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Image / Living / Culture

5 safe ways around Ireland for your family to visit Santa this year


by Erin Lindsay
12th Nov 2020
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Planning your socially-distant Christmas celebrations this year? There are still plenty of ways to experience some North Pole magic


We’ve all had a rough time this year, which is why so many of us are looking forward to the festive season. It’s definitely sunk in that it won’t be like other years, and that some traditions will have to wait for next year. But if you’ve been worried about whether your little ones can still experience meeting Santa before the big day, you’re in luck – there are still so many fantastic places around the country that are hosting the Big Man safely.

Whether it’s a socially distant visit or a personalised Zoom call, this year’s Santa visits may look very different, but they’ll be just as special to your kids.

Santa – The Experience (online)

Running from 1-24 December, this interactive elf-led journey will take your family to the North Pole and all of Santa’s favourite winter wonderland spots, along with a personal live video chat with Santa himself. You can access the chat from your own home, and after saying goodbye, you’ll receive a video recording of their chat with Santa, including shareable social media content to keep the memories safe. Starting from €29.95 for a visit.

Santa’s Drive-In Grotto (RDS, Simmonscourt, Dublin)

For a small number of dates at the beginning of December, the entire family can head to Santa’s Drive-In Grotto at the RDS. While in the car, you can be checked in by the elves before setting off on a winding road, taking in Winter Workshops, Santa’s Sorting Office, and meeting Mr and Mrs Claus along the way, before pulling up alongside Santa’s sleigh and receiving a treat. Prices from €49 plus fees per vehicle.

Rathwood’s Santa Train (Tullow, Co. Carlow)

Rathwood Estate’s Santa Express Train is famous for being a fabulous experience for families at Christmas, and this year, although different, will definitely live up to expectations. This year’s Santa Train will see families spend the entire 1-hour experience within their carriage on the train, and see the fun come to them. From December 5, you can book aboard the Rathwood Express, and make your way through the Festive Forest, seeing Santa’s reindeer, before enjoying a show in Santa’s Big Top, before being greeted by Santa and his helpers and receiving a gift. Prices from €23.95 per child and €14.95 per adult.

Santa’s Retro Drive-In (Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin)

Love Christmas movies? This retro drive-in experience is a great way to get the whole family involved in Christmas celebrations – you can even bring your dog along for the ride. For this one hour experience, families will watch a live link-up to the North Pole, with a special screening of ‘Father Christmas’. Each child’s name will appear on screen as confirmation that they’re on the Good List, and they’ll each receive a certificate from Santa himself too. Early Bird prices from €28 per car.

Elf Town, Galway (online)

Another fantastic way to meet Santa from your home. Arrange with the Elves to pre-post a special gift to the kids before sitting down to meet Santa, and chat to him via a live video link (Santa will magically know the children’s hobbies, friends, and of course, if they’ve been good or bad). This unique service starts at €34.95 for a family with one child.


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