While most people – myself included – think first of Germany or Austria when it comes to Christmas markets, they are to be found in a slightly crazy number of places across the globe these days. Whether or not that’s a good thing is a moot point – but the best Christmas Markets in Dublin that I am including in my annual round-up are all worth visiting and will get you in the Christmas mood. I have covered both more traditional markets but also some modern twists on the concept which I think are good, too.
Dublin has its Christmas markets too, and these have become an increasingly popular way to celebrate the festive season over the last decade. Once virtually non-existent, the city now hosts a variety of Yuletide markets across December that attract both locals and visitors alike.
Offering a magical dose of festive cheer, the best Christmas in Dublin sell quality Irish artisan goods and delicious international food and drink, often in traditional alpine-style chalet stalls. Just go with it, even if that seems a bit odd. They also provide free family-friendly entertainment to capture the Christmas spirit and more.
While not yet on the grand scale of the famous German Christmas markets, Dublin’s best festive fairs enchant with twinkling lights, fragrant pine trees, sweet treats, mulled wines, and warm hospitality.
By the way, if you are wondering how Christmas is celebrated around the world, I have you covered too.
Here is your guide to the can’t-miss Christmas markets to check out in Dublin this 2023 holiday season for some holly jolly fun with a distinctly Irish twist. Sorry, that was a bit crap, I know.
The Details: My Pick of the Best Christmas Markets in Dublin in 2023
|Name of Market
|Christmas at the Castle
|December 6th-19th, 2023
|Swords Castle Christmas Market
December 2nd-3rd, 2023
|National Botanic Gardens Christmas Market
|December 9th-10th, 2023
|Farmleigh House Christmas Market
December 16th-17th, 2023
|Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival
|December 9th-10th, 2023
|Mistletoe Food Market
Dublin’s Top Christmas Markets
1. Christmas at the Castle
Dates: December 6th-19th, 2023
Without doubt the most iconic and popular Christmas market in the city, Christmas at the Castle takes place in the historic and elegant surrounds of Dublin Castle.
Located in the very heart of the city center, the cinematic setting couples with over 100 sparkling Christmas trees lining the entrance to create an enchanting winter wonderland atmosphere.
Inside the castle courtyard, you’ll discover over 30 festive market stalls selling quality Irish gifts, decorations, jewelry, art, clothing and specialist food.
Visitors can browse the exquisite stalls while enjoying live entertainment on stage and fun fairground rides like the vintage carousel. Don’t miss the chance to explore the castle’s decorated State Apartments and see the giant animated Christmas crib too.
With a superb central location, abundance of Christmassy cheer and relaxed ambiance, Christmas at the Castle ticks all the boxes for an atmospheric festive day out.
2. Swords Castle Christmas Market
Dates: November 24th-26th & December 2nd-3rd, 2023
Located in the charming village of Swords just north of Dublin, this enchanting Christmas market hosted within a medieval castle exudes traditional Yuletide coziness.
Set against the fairy tale backdrop of the 800-year-old Swords Castle, over 50 local businesses sell quality Irish gifts, decorative crafts, artisan foods and more at affordable prices in the old stone courtyard.
With Santa’s grotto, kids craft classes, face painting, Christmas movies and complementary vintage fun fair, it’s a top family-focused affair. And surrounded by twinkling lights and red berry decorations, the castle itself looks like a scene from a Christmas card!
Easy to access just 30 minutes drive from Dublin city and with plenty of free parking available, Swords Castle ticks the boxes as a quintessential Christmas market.
3. National Botanic Gardens Christmas Market
Dates: December 9th-10th, 2023
For an eco-conscious Christmas market that’s kind to the planet, make your way to the National Botanic Gardens in north Dublin.
Set amongst the Victorian glasshouses and curvilinear ornamental ponds of this bucolic public garden, over 70 stalls showcase sustainable Irish gifts, artisan foods and crafts.
