Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

All posts in Christmas

christmas santa claus with coffee or tea

Looking for Irish Christmas gift ideas to buy online and avoid the shopping crowds?

Well, sit back, pour a cuppa & relax! I’ve handy Christmas present ideas & links for you from Ireland.

I’ve added even more Irish products for 2014 to this gift ideas list, & will continue over the next few days, so check back every so often. And now I’ve just updated *again*; 12 Dec 2014.

First up for your 2014 Christmas list is a beautiful and inspirational new book of photos of Ireland from Foxglove Lane. You can order a hardback copy as a special gift, or download it for a very inexpensive way to share in the seasons of Ireland & life.

Foxglove Lane also offers prints and cards; here is what Catherine of Foxglove Lane has to say about this herself:

Yes folks, the Foxglove Lane Shop is now open and the dark evenings are a perfect time to browse!

Irish Christmas gift ideas : Ireland's Foxglove Lane's book: Seek Light, Embrace Shade, Live Colour

Ireland’s Foxglove Lane’s book: Seek Light, Embrace Shade, Live Colour

The book: 

“Seek light, embrace shade and live colour” A perfect gift to introduce someone to Ireland and to following the creative path. Do you have strategies to bring light and energy into your life and work? I write about finding inspiration in my first little picture book, and you  can buy the hardback book here for 30 euros or  download the book for 3.99 

Prints and cards:

Cards and prints are available here This year you can buy unlimited editions at a special price as the printing part is outsourced to a specialist firm of printers. All of the images on my site are available so pick out your own favourites and have them delivered anywhere in the world.

Prints (8″x12″) start at only 7 euros. 

Cards (5″ x7″) are 4.25 each or 10 for only 25 euros

Gift tokens

I also offer Gift Tokens they start at 25 Euros. Contact me directly to arrange. A good option if you want to avoid deadline panics!

If you prefer, I can print and sign any image for you here in the studio. Mounted prints start from 25 euros +postage. Again just contact me.

The Wild Irish West!

Sligo based Artist Annie West also has a new book out, as well as prints, posters, and cards. Here’s the blurb on the Yeats In Love book from her website:

“Yeats in Love is an illustrated, semi-fictional account of WB Yeats’ obsessive yet ultimately fruitless pursuit of Maud Gonne, illustrated in detail on every painful page by award-winning Illustrator Annie West.

With an introduction by Theo Dorgan, and designed by Amy West, Yeats in Love promises to be the book to delight and amuse lovers of literature, illustration and unrequited love for many years to come.”

Irish Christmas gift ideas : Seasons of Sligo 2015 photo calendar, by Val Robus @MagnumLady

Seasons of Sligo 2015 photo calendar, by Val Robus @MagnumLady

Also in the west of Ireland, photographer Val Robus, @MagnumLady has Christmas cards you can purchase, and a new Seasons of Sligo Calendar. Perfect for lovers of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, or if you’ve Sligo in your family tree!


Love Ireland!

On atmospheric Achill Island, papercut artist and painter Jane Steger-Lewis creates items that are perfect for gifts; cards, too. She says:

“I want to make things that bring joy into our homes and that make us smile. My Love Ireland range is all about referencing Irish culture in a contemporary, bright and fresh way, products that fit well with modern homes, I hope you like them.

The products you can purchase here are hand crafted with love, not mass produced in the cheapest labour markets. The emphasis is on quality, originality and care; I’m proud of every package I send out and I want you to be delighted with your purchase.” 

Jane is kindly offering Vibrant Ireland & Travel readers a discount on the Ireland papercut poster, from 22 to 17 euro if you tweet her  at @i_love_mayo or email and mention Vibrant Ireland & Travel!

The Ireland papercut poster map is the third pictured below.

See the full range of the iLoveMayo items by clicking.


Unique stocking stuffer for lovers of the quirky!

