The best places to celebrate Christmas in Ireland
Ballydavid, County Kerry is a sleepy little Irish village nestling on the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean. But each St. Stephen’s Day (December 26) it comes alive to host the Wren Boys in a colorful and very ancient one day celebration in remembrance of a festival that was celebrated by the Druids (the Irish shaman or pagan high priests).
Wren boys, also called mummers, dress up in masks, straw suits and colorful motley clothing and, accompanied by traditional ceili music bands, take to the street in a blaze of color continuing a unique and unbroken folk tradition. The Ballydavid Wren is a memorable day of marching, music and dance, featuring an explosion of color and Irish exuberance that’s cheering and irresistible in the midst of winter’s gloom. http://www.irelandlogue.com/about-ireland/history/the-wren-boys.html
4. Leopardstown and Limerick Christmas Racing Festivals
What better way to blow away the winter blahs than with a flutter on the nags? The Christmas Festivals at Leopardstown and Limerick are up there among the highlights of the Irish sporting and social calendars. Anyone who is anyone among the Dublin social cognoscenti goes to Leapordstown on St Stephen’s Day, those who spend Christmas west of the Shannon or south of the Silvermine Mountains go to Limerick, as much to shake hands and have a hot port with old friends, home for Christmas, the annual get-together, as to have a bet. And the racing isn’t bad either. http://www.goracing.ie/Content/HRI/hritemp3.aspx?id=10938
5. Christmas hill walking
Bundle up and get out to see the majestic Irish landscape in its winter repose. Get away from the High Streets and the commercial madness and take time to get acquainted with your own heartbeat.
With it being Christmas time most hill walking trips have a festive theme including mulled wine and mince pies to help you on your way. For more details and booking click the link below. http://www.walkinginireland.org/
6. Christmas Pantomime
The pantomime is an distinctly Irish and English comic theatre style where a well known fairy tale can turn into the most pointed attacks on the government and society figures of the day. Ostensibly for children, these shows come larded with sentimental songs and vicious political satire that will keep adults chuckling too.
In Dublin the Gaiety and the Olympia theatre’s are the two celebrated venues for this kind of seasonal theatrical fun. If you want to celebrate Christmas the way the Irish themselves do be sure to book your tickets when you arrive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AVO4m3jdIY
7. Funderland at the RDS
From December 26 Funderland at the RDS is the world’s largest travelling amusements show. Go along and you’ll discover that all Dublin stops by although the place itself never feels too crowded.