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5 festive things to do in Dublin in the run-up to Christmas


by Jennifer McShane
28th Nov 2019

There’s plenty of festive fun to be had in the capital this Christmas. Read on for some of our suggestions


Visit… an ice-skating rink

Nothing says Christmas like ice-skating and Dublin has plenty of rinks that you and the clan can visit over the coming weeks. Swords, Dundrum, South Dublin on Ice (in Tallaght) all have their own and if you’re going with a gang, Ireland’s largest rink is located in Blanchardstown. So, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the 1,000sqm ice rink caters for all levels of experience. Wrap up, have fun and get those skates on!

Stay… at a gorgeous boutique hotel 

There’s something about staying in a hotel in the run-up to the festivities that just screams Christmas. Boutique hotel The Address in Dublin 1 has 80 rooms and has been built on the site of the North Star Hotel, creating a unique ‘hotel within a hotel’ experience. When I stayed with a guest recently, I felt instantly at home – but somewhere else in the best sense of the word. Entering the lobby on a rainy night, I was instantly welcomed with an array of twinkling lights and decorations. And I hadn’t even seen my room yet!

Guests are sure to love their stay; everything is relaxed and comfortable – rooms are spacious-yet-cosy – with touches of luxury throughout (the bed was the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in).

Anything you need is available via the touch of a button once inside your room and though dining on cheese and wine is recommended if you need a snack, be sure to leave some room for a scrumptious dinner in McGettigans Cookhouse & Bar. You can indulge in a full Irish the following morning, or opt for a lie-in as I did. Either way, you won’t forget your stay – the hotel is perfect for a weekend getaway now or in the New Year.

They also have a Black Friday sale on, in case you were tempted to sort yours now…

Watch… your favourite festive films

For the entire month of December, Light House Dublin will be spreading festive cheer, taking you right back to your nostalgic childhood years by showing all your favourite Christmas films on the big screen. Would it even be Christmas if you didn’t have Die Hard playing in the background (RIP Alan Rickman) or weep alongside Emma Thompson (and Joni Mitchell) in Love Actually? Who remembers the first time they watched The Muppet Christmas Carol?

Buddy The Elf is back on the big screen daily from 4th December with a very special re-release of ELF, while Warner Brothers are releasing a very special 4k restoration of Joe Dante’s Gremlins from December 6th.  As has become an annual tradition, on December 7th there will be a massive Home Alone party (with a double bill of the first two movies during the month).

There will also be screenings of classic films such as Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful LifeMiracle On 34th Street and for the first time, you can experience the dazzling Judy Garland in Vincent Minelli’s gorgeous Meet Me In St Louis. 

You can find out more details of festive screenings here.

Browse… at Dun Laoghaire Christmas market

For the sea air, Christmas fair and fun for all the family, we’d highly advise taking a trip to the Dun Laoghaire Christmas market, one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Dublin. This port town in a south Dublin suburb has its own regular market year-round but it goes all out for Christmas, labelling it a ‘Christmas Festival’.

Related: The Christmas markets and pop-ups to hit up for Irish gift ideas

With Santa arriving to open the festival and switch on the blankets of fairy lights that hang above the street and decorate the huts, it has that little bit of magic about it. The market commences on November 30 and will be open on weekends for the majority of November and December from 11 am to 7 pm. On the final lead up to Christmas Day, it will be open every day of the week until its closing date, December 23.

You can read more about must-visit Irish Christmas markets here.

Eat, Drink and be Merry… at your pick of delicious restaurants 

Wondering where to venture in Dublin for a festive tipple, group outing or a too-tasty-for-words selection of food? Ali Dunworth has done all the hard selection work for you and recommends no less than 30 of her favourite places to try – no matter what your tastebuds yearn for, you’ll find a dining experience to love. See here for all her picks.

Another option for serious foodies is Taste of Dublin: Festive Edition which is returning to the capital for 2019. Taste of Dublin is coming to the RDS this November 28-December 1 and is gearing up to be Ireland’s ultimate winter food festival. From cooking demonstrations to hands-on cooking classes, to whiskey tastings and wine masterclasses, there will be live entertainment to satisfy all foodies. You had us at food.

See more about the weekend food festival here.


Main photograph: Unsplash

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