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Wednesday | 21st February 2024

Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival 2023 – Endless Fun Awaits

30. 11. 2023

Buy Local & Support Local Businesses when visiting the Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival

Step into the enchanting world of the Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival, where our beautiful town will transform into a holiday wonderland, bursting with festive cheer. As you wander through the charming streets, the spirit of the season will surround you, promising unforgettable moments and heartwarming experiences for yourself, your family and friends – for all.

A series of sparkling events await – carol singing, vintage fairground rides, Santa experience, and ice skating are just a hint of what to expect.

Gather your loved ones, embrace the spirit of community, and let the Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival become a favourite part of your seasonal celebrations.

Let’s explore together!

Santa Experience in the Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is hosting a unique Santa experience during the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival. Visitors have the opportunity not only to meet Santa but also to explore the museum’s artifacts and stories. The event is particularly special for children, who can enjoy the model railway and interact with the station master.

The event is coordinated by John O’ Toole, a member of the Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival Committee and President of the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber of Commerce, who is working hard to promote community spirit and local commerce. As coordinator John emphasises Dún Laoghaire’s accessibility, the wide range of local dining and shopping options and the town’s vibrant holiday activities.

In an effort to create a sustainable Christmas, the gifts for the children will not be wrapped to help avoid waste. Additionally, the event won’t provide printed photographs. Instead, parents and guardians are encouraged to use their smart phones to capture memories with Santa, which the elves will help facilitate.

Outside the museum, there is a giant decorative ball, providing an additional photo opportunity for families. The museum is offering age-appropriate, educational, and unisex gifts, as well as the chance to return in 2024 with a discounted ticket, encouraging guests to revisit and fully absorb the museum experience.

Santa and his helpers – Santa Experience at the National Maritime Museum, Dun Laoghaire

Tickets & Bookings

The Santa experience runs from November 24th to December 23rd, primarily on weekends from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM, with extended dates closer to Christmas.

Booking and further information are available on the museum’s website.

Tickets are required for every individual, with prices varying based on age groups, and a maximum of eight people can attend per booking. The experience is expected to be popular, and walk-ins might not be feasible due to capacity limits.

As for accessibility, the museum is wheelchair-friendly on the ground floor, though the model railway is only accessible via stairs.

Maritime Museum offers a sustainable, educational, and enjoyable visit with Santa, coupled with the maritime heritage of the museum and the festive atmosphere of Dún Laoghaire. It encourages an inclusive, community-centered celebration aimed at creating lasting holiday memories.

 

Christmas Funfair

We’re traveling to our next Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival fun destination and we are very excited to learn more about the Christmas Funfair, an entertainment presented by a Vintage Carousel company known for its collection of antique and modern fairground pieces from around the globe. This company has immersed itself in vintage fairground equipment since 2008 and has successfully blended this with new attractions to cater to families, including teens.

Our fascinating conversation with the owner Trevor Cullen, got us closer to the world of fairs and what it takes to thrive in this business. Trevor’s roots are intertwined with the circus and fairground history, though his professional ventures strayed into advertising before returning to the fairground with a vision for vintage nostalgia. His son Timmy is also instrumental to the project, bringing youthful energy to the family business.

One of the features of their outstanding fair collection is the Ferris wheel, famed for its appearance in the movie “Grease,” which was acquired from Cincinnati and is now an annual fixture in Dún Laoghaire. This year, a bespoke Santa sleigh ride joins the offering, delighting children and parents with an atmospheric flight complete with reindeers and Santa, offered exclusively during the festive season.

Another unique attraction introduced to the venue is an antique fairground organ from the 1890s, originally from Paris and later found in Belgium. It’s synchronized with the carousels, filling the air with festive music and contributing to the nostalgic charm. The organ, a 1938 creation, has been recently retuned by the grandson of its original builder.

