Is December a good time to visit Dublin you may be wondering – it’s cold and dark by 5pm but the answer is yes you absolutely should! And here’s why…
During the month of December, there are so many magical things to do in Dublin from Christmas shows, markets, outdoor events and also some uniquely ‘Irish’ activities too. This is what makes December the perfect time to visit Dublin and it is sure to get you into the festive spirit too.
Keep reading to find out about all of the best things to do in Dublin in December from a locals perspective including where to shop, stay and incredible things to do in Dublin at Christmas.
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How To Get To Dublin City Centre From The Airport
The great thing about Dublin airport is that it is not that far away from the city centre. In fact, it’s only around 10km or a 30-minute drive away. Here are the best ways of getting into the city from the airport.
By Bus: If you are staying in or around the city centre then you can’t go wrong by taking The Airlink Express. The bus stop is just across from the arrivals exit and it will bring you directly into Dublin city with various stops along the way. Buses start running at 5:45 am and stop at 12:30 am most days. I highly recommend booking your ticket in advance here.
By Taxi: You can’t miss the taxi rank outside the arrivals hall in Dublin airport. There’s usually enough taxi’s to keep up with demand but with the December rush, you might have to wait a little longer than usual. Taxi’s in Dublin are notoriously expensive and run on a metered system so please keep that in mind. Another option is to get a private transfer which works out quite reasonable if you’re in a small group.
Wondering where to stay? Check out these Dublin Accommodation Options for December
Experience the Wild Lights At Dublin Zoo
During the month of December, Dublin Zoo hosts its annual ‘Wild Lights’ event. The theme changes every year and this year it is ‘Stories, Myths and Legends‘
Wild Lights is held at night, where stories such as Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and The Jungle Book are all brought to life by illuminating, giant colourful silk lanterns!
There are also plenty of food and drink stalls, Irish storytellers and Chinese performers making this a top activity to do in Dublin in December.
Get Tickets Here: Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo
Listen to The Guinness Choir In St. Patrick’s Cathedral
If you are going to be in Dublin on the 8th of December, then you have to get tickets to this Christmas concert. The Guinness Choir perform every year in the historical, illuminating St. Patrick’s Cathedral and if anything is going to get you into the Christmas spirit, then this is it.
The music is spellbinding, joyful and simply magical. Tickets for this event in Dublin sell out quickly so book as soon as you can. Purchase your ticket here:
If you miss out on a ticket, there are other amazing Christmas concerts held in Dublin in December too:
- Christ Church Cathedral: ‘Carol’s By Candlelight’ (now sold out for 2019)
- St. Bartholomew’s Church: A Ceremony of Carols on December 10th at 8pm.
- National Concert Hall: ‘Carol’s By Candlelight’ on December 20th at 3pm and 8pm.
Enjoy A Christmas Walking Tour With A Local
This is a great option for anyone who would love to experience all that Dublin in December has to offer – a Christmas tour of Dublin with a local. You can completely customise the tour if there are certain parts of the city that you wish to see or you can be led by a local guide.
Stroll through the beautiful cobbled streets while they’re draped with magical Christmas lights, see the famous moving crib, listen to busking musicians, grab a beer in a cosy pub and learn all about Christmas traditions in Dublin. This tour is sure to put you into the Christmas spirit!
Get Tickets Here: Explore Dublin with a Local at Christmas
Go On A Christmas Pantomime Bus Tour
Now, this is definitely a unique activity to do in Dublin in December – an interactive, theatrical Christmas ride? Count me in!
This ‘Santa bus’ travels from Dublin city centre to the Phoenix Park and during the tour, two of Santa’s elves need your help as they are on a mission to save Christmas.
Get Tickets Here: The ‘Bus’ That Stole Christmas Pantomime Tour
Explore Some of Dublin’s Christmas Markets
You are not going to find Christmas markets in Dublin anywhere close to the scale of the markets in countries like Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. But – there are a couple of markets and Christmas fairs that are worth checking out for hand-made gifts, tasty food from all over Europe and a nice festive atmosphere.