As Ireland’s only scientific National Botanic Gardens attach to the heritage estate of Glasnevin Cemetery too, it brims with horticultural history. The palm house and great curtain wall of glass are themselves impressive festive backdrops.
You’ll find environmentally-friendly present ideas like organic skincare ranges, wooden toys, reusable shopping bags, beeswax candles and more. Plenty of Christmas greenery decorations abound as well of course!
With entry just €2 per adult, it’s wonderful value and you can explore the Botanic Gardens when you need a breather from shopping. An enchanting winter wander awaits amongst nature!
4. Farmleigh House Christmas Market
Dates: December 2nd-3rd, 9th-10th & 16th-17th, 2023
For a charming Christmas market located just minutes from Dublin city center, make your way to the Farmleigh House & Estate in the Phoenix Park.
Hosted within the Victorian walled garden of this historic palace that once belonged to the Guinness family, you’ll find a delightful collection of artisan food producers and craftspeople.
Farmleigh House itself will also be decorated specially for the festive season with a large Christmas tree and seasonal flower arrangements. Carol singers perform too for extra Yuletide atmosphere!
With entry completely free of charge, take a stroll amongst the stalls laden with handmade candles, knitwear, ceramics, artwork and gourmet treats. The kids can post letters to Santa and meet the main man himself also.
Set on weekends over December leading up to Christmas amid the natural beauty of Phoenix Park’s woodlands and gardens, Farmleigh House offers a gentle festive experience away from city bustle.
Additional Festive Events
Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival
While not a conventional Christmas market, the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival is a vibrant community celebration down by the old Dublin harbour and worth a visit.
Running over the first weekend in December, the free festivities include Christmas lights, a Santa’s grotto, children’s rides, open-air music performances by choirs and bands, face painting, art workshops and a small artisan food village.
And Sunday night closes out with a magical Christmas lights ceremony followed by fireworks over the harbour for a show-stopping finale! Just 25 minutes by train from Dublin city center, it exudes seaside holiday spirit.
Mistletoe Food Market
Dublin’s popular year-round artisan food market transitions into the aptly named Mistletoe Food Market over a festive weekend in December in the city center.
With over 150 Irish food producers and award-winning street food vendors selling delicious Christmassy treats, it’s a foodie haven for holiday nibbles and gift shopping.
Festivities also include free kids cookie decorating workshops, live music, carol singing, wreath-making classes and more. Entry is just €2 with under 12s free.
Event Planning Tips
Best Time to Visit
- Aim to visit the Christmas markets from Monday to Thursday when they tend to be less crowded. Weekends see peak demand.
- Most markets have no parking but are easily accessed using public transport like trains, trams and buses from the city center. Some run free shuttle buses too.
- Markets in coastal suburbs like Dun Laoghaire and Swords have plentiful free parking available.
What to Bring
- Bring plenty of cash as some vendors may not accept card payments.
- Check the weather and wrap up very warmly! Temperatures are usually below 10°C.
Making the Most of Your Visit
- Arrive just before the advertised opening time to beat the crowds.
- Weekday evenings from 7 pm onwards are the quietest times.
- Indoor markets still exude Christmas charm if it’s raining outside.
- Sample the Irish and international food delicacies – that’s part of the magic!
While small in scale compared to continental Europe, the Christmas markets hosted annually across Dublin perfectly encapsulate the Irish festive spirit with their warm hospitality, quality homegrown crafts and delicious food.
Radiating twinkling fairy lights, aromatic pine forests, sweet chocolatey smells and smiles all round, they transform sections of the city into enchanting winter wonderlands.
The dazzling Christmas lights displays across Dublin’s main streets, concerts, Santa visits and festive shows further add to the merry atmosphere too.
So for unforgettable Yuletide memories infused with festive cheer, check out Dublin’s Christmas markets this December. You’ll leave with your heart warmed and arms laden with gifts for your loved ones.