The Christmas Funfair is located on the plaza in Dún Laoghaire, an unmissable site right off the train station. It commences on December 9th, operating between noon and 7 PM on weekends, with extending opening times as Christmas approaches, detailed on the Vintage Carousel Company’s Facebook page.

Inclusivity is key to Christmas Funfair, providing a calm setting suitable for autistic children, without the overwhelming noise typically associated with fairs. It caters to all age groups, with no specific demographic target. The complementing Treat Tramp offers candy floss, popcorn, and warm beverages, becoming a beloved fixture of the fair.

Trevor Cullen and his son Timmy, Christmas Funfair

Tickets & Bookings

Tickets can be purchased at the token office on-site, or for those who prefer planning ahead, online bookings are available at a discounted rate, where purchasing 20 tokens includes a complimentary bonus of 4 additional tokens. The rides generally cost €3 with special rates for multiple kids or a slightly higher fee for the Ferris wheel, ensuring fair value for visitors.

Finally, visitors don’t need to pre-book. They are encouraged to simply arrive, purchase the desired number of tokens according to their plans, and enjoy the attractions, making this fanfare an effortless and enjoyable visit for all attendees.

 

Ice Skating

Christmas season wouldn’t be the same without ice skating and our town is very fortunate to be the host of “Ice Skating Dún Laoghaire”, Ireland’s newest and biggest ice rink. Festively themed to enhance the winter wonderland feeling, with two separate ice rinks (one for the young ones who are more Bambi than Torvill and Dean) and free parking on-site, this is an incredible winter addition to Dún Laoghaire. Ice skating in our town is provided by Iceskating.ie that’s owned by Cool Running Events. All Cool Running Event’s ice rinks are powered by HVO, a renewable fuel source, which has helped to reduce the company’s CO₂ since implementing it in 2022.
Cian O’Callaghan, a Head of Sales & Marketing for Cool Running Events was very kind to take time off his hectic schedule and share more details about this amazing Christmas season venue in our town.
Ice Skating Dún Laoghaire is located on the harbour in Dún Laoghaire, just a couple of minutes walk from the DART Station.

Cian O’Callaghan, Ice Skating Dun Laoghaire

Tickets & Bookings

They are open Wednesday – Sunday in November and January and Tuesday – Sunday in December and daily during School Holidays. For a full list of Opening Times and Exceptions, check out iceskating.ie.

Cian told us that equipment is not necessary, just bring your pre-booking confirmation, comfortable clothing and thick socks. They have lockers available too, where a €2 is needed to use them.

In terms of prices and discounts, Ice Skating Dún Laoghaire has some fantastic discounts for all age categories. Their 2 for €22 skates on Wednesday and Thursday evenings are very popular and so are their Family First sessions on weekend mornings, which offer 25% off their regular priced tickets.

To see a full list of discounted prices as well as to make a booking please visit iceskating.ie

 

Carol Singing and other attractions around the town

There’s no Christmas season without Christmas Carols so get ready to enjoy, or even better, sing along with various choirs and groups during the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival.

The town has sent out calls for carol singing at Myrtle Square with many choirs and singing groups including the local Dominican School and Dún Laoghaire Tidy Towns signing up to participate. The Childline by ISPCC is involved, with choirs singing to fundraise for this incredible organisation.

We are delighted to introduce Laura Horan from Childline and David Kirwan from Dominican School, Dun Laoghaire who will tell us more about the carol singing during the Dun Laoghaire Town Christmas Festival.

Carol Singing in aid of Childline by ISPCC

While choirs spread yuletide joy, they will also be accepting donations to support Childline by ISPCC, an organization that offers a lifeline to over 2,000 children and teenagers weekly. This organisation provides support to our children in times of struggle and crisis, from fights with their siblings, family going through a divorce, to mental health issues, self-harm and suicide.

Laura, the campaigns and community fundraising manager for Childline by ISPCC, invited everyone to join choirs on the 7th, 9th, and 16th of December in a support of a worthy cause.

