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Explore the festive wonders of Ireland this winter


Nov 28 2017

Imagine sitting by a turf-fuelled fire, cosy and warm in the wild, untouched countryside. The winter frost on the trees along the rugged coastline creates a magical festive setting, with lights brightening the towns and cities all across the island of Ireland. There are plenty of enchanted festive getaway spots in Ireland this holiday season, so Tourism Ireland has selected five top places to visit.

1. Belfast

Northern Ireland’s capital has the award-winning Continental Market, featuring heaving stalls of European crafts and artisan food. This is the 13th consecutive year that Belfast City Hall has hosted this yuletide extravaganza, including alpine chalets and Dutch pancake vendors. It is free entry and runs from 18th November to 23rd December. For New Year’s Eve, join Titanic Belfast for supper in style with dancing in front of the stunning Titanic staircase and live music long into the night. Tickets are available at www.titanicbelfast.com from just £40 (AED 195)

2. Dublin

Ireland’s capital city is lit up from end-to-end in fairy lights, and festive wreaths, but the number one place to go is George’s Street Arcade. It is full of festive cheer, with gift ideas, jewellery, collectables, clothes and excellent epicurean delights.

Dublin’s New Year Festival brings together live entertainment, culture and ‘the craic’ to ring in 2018. This year’s festival features Liffey Lights Midnight Moment with acrobatics and lights illuminating the sky. For music fans, the 3Countdown Concert features top Dublin band Kodaline and special guests Hudson Taylor and Keywest.

3. Waterford

There’s free entry to the Winterval Festival (from November 17 to December 23), which includes a specialist artisan food market serving hot, delicious treats, stalls packed full of handcrafted items including Waterford’s bespoke designers and plenty of stops to find the perfect festive gifts.

4. Kilkenny

Yulefest Festival of music, food, craft and entertainment takes place in the city’s famous cobbled streets and historic buildings. Take a moment to explore the magical winter garden in Butler House, meander through the markets at Rothe House and enjoy exclusive performances in the Medieval Mile Museum.

5. Cork

Glow Festival is, unsurprisingly, awash with festive lights. The city’s famous English market presents the finest Christmas delicacies, while there’s a host of free music and entertainment events taking place right across the city through the winter season. Take a trip on the giant Ferris wheel for a sky-high view of all the lights.

Other selected wintery gems include high-quality racing at Leopardstown Christmas Festival, the Gingerbread Alley in Armagh, and the White Stag trail at Mount Stewart.

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