No need to feel pressure this festive season; there are plenty of affordable things to do
Although it’s the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas can also be a stressful one, financially. If you’re looking for ways to have some festive fun with your family without feeling the pinch, we’ve rounded up some affordable activities to enjoy over the coming weeks.
Dubbed ‘Ireland’s Christmas Capital’, this festival has been turning Waterford into a winter wonderland for ten years. Running until December 23, there are plenty of gorgeous things to do, for all ages, with many activities free of charge. Free events include lights display ‘Glow’, Santa’s Talking Postbox and performances at the Winterval Main Stage, while a number of paid events won’t set you back much; a trip around the city on the mini express train costs €5 while Santa’s virtual sleigh ride costs €7. Other events include ice skating, Santa Paws, Gerbola’s Christmas Circus and much more – click here for more.
Galway Christmas Market
The Galway Continental Christmas market is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors while it’s up and running, until December 22. Open daily (12 noon to 8pm on Monday-Wednesday, 10am-10pm Thursday-Saturday and 10am-8pm on Sundays), there are over 50 wooden chalets set up on Eyre Square, with something of interest for everyone. From the big wheel, carousel and Santa’s grotto for the kids, live performances and foodie heaven for the teens and a German beer tent and mulled wine stalls for the adults, it’s a guaranteed good time. Visit here for more details!
This magical Christmas festival in Kilkenny will be running from November 25 to December 24, with a programme of events to suit everyone. From its Christmas market to Elf Village, there’s something to do for all budgets. Live performances by local musicians at the Yulefest Bandstand are free, as is the Festival of Light celebrations for the launch this Friday. Other events are very reasonably priced, like the Rogu Fire Show, costing €4 per ticket, or the Santa Run on December 11 (from €6). To read more about the festival, click here.
Winter in Dublin Express
Feel as though you’re in the movie The Polar Express with the Winter in Dublin Express; on six select services, a carriage has been transformed into a joyful winter wonderland, where passengers can enjoy some Christmas treats and live festive tunes during their journey towards the capital. Led by Fáilte Ireland in association with the Dublin tourism industry, with routes from Cork, Waterford and Galway, the lucky passengers will be selected from a series of competitions. Check out VisitDublin.com or follow Visit Dublin on Instagram to keep up to date on how to enter!
Barretstown Winter Wonderland
Prices for Santa visits seem to have skyrocketed; but Barretstown’s festive weekend (running this coming Saturday and Sunday) is much kinder on the purse strings, while also helping kids in need. The Irish charity for children living with serious illness is transforming its base in Kildare into a winter wonderland, with market stalls, family games, festive storytelling, decoration workshops and of course, a visit to Mr. Clause in magical grotto. Parts of the day are free, and family tickets (two adults and two children) for a visit and photo with Santa cost €50. It’s set to be a gorgeous day out with the little ones; click here to book.