With the magic of Christmas just around the corner, your kids are already crafting their Santa lists and asking when they will get to visit him and his elves. There’s a happy solution for this, Christmas markets! They generally pop up in every town and city throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland in December. At these markets, you can usually find a jolly mix of Santa Claus and unique gift offerings reflecting the local area and tasty food.
The first step to planning your Christmas trip is finding a suitable hotel, and as this is a family outing you’ll need a family-friendly hotel that is close to the Christmas markets.
To help parents choose which city to visit, we’ve compiled a list of our top six Christmas markets in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In order to make your decision easier during the most stressful time of the year, we have ranked each market according to its family fun activities.
1. Christmas At the Castle, Dublin
Located in the heart of the city, Dublin Castle hosts a magical Christmas event for all the family to enjoy, from a vintage carousel for kids to a diverse selection of craft vendors selling artisan gifts for mums. To find these craft vendors, you must get past the hundreds of Christmas trees at the entrance.
There is also a wide range of food offerings, anything from burgers straight off the grill to freshly made churros covered in chocolate. All of this of course topped by the sound of carol singing throughout the castle grounds.
If you need a hotel in the heart of Dublin city centre for you and the family, look no further than Maldron Hotel Kevin Street. Located less than 1km away from Christmas at the Castle, it is the perfect place to rest after the kids have had their filling of hot chocolate. It also gives you the perfect opportunity to soak up the Christmas lights that light up the city during the winter months.
2. The Galway Continental Christmas Market on Eyre Square, Galway
The Galway Christmas market is one of the most famous in Europe for a reason. In addition to carol singing, it has a 32-metre Ferris wheel, a classic carousel and a Santa Express Train. You and your family will be surrounded by a lovely aroma of pine and spices as you tour the fifty tiny wooden cabins, each of which features one-of-a-kind, regionally produced goods (perfect Christmas stocking filler). The centrepiece is their magnificent Christmas tree which towers over a stage for carollers. And of course, the children can visit Santa Claus during this winter wonderland in Santa’s Grotto.
Maldron Hotel Sandy Road Galway is found only a 15-minute drive away from the Eyre Square Christmas Markets. This hotel in Galway offers free underground parking, so load up the car and drop your bags off before hitting the markets. It’s also the perfect excuse for mums to fill up the car with presents!
3. Walled City Markets at Christmas, Derry
There is no doubt that the Walled City Markets is a market you should add to your Christmas list. Under Ireland’s tallest Christmas tree, the Guildhall Square markets feature forty stalls selling handmade goods, delectable regional artisan food and savoury snacks. In addition to live music, there will be family-friendly animation and performances by neighbourhood bands and choirs. During their brief visit, Santa and his elves prepare a number of merry and enjoyable activities for the whole family.
If you are looking for a hotel in Derry city, Maldron Hotel Derry is a 5-minute walk to the Christmas markets. After you have run around the markets, rest peacefully in your nearby hotel room.
4. Milk Market, Limerick
Limerick’s famous market which is on every weekend throughout the year adapts to the festive times and holds a series of festive markets on selected dates in December. There is a Christmas outdoor café, famous foods Christmas edition and a festive art fair.
Spread out around the market, under a cloak of magical fairy lights, you will find artisan products like ceramics, wooden crafts and jewellery all produced by Irish artists.
If you want to spend a night away with the family and need a hotel in Limerick city, our hotel is just a 10-minute drive from the Milk Markets. Maldron Hotel Limerick offers family-friendly rooms in the vibrant city centre.
5. Belfast Continental Christmas Market, Antrim
The Belfast Christmas markets unfold in Donegall Square on the grounds of Belfast City Hall. There are tons of things to keep the kids occupied like a vintage helter-skelter, an observation wheel, a snow slide and a Santa train. There is also a food court home to cuisines from over thirty-two nationalities.
If you’re looking for a hotel in Belfast city centre for the family, Maldron Hotel Belfast City is located in the heart of the city within walking distance from shops, restaurants and historic landmarks.