Subscriber OnlyPeople

Christmas markets on your doorstep around Ireland

You don’t have to jet off to the continent any more to capture the twinkling lights and festive cheer of a Christmas market

For years many people have availed of cheap flights to visit the famed continental Christmas markets across Europe but in recent years, the magic of Christmas markets has made its way to Ireland, with versions springing up in towns and cities across the country. Some are big and spectacular, others more carefully curated, but they all offer the opportunity to eat some good food, browse local crafts and maybe even meet the main man himself. The traditional format has evolved, meaning the ubiquitous mulled wine, pretzels and mince pies are there to munch on, but nowadays you are also likely to find artisan burgers, noodle stalls and pizza trucks.

Moore Street

Established back in the 18th century, Dublin’s oldest market has stood the test of time and seen it all. Now a Christmas edition of the market will run each Saturday and Sunday in the lead-up to Christmas. A revamp of the famous market will see softly lit stalls line the street enticing visitors to warm up with a mulled wine or hot chocolate, find some Christmas decorations or handcrafted gifts by local creatives for their loved ones, and enjoy carol singing by the resident Christmas choir. The organisers say the Christmas market on Moore Street will be the perfect introduction of new generations to the legacy of this integral part of the city’s culture. “Christmas wrapping paper, four for a tenner?” Why not!

Moore Street Christmas Market will run every Saturday and Sunday to December 24th.

Winterval (Waterford)

Billed as Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, Winterval in Waterford blazed a trail that many others have followed since. Ireland’s oldest city is the perfect setting for this extravaganza, which sees families visiting from all over Ireland. This year the market will include almost 50 Winterval chalets as well as a “Flavours from Around the World Market”; there will also be the Waterford Crafts Fair at Garter Lane Gallery, meaning there will be over 100 food, drinks, crafts and gift producers and creators taking part. Perennial favourites such as the ice-skating rink and the Waterford Eye return for 2022, but live music gigs and “special festival experiences” such as Ireland’s first Christmas parade are also promised as part of the festival’s 10th birthday celebrations.


Winterval runs to December 23rd.


The Galway Continental Christmas market was one of the first major Christmas markets in Ireland and is now in its 13th year, it shows no sign of slowing down. More than 350,000 visitors enjoyed the market in 2021 and the first post-pandemic iteration looks set to draw an even bigger crowd. More than 50 wooden chalets will be located at Eyre Square along with the big wheel, carousel, Santa’s grotto, and in keeping with the city’s bohemian vibe, there will be theatrical delights galore. The 2022 market will also feature artisan food products and Christmas gift ideas from both local and European traders, and shoppers can feast on bratwurst, crepes or waffles. The Enchanted Light Gardens will provide the backdrop for the perfect Christmas family photo.

Galway Christmas Market takes place until December 22nd.


The glorious Belfast Christmas market no doubt benefits from its plum site in front of City Hall, making it the focal point of the city’s Christmas celebrations. More than one million people are expected to visit this Christmas and the huge event has become a tourist draw in its own right, with visitors from across the UK and Europe making return pilgrimages each year. The market is a truly continental one, with 32 nationalities from all over the world bringing all sorts of unusual foods and gift ideas: crepes from France, Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, an exotic selection of ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers, giant bratwurst from the monster Schwenkgrill, Spanish paella and sweets from Italy. Organisers say support for local food and craft has increased, with a number of St George’s Market traders getting involved this year.

The Belfast Christmas Market will be at the City Hall until December 22nd.


The Wicklow Christmas market in Wicklow town is fast becoming a destination Christmas market as it continues to grow and expand. The organisers promise it will be bigger and better than ever for 2022, with more than 50 twinkling chalets offering global food options and local handmade gifts and crafts. There’s also an eco ice rink and a funfair, and Santa and his elves are in situ for the duration. It’s worth noting that Wicklow Christmas Market is a “green festival”, committed to using recycled and sustainable materials and all its traders commit to a “leave no trace” ethos.

Wicklow Christmas Market runs until December 18th and is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Mountain View, Co Kilkenny

Come for the market, stay for the breathtaking views. The unique artisan market at the family-owned Mountain View in Ballyhale, Co Kilkenny, has been attracting visitors in their thousands since it first opened last year. The Christmas market takes place in the Cowshed, a fabulous indoor/outdoor space with stunning views of the rolling Kilkenny countryside and the counties beyond. It’s not a traditional continental Christmas market per se but a more contemporary iteration: sushi or Caribbean food, anyone? Nevertheless, the organisers promise that whether you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, pick up a new outfit or find some artwork to go on your wall, Mountain View will have it. It’s also dog-friendly (with more than 100 acres for them to roam around) and don’t forget to say hello to the five resident alpacas.

The Christmas Market at Mountain View will take place from 10am to 4pm every sunday from November 27th until Christmas.

Danielle Barron

Danielle Barron is a contributor to The Irish Times