Get your Christmas on track and take the train
Take the family on a day out by rail this festive season
Ireland develops a special sparkle around Christmas time.The evenings become dark early and the air becomes frosty. Christmas lights twinkle, families reunite and shoppers fill the streets rushing around trying to get their final presents. This Christmas period around the country, there's a wealth of family entertainment, events and activities on offer. The range is dazzling, from ice skating rinks to Santa's grottos and pantomimes, you certainly won’t struggle to have fun this Christmas.
With Christmas fast approaching it's time to start making plans for the holiday season. Will it be the Panto in town or ice skating this year or do you fancy visiting a Christmas market? With so much choice it can be hard to know what to do. One thing we can be sure of is that the Christmas season is nothing short of magical so why not create those invaluable family memories that will be cherished forever. For some suggestions on what to do see our list below, all of these events can be reached by train.
Ho!, Ho!, Ho!
|Family Returns Fares to/from Dublin (only available from the booking office)|
|Click on your destination to view things to do.|
|Dublin - DART*||€20.00|
|Day Return Special Offer|
|Oranmore - Galway||€6.00 per Adult, €4.00 Child|
|Mallow - Cork||€24.50|
|iSkate at The RDS||23rd November - 13th January||Sandymount|
|Dun Laoghaire||25th November - 8th January||Dún Laoghaire|
Leopardstown Christmas Festival
A not-to-be-missed traditional highlight of the Irish horse racing calendar, the annual Leopardstown Christmas Festival offers National Hunt racing at its best over 4 spectacular days, Wednesday 26th – Saturday 29th December.
Leopardstown Racecourse will be operating a complimentary return shuttle bus from Blackrock Station for those wishing to attend the festival by rail from Thursday 27th December to Saturday 29th December. The shuttle bus will operate at the following times: 10.45hrs, 11:30hrs and 12:00hrs and returning from Leopardstown to Blackrock Station at 16:00hrs, 16:45hrs and 17:30hrs.
For more information please visit www.leopardstown.com as demand for the shuttle buses will be high and priority will go to those who have purchased their tickets in advance.
Closing date Friday 14th December at 12 noon.
RDS Winter Funderland, 26th December - 13th January
Funderland at the RDS has been part of Christmas in Dublin for over 40 years. It has been said that Funderland is an annual appointment for thousands of families.
This year Funderland presents an array of exciting new attractions direct from Germany including Power Wave, Break Dance and the amazing Star Flyer called "Around the World". There are attractions to suit all ages and tastes. All the old favourites will be there too along with the Funderland Loop, Ireland's only looping roller coaster all in one location at the RDS from 26th December until 13th January.
Sandymount DART Station is the nearest station to the RDS, (only a short 5 minute walk) the DART really is the perfect way to get there, plus you won't have to worry about traffic or parking, so you can arrive relaxed and ready to enjoy your day out.
To celebrate this partnership, we have a wonderful competition;
- Win tickets to the event plus an overnights stay in Hotel Accommodation in Ballsbridge.
- We also have five pairs of Family Passes (2 x Adults plus 2 x Children) to Funderland.
Closing Date for Competition is 12:00hrs Monday 17th December.
Gifted Fair - RDS Simmonscourt, 5th to 9th December
For over 30 years the National Craft and Design Fair has welcomed visitors. The event will feature hundreds of makers, designers and artisan food producers alongside thousands of unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else. Visit Ireland's premier celecration of craft and design at the RDS Simmonscourt.
Elves in Training - Croke Park, 24th November - 23rd December
Santa has transformed GAA HQ into his secret elf camp, where only the fittest, strongest and healthiest of all elves are trained. At the Santa Experience at Croke Park, your family will wander through a behind-the-scenes candy cane trail, catching glimpses along the way of how the Elves get fit and ready for the season ahead and their big day, which isn’t the All-Ireland for once!
Take the train and make sure you don’t miss out on the celebrations!
|Beauty and the Beast 30th November - 6th January||Waterfront||Lanyon Place, Belfast|
|The Elves and the Shoemaker 27th November - 6th January||The Mac||Lanyon Place, Belfast|
Belfast Christmas Market, 17th November - 22nd December
The ever popular Belfast Christmas Market is back injecting its traditional blaze of colour and festive cheer. This year it will be offering a range of unique gifts, gourmet food and drink to cater for the savviest of shoppers!
Enjoy the fantastic range of food, beverages, crafts and decorations on offer from across Europe and beyond. Browse a selection of handbags, satchels, socks, hats and gloves, wooden toys, essential oils, crystals, hand-painted pottery, Christmas decorations and much more!
Go retro and get a special photo taken with your family or friends in a snowy, festive scene and visit Santa in his grotto. Don’t forget to pay Santa’s post-box a visit and send off your Christmas wish lists to the North Pole. Each child who posts their letter before 17th December will receive an individual response from Santa himself.
Cork City Shopping
Cork City have there very own Shop ‘N’ Drop Christmas Shopping Valet Service available from Saturday 8th December until Sunday December 23rd, open from 11-7pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday service will open from 12 – 5pm. Located at 1/ 2 Cook Street (previously Specsavers), just off Patrick Street and opposite Opera Lane. The service will be donation driven, with all shopper donations going directly to fund the ongoing work and mission of medical research charity Breakthrough Cancer Research.
