Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).
Beginning in mid-November, holiday lights and Christmas trees make Dublin city center a perfect place for a holiday stroll and shopping. Dublin hosts a few vibrant Christmas Markets to enjoy.
The Dún Laoghaire Christmas Market (November 30–December 23, 2020; virtual event)
If you want to move closer to the coast, check out the Dún Laoghaire Christmas Market, in the Dún Laoghaire suburb, about 45 minutes by car from Dublin. The annual Christmas festival lasts here from late November till Christmas Eve, boasting the largest Christmas lights display in Dún Laoghaire, a spectacular Ferris Wheel, and a traditional German-style market. Dozens of vendors offer handmade gifts, crafts: metal art, photography, jewelry, and decorations. Great holiday food from all over the world fills the air with divine aroma: sausages, crepes, goulash, gluhwein, and much more. The market is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In 2020, Dún Laoghaire Christmas Market is going virtual. Local Irish businesses will be selling their goods via the dlr Events Facebook page, so you can do your Christmas shopping online.
Wicklow Christmas Market (December 4–6, 12–13, 18–20, 2020)
Magical and historical Abbey grounds in Wicklow Town, about an hour away from Dublin, host the festive Wicklow Christmas Market. Here you can get into the Christmas spirit with local artisan foods, gifts, decorations, numerous workshops, and even Santa's express to Santa's Wonderland. The program is full of family activities, music, and entertainment. To make everyone warm and cozy, organizers host an Alpaca experience to mingle with all things woolly and soft. Visitors can easily access the location from Dublin city center by public transport (Bus Eireann's 133 or train) or by car, which can be parked next to the Abbey Grounds. Another bit of good news is that it is a non-ticketed event, so everyone is welcome to join the festive celebration and stroll the aisles between traditional stalls. Wicklow Christmas Market has been working hard to make the 2020 edition as safe as possible, without losing the fun spirit. The number of visitors will be limited, there will be fewer Christmas stalls, and Santa Express will offer exclusive family carriages. Alpaca experience, funfair, craft and food stalls, fire show, and Santa's official postbox await you at Wicklow Christmas Market 2020.
Other Christmas markets in Dublin
Dublin Castle Christmas Market has not announced their 2020 plans yet. During the season, Dublin Castle is adorned with holiday lights, and the entrance to the castle is lined with about 100 Christmas trees. A few dozen stalls sell traditional Christmas goods and foods. Carol singing and a vintage carousel add more magic to the market. Mistletown Christmas Market Dublin was planned to run at The City Fruit and Veg Market on December 5–23, 2020. This market is the reimagined version of the Dublin Docklands Christmas Festival. The Mistletown market was planned as the biggest indoor market in Ireland held at the iconic wholesale fruit and veggies market. Some 70+ stalls selling everything from crafts and handmade gifts to festive foods and drinks—a traditional Irish Christmas event. A vintage carnival would entertain the cheerful kids with a wooden wheel, various games, and an old school helter-skelter ride. Well, in 2020, the organizers changed their minds and transformed the market into an online Christmas shopping experience. Terenure Christmas Market has been running in Dublin for about two decades. The market and the Christmas tree usually take over the Car Park on Terenure Road North. Holiday guests like Santa and a giant polar bear will greet the visitors while they enjoy mulled wine, traditional foods, and shopping for crafts at over 40 stalls. The 2020 dates are yet to be announced.