Cribs, Carols And Magical Cabins – Ireland’s Getting Christmas-Ready!

The fairy-lights are out of their boxes. Christmas ornaments are waiting impatiently to toss aside their tissue wrappings, and the Christmas tree is also eyeing you longingly as you run an errand in the garage. The countdown to Christmas has certainly begun. The streets are lit up, and window displays have their game on as well. If you are looking to book a Santa experience, get a feel of the light displays or even inspiration on where to meet Mr Claus himself – we have a list ready.

The Santa Experience – different locations across Ireland

There are six locations across Ireland (two of these are in Dublin) and the others are in Cork, Ennis, Limerick and Portlaoise. The Santa Experience involves meeting an elf guide who will take the family directly to Santa’s house for a private visit.

As always, Santa will know something special about each child and give them an age-appropriate gift. A professional photographer will also be there to capture beautiful photos of the experience. There’s even an option to receive an official invitation from Santa by post from Santa Claus himself. Sound quite magical, doesn’t it? Especially if you’re a kid!

What would the invite look like? Here’s a little peek.

A tailored letter with envelope like border - this is a Santa invite sent out to children who book the Santa Experience for Christmas
Photograph courtesy: Santa Experience official Instagram account

The Polar Express at West Cork Model Railway Village

Have you been to Ireland’s only model village in Clonakilty? It’s a fully scaled handmade model of the historic West Cork Railway Line with working miniature trains and the towns that the railway served during the 1940s. Handcrafted model buildings and figurines tell the story of how people lived and worked in days gone by.

If not, it would be a good time to visit it during and the run-up to the festive season. Especially so for the Polar Express experience which promises to be a good day out for everyone in the family. What’s on offer? Children will get an opportunity to get “aboard the Choo Choo Road Train where families will have to help out as the train is powered by Christmas songs.” Children will enjoy a craft activity, see the action in the workshop, meet Dasher the talking reindeer, visit Santa in an authentic railway carriage and lots of other surprises along the way!

Twinkling lights and seasonal magic will fill the air as families will get to explore the Villages of Light and see miniature West Cork in a new light. For more details, a link right here.

Santa Claus is at the centre of the photograph and he is surrounded by elves and on the side is a Christmas tree with bright ornaments
The Polar Express Experience at the West Cork Model Railway Village promises to be a perfect day out for the entire family.

A magical sleigh ride at Killarney

How about a sleigh ride through the twinkling lights of Killarney Town or a ramble through the winter wonderland of the Killarney National Park? You can book a sleigh ride through the festive sights and sounds of Killarney Town on board your very own horse-drawn Christmas Carriage. We think it would be picture perfect but have a look below and let us know what you think.

A horse drawn carriage with Christmas lights and decorations in Killarney. At the backdrop is a church/cathedral. These sleighs can be booked for the Christmas experience.
How about a magical sleigh ride in Killarney?

Supper with Santa, Adare

There’s also an option to head to the Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel for a Santa experience that involves staying the night. So what would this experience include? There’s an overnight stay with breakfast, a two course meal with a Christmas themed dessert, treat bag for the children, family photo opportunity with Santa and his elves…

Check out what dates are available, and more details here.

Get singing at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

You can head to Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin if you enjoy a night of Christmas carols sung by the renowned choir of the Cathedral. These memorable one-hour performances will take place on Wednesday 7 & Thursday 8 December at 6pm & 8.30pm.

What’s on offer? The choir will be singing a wide variety of classic carols to really get you into the Christmas spirit. The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral enjoys an enviable reputation as one of Ireland’s finest choirs. Tracing its origins to 1493 with the founding of the choir school, the cathedral choir has always been highly regarded in Dublin’s musical life and took part in the very first performance of Handel’s Messiah in 1742. With the largest repertoire of any cathedral choir in the country, the choir sings three services a week and is often in demand for television and radio broadcasts in both the UK & Ireland.

All the deets here.

Interiors of a church lit up with candles and festive decorations and people are singing Christmas carols
How about a night of beautiful, heart-warming Christmas carols to get you in the festive mood?

The Christmas Experience, Airfield Estate, Dublin

You can also book a visit to The Christmas Experience 2022 at Airfield Estate, Dundrum. You can go with friends and family (a group of up to 10 on selected dates from November 19th to December 23rd 2022) and enjoy a variety of experiences. These include a visit to Ledgewood Cottage library & Santa’s express post-box, a take-home trail map, Jersey milk plum pudding ice-cream taster among others.

There are also special dates and events that are tailored for those who are hearing impaired. Airfield Estate will host a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Christmas Experience on Saturday 10th December. An ASD friendly Christmas experience will take also place on Sunday 11th December with sensory-friendly options.

For more information, here’s a handy link.

Two girls in matching outfits, as a part of the Airfield Christmas experience are holding treats - one has a three tiered cake stand with treats and cookies, and another has a jug of milk (for Santa Claus)
Image Courtesy – Airfield Estate website

While we have listed down some of the Christmas experiences on offer, there is plenty happening all over Ireland. From the return of Galway’s Christmas market to sparkling, full-of-magic market in Waterford, Belfast and more. Has this got you counting the days until Christmas in excitement?

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