If this is something that you would like to experience during your time in Dublin in December then I highly recommend checking out:
|RDS Craft and Design Fair||Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival|
|When: 5th-9th Dec|
Where: RDS Main Hall
What time: Thurs,Fri 10am-10pm
|When: 18th Nov-23rd Dec|
Where: The Metals, Dun Laoghaire
What time: Fri-Sun 12.30pm
|The Inreda Christmas Fair||Christmas Market At Smithfield|
|When: 24th Nov-15th Dec|
Where: Clontarf Castle
What time: Sun 10am – 6pm
|When: 24th Nov|
Where: Smithfield Square, Dublin
What time: From 4pm-9pm
*The most popular Christmas market in Dublin – The Dublin Flea Market is unfortunately not able to go ahead this year. Fingers crossed it’s back next year!
Enjoy Bottomless Popcorn and Christmas Movies
Do you like singing and Christmas movies? If the answer is yes, then I have the perfect event in Dublin for you – The Singing Cinema Christmas Special!
This event is held in D2 on the 22nd of December – imagine enjoying your favourite festive film, 5 free drinks (aka cocktails!) and a bottomless amount of popcorn. I haven’t been yet but I have heard it is a lot of fun.
This year you can choose from Home Alone 2, Elf, The Greatest Showman and Love Actually. There are four screenings – 12:00, 14:30, 17:00 and 19:30.
Get Tickets Here: The Singing Cinema Christmas Special
Christmas Shop ‘Til You Drop
While you’re in Dublin in December, you may as well finish off the last of the Christmas shopping right?! There are two main shopping area’s in the city – Henry’s Street and Grafton Street.
They are both within walking distance of each other and the only thing that divides them is the River Liffey – which is a nice spot to take some photo’s if it’s not too busy. All of the shops in Dublin in December are lit up, Christmas music is on blast and overall there’s a nice wintery, cosy atmosphere – once the stress of Christmas shopping is out of the way of course!
There are, of course, all of the usual big-name brands in Dublin but be sure to check out independent Irish retailers such as The Kilkenny Shop, Irish Design Shop and Scout for gorgeous, bespoke designs.
Watch Love Actually With A Live Orchestra
You have probably seen this movie hundreds of times by now but have you watched it accompanied by a live orchestra? Me neither! Now you can if you’re in Dublin on December 4th.
The film will be projected onto a huge screen and a full orchestra will perform Craig Armstrong’s amazing score. This is a sure way to get into the festive spirit and a great activity to do in Dublin in December!
Get Tickets Here: Watch Love Actually in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Have Fun Practicing your Ice-Skating Skills
Ice-skating is something that only really pops up as an event in Dublin around December each year. It is an incredibly popular activity for kids and adults alike.
Don’t worry if you’re not a pro – most (if not all) people there won’t be. It’s just a bit of Christmas craic as us Irish like to say – I love going every year despite not being able to stay upright for very long! The following places set up ice-rinks during November/December and usually run until January:
- Blanchardstown on Ice
- iSkate at the RDS
- Liffey Valley on Ice
- Swords on Ice
- Dundrum on Ice
Visit The Famous Guinness Storehouse
Of course, it’s possible to visit The Guinness Storehouse all year round, but there is something magical about it in December.
It usually takes two hours to wander around this 7-storey building where you will find out the history behind the world-famous stout. This self-guided tour is interactive, fun and ends at the Gravity Bar where you can try a pint of the ‘black stuff’.
The Gravity Bar is worth the entrance fee alone where you will be spoiled with a spectacular panoramic view of Dublin. I highly recommend reaching the top when darkness falls so you can see Dublin lit up for Christmas.
Get Tickets Here: The Guinness Storehouse – Skip The Line Tickets
Go See The Musical Hit ‘Elf – A Christmas Spectacular’
The Christmas-movie-turned-musical-hit ‘Elf – A Christmas Spectacular‘ is returning to Dublin from the 27th – 29th of December. I went to see the show when it was last in Dublin’s Bord Gáis Theatre and it was a lot of fun with a few unexpected surprises. And don’t worry, it’s definitely not just for kids either!
This time, Elf – A Christmas Spectacular is on in the Three Arena and I’m sure tickets will sell out fast. Get your ticket here if you’d love to see Elf transformed into a musical.
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Over To You….
Have you been to Dublin in December? What did you think of it? Do you have any other recommendations of things to do in Dublin at Christmas? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!