Five Cork Christmas Attractions
Cork considers itself the real capital of Ireland and the official second city is fighting hard to be the leading Christmas location on the island. The Glow celebrations in Bishop Lucey Park are now the main rival to Waterford’s Winterval but there are plenty of other festive activities to choose from if you’re in Cork for the Christmas season.
To make the most of a Cork Christmas trip, first read our list of Five Cork Christmas Attractions carefully to focus on what you’re going to do, then book a cheap and cheerful hotel like Travelodge Cork before setting off for the bright Christmas lights of the Rebel City. You can’t miss!
1: The Santa Experience in Cork City
If you’re going to sit on Santa’s knee this Christmas, where better to do it than in Cork’s Santa Experience in Dunnes Stores on Patrick Street in the city center? An award-winning festive activity, the Santa Experience provides a magical journey to meet the large man with a shiny nose and a red suit. Travel through four fun-filled rooms of festivities and meet Santa’s little helpers, reindeer, polar beers and cadge a rude on Santa’s Sleigh and all before you meet Saint Nicholas himself. For stressed parents, it’s a Christmas present in itself to be able to book a dedicated time in advance so you won’t have snappy children captured for posterity in their photo with Santa. The Santa Experience runs on Patrick Street in Cork from 25 November to 23 December.
2: Handel’s Messiah at Triskel Christchurch
Does any piece of music say Christmas more than Handel’s Messiah? Super charge your Christmas spirit with this annual favorite in Cork’s Christmas calendar by snagging a ticket for the performance of the German composer’s glorious masterpiece on 8 December. The Irish Baroque Orchestra will play the Messiah led by Monica Huggett and accompanied by the Resurgam choir and some outstanding soloists like Katherine Crompton and Raphaela Mangan, all in the hugely atmospheric Triskel Christchurch in Cork.
3: Christmas at Cork’s English market
Acclaimed as the ‘best covered market in the UK and Ireland’, at any time of the year the English Market is a magical place to experience Cork’s impressive food culture. But at Christmastime the magic lays even thicker on the indoor market. Draped in fairy lights and Christmas decorations, the English Market will boast enough seasonal goodies like Cork delicacy spiced beef to tempt the most exacting foodie as they browse through the varied food stalls. For the kids, there will be a Santa on site for the final days of Christmas Week and the market is open right up until Christmas Eve to cater for any last minute food panics.
4: A Glowing Cork Christmas Celebration
From the end of November until 23 December, Bishop Lucey Park in Cork’s city center will Glow with festival celebrations. The official city Christmas festival will as usual this year include Ireland’s largest Ferris wheel where you can look down on Cork City from 30 meters above the skyline. Santa’s Workshop will once again be the main family attraction watching Santa’s little helpers hard at work building toys and wrapping presents. Or if you’re desperate to buy some Christmas gifts, look no further than the Christmas market on Grand Parade on the edge of the park for the best local craft stalls and delicious street food. There will be Christmas lights everywhere so you won’t lose your way to the heart of a Cork Christmas at Glow.
5: A Christmas Stroll through Bishop Lucey Park
Aside from the frenetically festive atmosphere of Glow, a gentle stroll through Bishop Lucey Park in central Cork can be magical in its own right. Put your worries about the perfect Christmas present aside and stroll through the sylvan surroundings of one of Cork’s favorite parks or sit on a park bench and watch the Xmas world go by.