With shorter days, frosty mornings and more than a few downpours, you’d be forgiven for thinking Dublin is a gloomy place to spend the winter months, but think again. Whether celebrating at one of the many winter festivals or cozying up in the local pub, Dublin has plenty to offer this winter.
Christmas is first on the agenda and Dublin wastes no time in dusting off the Christmas decorations, erecting a huge Christmas tree on O’Connell Street and brightening up the Temple Bar district with Christmas illuminations. Christmas markets, including the popular German Christmas market held in the Square Shopping Centre and the Docklands Christmas Market, bring some festive cheer to the city, and ice skating rinks pop up all over the city.
Winter is also a time for festivals and a series of events run from December through February. Over Christmas, the Dun Laoghaire ‘Winter Wonderland’ festival features an ice rink, Santa train, carousal and an artisan Christmas market and the first Ireland 2012 Winter Solstice Festival kicks off on December 21st, celebrating the past year with a mammoth indoor music concert and party. The New Year brings with it another festival – a three-day extravaganza between Dec 30th – Jan 1st with live music, torchlit parades and fireworks. As 2013 gets underway, there’s the Temple Bar TradFest (January 23rd – 27th) celebrating Ireland’s traditional musicians with over 200 free events including Celtic dancing, folk music concerts and a makeshift ‘rural village’ popping up in the city center. Finally, it’s the Chinese New Year between February 10th – 12th and the city will be bringing in the Year of the Snake with a vibrant carnival, a myriad of Chinese cultural events and of course, plenty of Chinese food vendors hitting the streets.
If you want to enjoy the snow-dusted landscapes, make sure you don’t miss a walk around some of Dublin’s most picturesque parks – the central Phoenix Park is stunning at this time of year and the nearby Powerscourt Gardens host a series of winter-themed walks and events to make the most of the cold weather. Once you’ve filled your lungs with crisp winter air, snuggle up in one of Dublin’s traditional pubs with a pint of Guinness (or perhaps, a hot chocolate) and warm up your frosted digits around an open fire.