Best things to do in Dublin in December

11 Magical Things to Do in Dublin in December

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.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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.

Rent A Car: If you are travelling to other parts of Ireland then you should definitely consider renting a car. This car rental company has great reviews and often run promotional offers.

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 OzPeter 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:

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

Temple Bar Dublin 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 FairDun Laoghaire Christmas Festival
When: 5th-9th Dec
Where: RDS Main Hall
What time: Thurs,Fri 10am-10pm
Sat,Sun 10am-7pm
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.

Dublin lights at Christmas

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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Things to do in Dublin in December
Things to do in Dublin in December

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!

a view outside

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  • Emma at 1:20 am

    I’ve needed to go to Ireland for so long. I really just need to make it happen. But December looks like an awesome time to go. I’m a super big Christmas fan so this looks incredible.

    • Ciara at 5:20 pm

      Come visit Emma – i’m sure you’ll love it! Christmas is definitely a nice time to come to Dublin. Thanks for commenting!

  • Melissa at 2:13 am

    What a wonderful guide! I’ve been looking for something like this! I’ve also pinned all this great info!

    • Ciara at 5:19 pm

      Thanks so much, Melissa – I’m so glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting!

  • Josy A at 2:20 am

    Christmas pantomime bus tour!? That sounds hilarious! I had no idea Dublin had anything quite that quirky! 😀

    I find Irish pubs are best in winter anyway – they feel most cozy when the fires are alight.

    • Ciara at 5:19 pm

      Haha I know – it looks and sounds hilarious doesn’t it! Dublin definitely has a quirky side – I agree with you about the pubs, so homely! Thanks for commenting!

  • Anna at 2:43 am

    I’ve been watching the plane ticket prices to visit Dublin next spring. This makes me want to book a visit for next month though!

    • Ciara at 5:18 pm

      Spring is also lovely in Dublin – you’ll have an amazing time! Thanks for commenting!

  • Yukti Agrawal at 4:57 am

    Dublin really looks magical in festive month of December. I would really plan for it in Christmas month to see all traditional activities here.

    • Ciara at 5:17 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment – yeh there really is something quite magical about Dublin in December, the whole city comes alive!

  • Maheen at 4:38 pm

    Dublin during the holidays is on my bucket list! Gorgeous pics

    • Ciara at 5:16 pm

      Thank you so much! I hope you get to visit – bring lots of layers!

  • Nicole Mcintyre at 6:02 pm

    Looks beautiful! I love Christmas around the world.

  • Rachael at 2:12 am

    I’ve only ever been to Dublin on a day trip and fell in love with the city. I can just imagine how magical it must look at Christmas!

  • Taylor at 11:20 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland! This sounds like a great way to spend it, even in the cold! Love all these tips and activities!

    <3 Taylor |

  • Miranda at 4:55 am

    Wow I had no idea Dublin was this beautiful during the holidays! I would love the walking tour of town

    • Ciara at 12:54 am

      I always love walking tours when I visit a new city – you learn so much from a local don’t you?! Thanks for the comment Miranda.

  • Hannah at 5:32 am

    Wow, Dublin looks so magical in December, just like the rest of Europe! It’s just too bad I can’t book a ticket at the drop of a hat coming from the US!

    • Ciara at 12:53 am

      Hopefully someday soon you can visit! Dublin is a nice place to visit year round and a great place to start for the rest of Europe! Thanks for the comment!

  • Dublin looks a gem especially during the holiday season. Would love to go there in December!

    • Ciara at 12:52 am

      You definitely should try to visit – it’s cold but not as cold as other parts of Europe and the atmosphere is amazing! Dublin definitely comes alive in December!

  • Pia at 1:28 pm

    I love Dublin and Ireland and visited a couple of times already! But never during Christmas time! I would love to see it with all the lights, and decorations and would love to explore the Christmas Markets and fairs!

  • Alexandra Booze at 6:54 pm

    I’ve never been to Dublin but it’s definetly on my list. I bet it’s magical at Christmas time by your blog post!

  • Taylor Deer at 3:59 am

    I didn’t realize how magical Dublin is during the winter. Now I want to go back. I absolutely loved it there the first time I went. 🙂

  • Aswani Kurra at 10:11 pm

    What a great list! Loved all the photos. Pinned it for future use! 🙂

  • Nina Out and About at 12:16 pm

    Dublin looks wonderful in December. I had no idea there even was a zoo in the city!

  • Leave a Reply

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    Welcome to my blog! I'm Ciara, a native of Dublin Ireland. I'm an introverted wanderer who loves to explore this gorgeous planet of ours. I try to live by the motto 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' which has led to some ridiculous mishaps along the way. Join me as I try to complete my never-ending bucket list. Read More


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