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Dublin Christmas Lights | © Sebastian Dooris/Flickr
Dublin Christmas Lights | © Sebastian Dooris/Flickr
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How To Celebrate Christmas In Dublin

Picture of Kate Phelan
Updated: 11 November 2016
Dublin may rarely be able to offer a white Christmas, but this city knows how to celebrate the holiday in style nonetheless. Whether you want to ice skate, shop for gifts made by Irish designers, or listen to festive music, we’ve assembled a list of some of the best ways to enjoy the season and be jolly in Dublin.

Dundrum on Ice

📅 Open daily until Sunday, January 15th

The Dundrum on Ice skating rink at is 500 metres square, meaning there’s plenty of room for seasoned skaters to bust out their pirouettes, and for nervous novices to cling to the side barriers. Skating sessions commence every hour on the hour, lasting 45 minutes. Afterwards, get a start on your Christmas gift shopping at the Dundrum Town Centre shopping mall, which has more than 100 stores, including what was the first standalone Hamleys toy store outside of London. From November 26th onwards, little ones will be able to visit Santa at his Hamleys grotto.

Dundrum Shopping Centre | © Sean MacEntee/Flickr
Dundrum Shopping Centre | © Sean MacEntee/Flickr

The Grafton Street Light Ceremony

📅 Sunday, November 13th

Christmas celebrations in Dublin truly begin with the Grafton Street ceremony that marks the switching on of the Christmas lights. This year the Limerick folk rock band Hermitage Green will headline the festive occasion, along with the singing duo Glenn & Ronan, whose version of Adele’s Hello went viral earlier this year – even earning them a trip to the Ellen show. While you’re on Grafton Street, don’t forget to take in the Christmas window displays at the Brown Thomas department store – another highlight of the giving season in Dublin.

Christmas lights on Grafton Street | © juppschmitznippes/Flickr
Christmas lights on Grafton Street | © juppschmitznippes/Flickr

Christmas with André

📅 Saturday, November 19th and Sunday, November 27th

Renowned Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu broke box office records earlier in 2016 by becoming the highest grossing music concert ever broadcast in cinemas in the UK and Ireland. This November, Cineworld Dublin will broadcast a 90-minute concert by Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra, along with a live Q&A with the musician, and a tour of the Christmas highlights of his hometown of Maastricht.

The Gaiety Panto

📅 Sunday, November 27th – Sunday, January 8th 2017

Robin Hood and His Merry Men will be this year’s panto at The Gaiety Theatre, a Dublin Christmas tradition that dates back to 1873. A theatrical extravaganza incorporating music, comedy and dance, this is a show that actually does have something for everyone, loved by adults and children alike. Plus, the historic interior of the Gaiety – with its red velvet curtains and ornate detailing – is an innately Christmas-y venue.

Actors in the 2016 Gaiety Panto outside the theatre | Courtesy of The Gaiety Theatre
Actors in the 2016 Gaiety Panto outside the theatre | Courtesy of The Gaiety Theatre

The Late Late Toy Show

📅 Friday, December 2nd

This is one Irish Christmas tradition that you can partake in from the privacy of your own home, ideally in a pair of cosy pyjamas with a cup of hot chocolate. Ireland’s The Late Late Show is the world’s second longest-running chat show, after The Tonight Show in the US. And while its yearly Christmas Late Late Toy Show special has undoubtedly lost some of the magic of its early days with original host Gay Byrne, it’s still something many Irish people feel like it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without. Sit back and watch young children advise viewers on the best new toys available that year, perform Christmas songs, and be generally adorable.

Carols by Candlelight at Christ Church

📅 Tuesday, December 6th – Thursday, December 8th

There are many different carol services throughout Dublin at Christmas, but the candlelight ceremonies at Christ Church Cathedral are probably the most popular. Every year, tickets for all three shows tend to sell out early, with whole families getting dressed up and going together to watch the resident choir sing classic carols in this spectacular church.

Candlelight | © 143d ESC/Flickr
Candlelight | © 143d ESC/Flickr

The Dublin Flea Christmas Cracker Market

📅 Friday, December 9th – Sunday, December 11th

The fifth annual Dublin Flea Christmas Cracker Market is set to take over The Point Village for the second weekend in December, giving a platform to Dublin’s many independent traders, designers and makers. With a wide array of the best local craft, design and handmade gifts for Christmas, plus vintage items, festive hot drinks and food, and a cheerful crowd, the Christmas edition of the Dublin Flea is always a treat.