Dun Laoghaire community will be able to enjoy performances by UCD Music Society, Songs in the Key of D, Belle Harmonics, and other groups, as well as an Irish singer, songwriter, and a TikTok sensation, Leah Hart. These groups dedicate their voices not just to spreading holiday cheer but also to raising crucial support for Childline – shaking donation buckets for those wishing to contribute.

See the full schedule below.

⬇️Click here to download the PDF of the schedule⬇️

Carol Singing by Dominican Primary School, Dún Laoghaire

Mark your calendars for another vibrant musical performance on Tuesday, December 19th, at 11 am in Myrtle Square. Dominican Primary School students from 3rd to 6th class are excited about sharing their passion for song, which promises to bring an great energy to the Myrtle Square.

The program has been kept straightforward to accommodate the busy period for teachers and will include firm favorites well-known to the children. The performances may even feature some spontaneous talent, with individual students and teachers encouraged to take the stage, possibly bringing the playing of ukuleles to the mix.

While enjoying beloved classics like “Rudolph,” which may delight the audience multiple times, you can expect a series of engaging numbers that will brighten up your day.

Behind these preparations is the school’s Home-School-Community Liaison Officer David Kirwan, who typically teaches 5th and 6th class and has a rich history of leading the school’s choirs. His role emphasizes the bond between the school, parents, and the broader community, showcasing the importance of extracurricular engagement in the school’s philosophy.

For further details and updates on the charity initiative and other event-related news, stay connected with us.

Laura Horan, Childline & David Kirwan, Dominican PS, Dun Laoghaire

Baubles, Christmas Crib, Santa’s Postbox and More

Dun Laoghaire County Council has prepared many more fun attractions throughout the whole town and there’s no better person to tell us more about all the details than Ursula O’Connor, Urban Regeneration Development Officer at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council who is working tirelessly to help our town thrive and prosper. Ursula is dedicated to driving footfall and commerce in the town. This work, from festive banners to strategic placement of decorations, aims to entice visitors from the Harbor up to the town center. All these efforts are directed at creating an inviting atmosphere where shoppers are encouraged to support local businesses while enjoying the town’s holiday charm.

Dún Laoghaire town has introduced a festive decor feature this Christmas with three large, illuminated baubles placed at key points – outside Meadows and Byrne at the harbor junction, at the Lexicon, and in Myrtle Square. These baubles offer a perfect backdrop for Instagram-worthy family photos at no cost.

The town has also set up a stack of giant presents outside the Maritime Museum, signaling the Santa visitation area, enhancing the holiday spirit. Additionally, “Welcome to Dun Laoghaire” lit signs and fairy lights on street trees will brighten Marine Road and Myrtle Square.

Dlr Lexicon hosts a Christmas tree, alongside a special Santa postbox, available from the 24th, where letters to Santa receive personalised responses – a delightful touch creating cherished memories, quite popular among the youngest in our community.

There’s a slight delay in installing the crib by the church, as the tradition suggests not to set it too early; it will make its appearance in the first week of December. Nearby, a constellation of small lit Christmas trees and an overhead star will decorate the area, while large baubles have been placed on the East Pier bandstand, adding to the scenic festivity.

Tickets & Bookings

All carol singing and attractions are open for all. The town’s festive displays of baubles require no bookings, allowing families to simply arrive and immerse themselves in the Christmas ambiance.

The county council hopes to elevate the holiday experience, stimulating community engagement and business support, all wrapped up in a spirited and accessible activities for residents and visitors of all ages.

Excited for Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival?

Come, be a part of something magical. Bring family, friends, and loved ones to enjoy in the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival. Our town awaits you with open arms and the promise of festive delight. Come, join us, and let’s light up the season together!

 

To see everything that’s happening at the Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival click here.


 

Thank you for supporting our Dun Laoghaire business community!

 

For a list of all the retail outlets in our town please see our Dún Laoghaire Town business directory.

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