We have our very own feline farmer right here in county Kilkenny, — Bodacious the Cat Shepherd! He helps his human Suzanna with her flock of Zwartbles sheep, and now her has his very own calendar & postcards! You can see what he gets up to, and order an paw-tographed calendar at 


Bodacious, the Cat Shepherd of Ireland

Bodacious, the Cat Shepherd of Ireland

Bright & Beautiful Irish Art!

For a special present that will bring cheer and zing into someone’s home all year round, have a look at the fabulous paintings and prints from artist Emma Campbell. She’s having a 12 Days of Christmas sale on her fine art prints, and many of her paintings come with free shipping. I’m a huge fan of her work, and she’s all types, from whimsical to more abstract. Here’s a fun wintery one pictured; do check out here website for her full ranges.


Emma Campbell artwork via

Emma Campbell artwork via

 Book Lovers!

Here are two super ideas for Christmas gifts for the book lovers in your life.

Christmas in the House on the Irish Hillside by Felicity Hayes McCoy ; Irish gift ideas

Christmas in the House on the Irish Hillside

Full of wonderful slices of life in the charming Dingle area of Kerry, Felicity Hayes McCoy has books and audio books (also available on Kindle) most everyone will enjoy! The House on the Irish Hillside came out last year, and just out now is Christmas at the House on the Irish Hillside. See more on Felicity’s author page on Amazon, here. She has another great book out soon, keep your eye out for it!

Or what about this book– the quirkily titled & popular Would You Marry A Farmer? The author Lorna Sixsmith writes from her experience on her & her husband’s farm in southeast Ireland:

Would You Marry A Farmer?

A humourous yet relatively realistic look at what marriage to a farmer is like. Do you think farmers are a good catch? You will know whether a farmer is the right partner for you once you’ve read this – and you will know how to find one, how to train him in and how to stay married to him.

Whether you are looking for a farmer, considering marrying a farmer or come from a farming background, you will laugh out loud when reading this book. Forever more, you will know what is involved in “stopping a gap” and how to prevent “misadventures”. If you are a farmer, it will give you plenty of tips to become the perfect farming husband. Non farmers are enjoying it too – particularly the historical first section and the insight it provides into a rural way of life.


For those who ‘have everything’, or who like to try something different– give ’em a Christmas gift voucher for an Irish experience! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Carlow Tours offer personalized day tours around several areas of Ireland’s Southeast. You can go as an individual or as a small group. I’ve done a tour with Bianka – the owner/tourguide, and she is interesting and fun, not full of dry facts– she makes places come to life. She does gift vouchers for any amount.

Fab Food Trails food tours; Dublin and Cork. I’ve done their Dublin tour, & really enjoyed it. Plenty of samples, new discoveries & interesting storie sand histories. Locals & visitors alike were on the tour, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Go With The Flow river adventures; Carlow & Kilkenny. They’ve all sorts of cool outings available.

One Pery Square, boutique hotel Limerick city

SO relaxing! One Pery Square boutique hotel, Limerick city

A voucher for One Pery Square; Limerick.
If you really want to spoil your gift recipient, consider this!  You can choose a voucher for the fantastic restaurant, spa, or have break in the hotel. We LOVE this place!

Visual & the George Bernard Shaw Theatre; Carlow. Theatre, film, talks & more are presented in this beautiful modern building in the heart of Carlow. Here’s the current events listing– with a voucher your recipient can choose exactly what they’d like to see. PS: there is a wonderful (free) sound-art show on right now at Visual.

Knockdrinna Cheese & Farm Shop- CheeseMaking Course; Kilkenny. As well as a voucher for one of the single-day cheesemaking courses, you can also buy their tasty award winning food products & hampers online. For more on the courses, click here.

If you’d like to give an Aran Irish jumper/sweater, check out my post with buying tips & links to buy online

For those who’d love to see even more Irish made gift suggestions, Dee from has a post with 10 Irish Christmas gift ideas– several available online as well. 

