland this Christmas. Ballet Ireland’s extensive national tour takes it across the country this year with a show that young ballet-lovers will have only dreamt of (balletireland.ie), while the more experienced balletomane will welcome the opportunity to see the Royal Ballet Company perform their version at the Royal Opera House in London, in ENCORE recordings at cinemas from Dec 6 (roh.org.uk). The Whistleblast Quartet. meanwhile, will play music from the Suite, in an interactive family concert in various locations (whistleblastquartet.com).
And, for those who don’t mind their classics made modern, the new Disney spectacular, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, offers a Victorian version that takes many liberties with the original material, but offers an abundance of special effects to compensate. Let the battle with the Mouse King begin.
Have Yourself a Merry Cultured Christmas
If you are looking for some relief from the commercial mayhem of Christmas, Ireland’s cultural and historic institutions offer a 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, bringing a seasonal slant to the museum’s collections (museum.ie). OPW sites (opw.ie) also open themselves up to various family-friendly, Christmas-themed explorations. Art galleries. meanwhile, offer a chance for children to get creative with their Christmas ideas in structured workshops. A selection of the best are listed below.
Santa’s Little Helpers
A fun family event to learn more about winter birds with a range of activities for children. (All ages).
Visitors’ Centre, Phoenix Park Dec 10 11am Free but ticketed 01-6770095
Nativity Story Stones
Art workshop based on the original Christmas story (6+).
Dublin Castle December 10 11am Free but ticketed dublincastle.ie
For 3-6 year olds. Bring them home or add them to the gallery’s Christmas tree!
Hugh Lane Gallery December 15 €7 01-222555 hughlane.ie
A Medieval Christmas Pilgrimage
Chat with medieval craftsmen and try your hand at some medieval pursuits.
Museum of Decorative Arts, Collins Barracks Dec 15 museum.ie
Seasonal Sketching Sundays
Free drawing sessions with seasonal themes.
Hugh Lane Gallery Sundays in December 01-222555 hughlane.ie
Winter Solstice Tour
Discover the ancient significance of the Solstice on this interactive tour.
Museum of Archaeology, Kildare Street Dec 21 Free but ticketed 01-6486332 museum.ie
Christmas-themed workshops for children with special needs.
Kilkenny Castle December 9 2.30pm/3.45pm Free but ticketed 056-7704134
The Last Straw
Make your own decorations using rustic materials.
Museum of Country Life, Turlough Park Dec 16/17 Adm free museum.ie
Light Up Your Own Gingerbread House
Seasonal eco-themed workshop that blends science and biscuits.
Cool Planet Experience, Powerscourt House, Enniskerry Until Dec 23 €20, 01-5180197 coolplanetexperience.org