Visiting Ireland at Christmas

Few visitors, other than those with family here, come to Ireland at Christmas, and it is probably not surprising since most tourist attractions will be closed – either because they close anyway in the off season or just for the Christmas holiday.

Bear in mind too that the holiday for such places is likely to last into the New Year, so touring options in the last week of December will be quite limited.

If you do decide to visit, there are fewer accommodation options than would be available at other times. Almost all bed and breakfasts will be closed as will most Guesthouses and many hotels. Not all self-catering accommodation will accept bookings either.

That may make it sound as though there is truly no room at the Inn, but that’s not quite the case! Those hotels that remain open generally have very attractive Christmas packages that include all meals, several drinks receptions for the adults and organised entertainment for children.

Christmas in a Hotel in Ireland

These are just a few suggestions of places that are known for having a particularly good Christmas programme.

Note: The links below all go to the page giving details of the Hotels’ Christmas offerings and so may not be available all year round.

Christmas at Renvyle House in Galway is legendary and you will need to book early – many families return year after year. There are roaring turf fires, candle lit dinners, hot punch receptions and the kids are kept occupied with treasure hunts and other activities. Visits from carol singers and the local wren boy add to the relaxed and informal party atmosphere.

While children are also catered for at Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, Co Kerry, the atmosphere there is a more adult and sophisticated one, with absolute luxury, top quality food and a formal black tie dinner on St Stephen’s Day. Again, early booking is advisable.

The Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin is the place to be if you want a really luxurious Christmas in Ireland’s capital. The hotel is known for its fabuluos Christmas decorations, and the food there is wonderful at any time and especially so during the festive season.

Dromoland Castle in Co Clare is a very romantic place to spend Christmas, in wonderful surroundings and with the traditional decorations looking very much at home in the grand public rooms. They do not advertise their programme – it is so popular that availability is very limited and you will need to enquire well in advance.

Organised Tours of Ireland at Christmas

The only people that we are aware of who offer a Christmas self-drive tour are Lynott Tours, who are a well regarded company and have a number of options available.

However their description of Ireland on their Christmas tours page is flowery to say the least – I have lived here all my life and I cannot say I that I recognise the Christmas they describe!!

I am not aware of any other organised tours, long or short, available during the Christmas/New Year holiday period.

Published: November 26, 2008 | Updated: March 31, 2017 | Image Credits

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