If you’re in Ireland & fancy going to a Christmas/Vintage market, do check out the Christmas listings here- several are happening all over the country.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Irish Fireside has a listing of Irish gifts, too!Christmas gifts ireland

I hope this post gives you some great leads, and if you are looking for a special Irish present but aren’t sure where to turn, in the comment section ask me & the other readers here & we’ll try to help! Also, if you’ve been given a fab Irish Christmas present or have other fantastic Irish Christmas gift ideas that you think we should know about, let us know in the comments section below. Happy Christmas! 



frosty Lusty Beg Christmas, Fermanagh; boat on lake by frosty trees and cottage

A frosty Lusty Beg Christmas, Fermanagh

Ok, it’s time to stop freezing up and ignoring the C-word.

I mean, really, we can’t keep postponing sitting down & dealing with it; as I write this it is 6 weeks til Christmas. You may have a party to plan. You want everyone to enjoy it, women and men both. Well, I have a brilliant tip for you– I got a bit Lusty a few months ago and I totally recommend it for both sexes– Lusty Beg Christmas!

You see, sometimes when you head to a secluded, special resort like Lusty Beg, the gals are loving the gentle massages &  relaxation they can receive in the spa, the lakeside walks and the hot tub & pool, but the guys can be, well, a bit bored. The fellas want a bit more action; 4×4 off roading, boating, clay pigeon shooting and such. And you know what? At Lusty Beg, they get it! 😀 Now, I’m just being a bit silly here, because truthfully when I visited Lusty Beg we women enjoyed just as much action as the men, and I don’t think the men hated the relaxation aspects either. My point is, on this ace island in the Fermanagh Lakelands there is indeed something for everyone.

archery at Lusty Beg in Fermanagh; woman archer

Robin Hood has nothing on this fabulous Maid Marion! Archery at Lusty Beg in Fermanagh!

The food, wine, and cocktails we had were delicious, our room lovely and comfortable, the staff super helpful and friendly. (See my photo of our twin room below) I was quite impressed. I had driven up to the ferry that brings you to Lusty Beg (5 minutes crossing) when I had a visit to Fermanagh in March, and I was quite curious about Lusty. So, when I was invited as part of a press trip in September to spend a night & 2 days trying out what Lusty Beg had to offer, I went with my friend Dee. I’ll be writing an article about our spa experience & more next week, but I’ve just received information on Lusty’s Christmas Party packages & I’d like to pass it on. Having been myself, I think that it is really great value for what you get. Have a look:

It’s that time of year again…time to start racking your brains for a venue for the annual Christmas party.  But this year why not take the hassle out of the Christmas bash and give your guests what they really want – their own island paradise, for one night only, on Co Fermanagh’s fabulous Lusty Beg Island.

Lusty Beg is Ireland’s best kept secret venue, a luxurious island resort nestled in the heart of scenic Northern Ireland.  Famed for its incredible natural beauty, mouth-watering food, indulgent spa and the non-stop craic in our cosy Thatch Bar, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all and let your hair down in the run-up to the hectic festive season.

The Thatch pub Lusty Beg, Fermanagh. thatched cottage

We got cozy in the Thatch pub Lusty Beg, Fermanagh

Our Christmas party package includes a delicious four course meal, live music from Paddy Shannon, one night’s accommodation and a hearty Irish breakfast to set you right the next morning.  With tasty roast beef, festive turkey and exotic red snapper on the menu, you’re bound to find something to tickle your fancy.  Prices start at just £40 per person sharing, or £50 for single occupancy.

Only on Lusty Beg Island can you blow away the cobwebs the morning after the night before with onsite activities such as clay pigeon shooting, archery or off-roading, or just enjoy a scenic stroll around the island and take in the sights.  If rest and relaxation are more your thing why not spend the day recuperating in the Island Spa, availing of our wide variety of treatments including seaweed baths, luxury facials and massages?

We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you to Lusty Beg during the festive season. To book, call 028686 33300 or email

Here are a few more photos from our stay at Lusty Beg; our twin room was a perfect size, and we both slept like logs. (Double room & couples spa bath pics courtesy Lusty Beg.) Let me know if YOU have a Lusty Beg Christmas 😀

If you’d like to check out Lusty Beg yourself, head over to their website, and if you’d like to see more about Fermanagh’s Enniskillen Castle, and a place to stay in Enniskillen Town, I’ve an article in that link. 

