Cork is brimming with events this Christmas from festivals, markets and ferris wheels to great live music, comedy and clubbing.
Glow Festival is Cork’s biggest Christmas festival with Bishop Lucey Park in the city centre being transformed into a spectacular winter wonderland with this year’s theme being ‘The Night Before Christmas in Old Cork’.
Open each Friday, Saturday and Sunday before Christmas the festival also features a Christmas food market and until early January the 100ft high ferris wheel dominates the Grand Parade skyline. A short walk away St. Peter’s Cork hosts a craft market with lots of local craft produce ideal for gifts.
Down west, in Clonakilty catch the Christmas Polar Express (powered by Christmas carols!) at the Model Village and be sure to visit North Pole Cottage and the Elf Village.
The Cork Opera House and Everyman host pantomimes this year, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella respectively, and are close to sell outs so get your tickets fast (they’re behind you!).
If you’re not worried about being on Santa Claus’s naughty list then the adult panto, Robin Hood , at An Spailpín Fánach , South Main Street will tickle your rib cage and maybe a little bit more (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
Visiting Santa Claus
Dressed in the red and white of Cork, Santa’s magical omnipresence means there are lots of places to see him around the city and county this year. Fota Island hosts the Magic of Santa where kids can meet Santa, his elves, reindeer and explore a stunning winter wonderland.
The North Pole Experience takes place in a Victorian House at a secret location in Cobh – help Santa’s elves to build all the toys for Santa’s sleigh and see what Mrs. Claus is cooking the kitchen.
If skating's your thing , just outside the city the Alpine Skate Trail is a wondeful new way to skate and take in the beautiful surroundings.
Up The Walls
When the visit to Santa is done there’s still loads for kids to do in Cork with indoor attractions like climbing paradise Awesome Walls , trampoline mania at Bouncezone , ten pin bowling and laser tag at Planet in Blackpool or at Leisureplex on MacCurtain Street. Meanwhile, Jungle World in Midleton, Chuckies in Wilton and Monkey Maze in Glanmire are the perfect places to let smaller kids run/climb off that pent-up Christmas energy.
Teens and adults can go karting, drifting or burn off the Christmas excess in sumo wrestling suits at Adventure Park in Watergrasshill and for days with less energy to spend on fun, the city and counties cinemas are all open with the latest movies.
Our top tip for some eighties and nineties nostalgia is Barcadia at the Mardyke which an impressive line-up of old-school arcade games like Mortal Kombat, Pacman, Mario Kart and of course, Streetfighter. They serve tasty treats too like pizza, burgers and craft beers so it's a great spot to spend a few hours with friends or family on a dark Christmas evening.