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Festive movies, ballet and musicals – evening outings for the family

From drive-in movies in Galway to the most festive ballet of them all



Nothing beats the collective atmosphere of enjoying a festive film – whose lines you almost know by heart – with a couple of hundred other fans.

The Lighthouse Cinema on Smithfield Plaza, Dublin has several festive films including The Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, on several weekend dates in December. Frozen too gets a couple of outings with sing-a-along sessions on Saturdays, December 1st and 8th at 2.30pm. Adult tickets, €9.50 each.

At The Sugar Club on Leeson Street, Dublin there are screenings of another Disney classic, The Lion King on Saturdays, December 1st and 8th. Elf is also broadcast on these dates. Tickets to either show cost €10.

Access Cinema is running Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life and Home Alone at the Pavilion in Dún Laoghaire on the weekend beginning Saturday, December 22nd but it is The Man Who Invented Christmas in which Charles Dickens suffers from writer’s block that adds a freshness to the billing. Shot on location in Ireland it is being screened on Thursday, December 20th at the child-friendly time of 5pm. Tickets, €8.50 or €22 for a family of four.

Access Cinema is also facilitating special screenings of the festive Irish animated short film The Lost Letter, at arts centres across the country from Glór in Ennis to An Táin in Dundalk.

For a top-of-the-range aural immersion, the original Star Wars will be screened at the 3Arena, Dublin on Wednesday, December 5th with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra lushly playing the original score by John Williams, tickets €63.45; or go see and hear Ghostbusters at the National Concert Hall, Dublin on Friday, December 7th at 3pm and again at 7.30pm. Tickets from €22.50.

On the edge of Galway city enjoy a retro drive-in night at the flicks at Galway Racecourse with classics including Elf, Home Alone, The Santa Claus and The Polar Express all thrilling kids and adults alike, although some of the screenings are probably too late for little ones. For die-hard square-eyes you could do a Home Alone double on Saturday, December 1st with the original screening at 3pm, then take a break, go for a bite to eat and return at 9pm to watch Home Alone 2. A five-seat car costs from €29.90, while a seven-seater costs from €32.

The whole family can sing-a-long to The Greatest Showman, in which Hugh Jackman demonstrates his pipes, showing at the Source, Thurles, on Sunday December 2nd while Christmas classics include the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street.


Ballet Ireland’s version of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker is touring to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a company of international dancers. The drama opens on Christmas Eve when a marvellous party is taking place where the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer brings gifts for all the children. Catch it at the Solstice Arts Centre, Navan on Wednesday, December 19th and Thursday, December 20th. Tickets €22.


Little kids will love Branar Téatar do Páistí’s festive adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ best-selling picture book, How To Catch A Star, running at The Ark, Temple Bar, Dublin. Suitable for ages 4-10 it reminds us all to follow our dreams. Tickets €12.50.

At the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Les Miserables will take them through the the French Revolution and bring their schoolbooks to life in a way a teacher simply cannot. Cameron Mackintosh’s production is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Considered one of the greatest musicals of all time this production runs from Wednesday, December 5th to Thursday, January 13th. Ticket availability is limited.