Winterval waterford ireland christmas

Wonderfully nostalgic Christmas Toy Museum, Winterval, Waterford

Elegant, rustic, nostalgic, fun– Christmas!

Experience it all at Winterval in Waterford, where it is impossible to be a Scrooge, no matter what your tastes.

Viking Christmas, winterval waterford ireland

Viking Christmas tree, in the beautiful Greyfriars ruins, Winterval

From the Georgian elegance of The Bishop’s Palace to the down-to-earth Christmas at the Viking Settlement, there is plenty to gladden your heart. I’ve been to Winterval the past two years and highly recommend it- there’s loads to see and do for all ages. Here I’ll show you a bit of what’s on & a video clip of the lightshow to whet your appetite.

At the Toy Museum the kids can play with the giant chess set &more while you have a joyful trip down memory lane– toys here span the decades. I’m really looking forward to bringing my Mother- there will be so much for us to reminisce over from both our childhoods 🙂

Please note- The Toy Museum is open 9.30am-6pm through 23 Dec, but not after, although some other Winterval events will continue after Christmas from the 27th to the 31st.

The Vikings of Waterford would be astounded by all of our toys, and you may be astounded by what the Vikings were making & eating for Yule. The live re-enactment of the Viking Christmas at Winterval is fascinating, and wonderfully located in the picturesque ruins of Greyfriars church. Click the link above for exact times, last day 23 Dec. Don’t miss it!

Quite different from the Vikings of Waterford a millennium ago (Actually, 1,100 years in 2014! Check out the exciting Vadrefjord event on 4 Jan) is the life of the wealthy Georgian era families. The Bishop’s Palace Christmas is elegant and refined, well worth the €7 if you enjoy a bit of history & elegant buildings, especially if you do the guided tour. (Kids under 14 free)

Viking Christmas / Yule meal Winterval waterford ireland
Viking Christmas / Yule meal Winterval waterford ireland

There’s a bit of difference in that Georgian meal versus the Viking one, isn’t there? Wonder what Vikings would have thought of the Waterford crystal chandelier.

The Christmas lights throughout Waterford mightn’t be quite as fancy as the Bishop’s chandelier, but they sure do add to the festive atmosphere. The Winterval Express train tooting its way through the city centre, the gorgeous draft horse drawn sleigh, and the dreamy merry-go-round are just a few of the fun for all ages things to do. There’s a free nighttime lightshow, too! You could easily fill a full day at Winterval with fun, feasting and shopping. I’m only featuring a few things in the array, so click to see what else is happening.

Here’s a short video clip of the Winterval Illuminates light show. I hope you can make to Waterford & enjoy all that Winterval has to offer. Waterford City is clean, compact and always puts on great festivals- do visit, any time of year!

For more on Waterford, have a look here.

See here for more Christmas in Ireland– events and gift ideas.


These are almost all Instagram photos! Join us for Instagram Travel Thursday, a weekly blog post collection with a purpose to promote the great travel experts on Instagram, and Instagram as a source for travel inspiration.

Christmas little boy waiting for santa under christmas tree

Do you have little ones dreaming of Christmas fun?

The RDS in Dublin has a whole Christmas Wonderland of things to do from 6 Dec- 12 January. There’s bound to be something for all ages, with ice-skating & more. I think the little ones will enjoy the Jingle Town show; here’s the scoop:

Jingle all the way to Dublin for a day out!

Instead of a trip abroad this year, why not ‘jingle all the way’ to Dublin for a day out at the RDS and visit Jingle Town, a heart-warming live interactive show, full of excitement, action and adventure. It is for all the family and will run as part of ‘GloHealth Christmas Wonderland‘ at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin from 6th December to 12th January.

Jingle Town is happy, jolly and full of fun, but…it has a new mayor, and he is intent on stamping out all music, singing and fun from the town. His motto is work, work and then more work! His evil, yet bumbling gremlins do his dirty work around the town, throwing into jail anyone singing or having a good time. He has arrested Santa Claus and now Jingle Town has lost its jingle.

