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My Ireland

Looking for inspiration? Planning a trip? Or just want to scroll yourself happy? We'll show you an Ireland that's tailor-made for you.

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    Christmas in Ireland

    From carol singers and Christmas markets to the warm embrace of a cosy fireside, Christmas in Ireland is brimming with festive cheer

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    The most wonderful time of the year? We think so! And in Ireland we celebrate the season in style. Think bustling streets filled with festive shoppers, hot drinks enjoyed in front of a roaring turf fire and carol singers belting out your favourite Christmas tunes.

    But if you REALLY want to experience Christmas in Ireland, dive in! Brave the freezing waters at Dublin’s Forty Foot swimming spot for the traditional Christmas morning swim. Find the perfect gift at one of the island's many Christmas markets and show off your language skills with a breezy "Nollaig Shona Duit" in Irish or “Ablythe Yuletide” in Ulster-Scots (Happy Christmas to you!). At Christmas, Ireland is one big party... and everyone's invited! 

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    ©️ Shutterstock

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    Christmas lights in Derry~Londonderry

    Irish Christmas traditions

    We’ve got some very Irish customs that are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit…

    Discover more
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    ©️ Shutterstock

    Irish Christmas highlights

    Let’s start with the famous buskers who perform for Christmas shoppers on Dublin’s Grafton Street. Musicians like Bono, Hozier and Glen Hansard usually swing by and put on a show to support charities.

    Then there’s Wren’s Day on 26 December when groups of wrenboys dressed up in paint and straw go from door to door, singing, dancing and collecting donations. Lend them a few coins to stave off bad luck in the coming year.

    Then to mark the end of the Christmas period, there’s “Women’s Christmas” (Nollaig na mBan) on 6 January. On this day, the women of the house traditionally get a rest after looking after everyone during the festive season and the men take on the household duties.

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    Christmas pudding ©️ Shutterstock

    A Christmas feast from Ireland

    From smoked salmon and soda bread to spiced beef, Ireland tastes great at Christmas.

    Get a taste!

    Coming home

    The most important thing about Christmas in Ireland isn’t the presents, the traditions or even the food. It’s about friends and family coming together. And this is where the Irish pub comes into its own.

    Over the festive season, the pub is pretty much the centre of small villages, towns and even cities, and is usually bursting with reuniting friends and families wrapping hands around hot whiskeys and cosying up beside the fire. It’s off the charts for Christmas spirit.

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    ©️ Shutterstock

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    Derry~Londonderry

    Christmas lights in front of the Guild Hall

    Christmas markets: 5 of the best

    1
    The grounds of Belfast City Hall transform into an international village with unusual foods and gift ideas from around the world.
    2
    Glow, Cork city
    Stalls of artisanal produce, vats of hot chocolate, a merry-go-round and a party atmosphere. It’s Christmas with a Cork twist.
    3
    Winterval, Waterford city
    Food, crafts, live music and a good time for all in one of Ireland’s oldest cities. Waterford knows how to throw a party! 
    4
    Not a festival but if you want to see how Christmas was celebrated in rural Ulster and Pioneer America in the 19th and 20th centuries, this is the place for you.
    5
    Galway’s Christmas market is a festive wonderland of tasty treats, live music, light gardens, puppet shows, storytelling and even a Ferris wheel.

    Christmas retreats around Ireland

    Great places to enjoy a festive break on the island of Ireland

    Accommodation

    Bushmills Inn Hotel

    4/5

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    Antrim

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    Accommodation

    The Shelbourne

    5/5

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    Dublin

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    Accommodation

    Bishop's Gate Hotel

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    Londonderry

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    Accommodation

    Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate

    5/5

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    Galway

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    Accommodation

    Culloden Estate and Spa

    5/5

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    Down

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    Accommodation

    Longueville House Hotel

    4/5

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    Cork

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    Accommodation

    The Merchant Hotel

    5/5

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    Antrim

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    Accommodation

    Wineport Lodge

    4/5

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    Westmeath

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    Accommodation

    Faithlegg House Hotel

    4/5

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    Waterford

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    Accommodation

    Bellinter House

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    Meath

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    Accommodation

    The Killarney Park

    5/5

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    Kerry

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    Accommodation

    Lough Eske Castle

    5/5

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    Donegal

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