The Cook Street location will offer a friendly and secure service to shoppers, giving shoppers the opportunity to enjoy all the City has to offer during the festive season at their ease, and bag free. The service which will ask for a small donation from shoppers is the first of its kind in Cork City.
|Cinderella 1st December - 13th January||Everyman||Kent Station, Cork|
Cork On Ice - Now open – 27 Jan ‘18
Cork on Ice is one of Ireland’s longest-running winter events and has become a tradition for many in the Cork and the greater Munster area each winter. Their stunning 800sqm ice rink is located under the impressive roof of a 2425sqm marquee on the grounds of Mahon Point Shopping Centre from November to January each season, with free onsite parking and a frequent bus service.The venue has a large and small rink so seasoned skaters have plenty of space to show off their best moves. while beginners and little ones can find their ice legs in a smaller space with the help of fun penguin aids.
Cork On Ice is brimming with festive atmosphere and fun! With a variety of different events running every week throughout the season, there really is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a family day out, a school skate, a skate-date-night, fancy dress events, or skating with Santa! There’s also the Cork Wolfpack junior ice hockey, figure skating with the Cork Figure Skating Association and lots of midweek offers!
Glow Cork Christmas Celebration, each weekend from 30th November - 22nd December
Cork is a fantastic compact city full of exciting things to entertain the whole family. You can delight in the twinkling lights of the city from a 30 metre Ferris Wheel, enjoy a vintage carousel ride along with shopping and entertainment galore in the ‘real capital’ of Ireland.
This will be a fantastic experience for all with musical performances as well as the city’s two pantomimes, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. So make sure you visit Cork this Christmas to truly feel the Glow of Christmas spirit!
Take the train and ensure you don’t miss out on the fun!
|Sleeping Beauty 29th December - 13th January 2019||Town Hall Theatre, Galway||Ceannt Station, Galway|
Galway Skates, 18th November - 6th January
Visitors can expect to see Leisureland in Salthill transformed into one of Ireland’s premier Christmas attractions with one 500m squared ice rink and a festive market to enjoy. This seasonal event will provide fun for all the family.
Situated along the promenade overlooking Galway Bay the ice rink is located in the main hall at Leisureland.
Galway Christmas Market, 21st November - 21st December
Ireland’s longest running Christmas Market, the Galway Continental Christmas Market will return to its home in Eyre Square this year. Now running for its fifth consecutive year, the market will launch the festive season in Ireland by being the earliest Christmas market to open in the country!
The market will be a hive of activity with lots of entertainment promised. There will be over fifty traders from all over Ireland and Europe selling a host of crafts, festive food, treats and Christmas gift ideas, ideal for all this festive season.
Eyre square is directly across from Ceannt Station in Galway, so the train is the perfect way to travel.
|Snow White 17th December - 6th January||University Concert Hall||Colbert Station, Limerick|
Christmas at the Milk Market, 14th December - 24th December
There’s something for everyone here with local and seasonal food, charity Santa Claus, a Youth Christmas Market, handmade and Christmas crafts, Christmas décor, local fashion, Santa letter service, Christmas craft fair, choirs and local musicians.
Mullingar On Ice - 23 Nov ’18 – 6 Jan ‘19
This is the first year for Mullingar on Ice! Located in Mullingar Town Park, it will be an unmissable event for the Christmas period as part of Winterfest Mullingar, in conjunction with Mullingar Chamber. The venue has a large and small rink so seasoned skaters have plenty of space to show off their best moves, while beginners and little ones can find their ice legs in a smaller space with the help of fun penguin aids. Mullingar on Ice will host fundraisers for local sports and community groups along with work nights out in the run-up to Christmas.
|Cinderella 6th December - 30th December||Theatre Royal||Plunkett Station, Waterford|
Waterford Winterval, 17th November - 23rd December
Christmas markets throughout Europe and brings the collective sights, sounds and festive charms to the South-East along with lots of fun for all of the family! Over 25 festive events take place daily including 17 free family events.
Some of the events scheduled are; Waterford on Ice, Horse-drawn Sleigh, The Christmas Markets, Toy Museum, Christmas Carousel, Helter Skelter, Winterval Express Train and The Singing Christmas Tree.
Click here for further information on additional services.
Winterval On Ice - 23 Nov ’18 – 6 Jan ‘19
Winterval on Ice will take place again this year at Waterside Carpark, as part of the fantastic Winterval Festival, from late November until early January, providing a fun and healthy activity for all ages throughout the winter months. The venue has a large and small rink so seasoned skaters have plenty of space to show off their best moves, while beginners and little ones can find their ice legs in a smaller space with the help of fun penguin aids.
With a variety of different events running every week throughout the season, there really is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a family day out, a school skate, a skate-date-night, fancy dress, or skating with Santa! There's also lots of midweek offers!
Winter Wonderland at Westport House each weekend from 24th November - 23th December
Visit Westport House’s Winter Wonderland where you will be met by Santa, Mrs Claus and their Elves! You will experience a blizzard of Christmas spirit as you step into the stunning 18th century Westport House, which will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland.
The Westport Road Train will be running this year with festive jaunts throughout the estate as you sing along with Christmas cheer! Make sure you visit the Elves Workshop where you can now make your own yuletide log for the Christmas dinner table or to give as a gift to someone special. The resident snowman will also be on hand to paint faces with Christmas cheer and you can also join in the Little Drummer Boy workshop. Be sure all the kids make time to decorate their own Ginger Bread Man – and maybe enjoy tasting it too!
Travel with us this Christmas period and ensure you don't miss out on the celebrations.