The Jingle Town chimney sweeps are; a boy called Jesse and a Bear called Dusty – can they save the town with the help of their new friend Rocky the Dragonfly and maybe YOU?  Children will get to meet Santa and some of the characters of the show individually afterwards and have their photo taken with their favourite hero! WHO WILL SAVE THE DAY? Will it be YOU?

The RDS will simultaneously play host to a number of other activities each day from 6th December to 12th January including; Funderland, I-skate on ice, Santa’s Christmas Circus, Custard Pie Puppet Company and Illusionist Guy Barrett.

Tickets to Jingle Town are priced from €9 per child or €37.80 for a family of 4 and are available online now at

Wexford Christmas marketsFestive Markets All Around for ‘Christmas in  County Wexford’

Around the world there is nothing like the words ‘Christmas’ and ‘markets’ in one sentence to get people of all ages excited. This year county Wexford is joining in the excitement with lots on offer. From the north to the southern tip of Wexford there are an abundance of Christmas, festive food & craft markets to suit every taste and pocket.

In Gorey the sixth annual Magical Christmas Market will be held on the Main Street on Sunday, December 8. The entire Main Street will be closed to traffic and taken over by crafts stalls, festive food stalls, carol singers and much more, with over 70 stall holders there will be lots to see, taste and enjoy.

Enniscorthy will be lit up in style this festive season thanks to the town’s new Christmas lights. Enniscorthy Castle is excited to welcome Santa and his helpers this December. This promises to be a wonderful experience for children and adults alike. Santa will be at the Castle from December 1 to December 23. Mrs Claus will be reading from some of her favourite Christmas Stories, and helping the waiting children to make some very special Christmas Decorations for the trees in Enniscorthy Castle.  As you wait in anxious anticipation for Santa, why not play with some of the Roche children’s toys!

Great Victorian Christmas is on offer at Wells House where Santa Claus will be in the great hall and storytelling sessions with Mrs.Claus are on offer at her cottage. A wonderful Christmas Food and Craft Market will take place at Well’s House from December 7 to 23.

Santa will also be nipping over to Johnstown Castle to celebrate Christmas on 7-8 and 14-15 Dec. Santa will be in county wexford christmas markets

In Wexford town,  amongst the twinkling lights festive log cabins have been set up in the Bullring for a market filled with artisan food, drinks, treats and crafts. The Festive Market takes place during December on Saturday and Sunday’s from the 7th to the 22nd plusMonday and Tuesday the 23 and 24th.

In New Ross the Christmas Bazaar promises to ensure that all visitors will get their festive shopping completed at the Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 14 at the Scout Hall on marsh Lane from 2pm to 6pm. Santa will be in town also at St. Michael’s Theatre on the each Saturday and Sunday from the 7th to the 22nd.

Santa is set to arrive at Hook Lighthouse on Sunday, December 15 with an escort from Fethard Coastguard at 2pm to his special grotto at the Lighthouse Watch room.

Also on the Hook Peninsula help the it is Santa Versus the Grinch at Loftus Hall, join Santa and help him save Christmas on Saturday, December 14.

On New Years Day at Hook Lighthouse join in the age old tradition that is Daisy Day’ where local children would race to find the first daisies of the year to be rewarded with pennies.

Enjoy the Holidays in Wexford! 😀

For further details on all events see

For some wonderful photographs of Wexford at Christmas & other times, too, visit Ger Dwyer Photography. Gorgeous! 

Winter Wonderland Westport HouseWinter Wonderland of the West! 

Westport is a brilliant town; full of fun, hospitality & community spirit. I was there in October, and I reckon if Santa lived in Ireland, he’d be from Westport– it just had that kind of vibe! So if you’re anywhere nearby, round up the family for some Westport Christmas fun- parents get a treat, too 🙂


Here’s the scoop from Westport:


Westport House’s Winter Wonderland: open weekends until Christmas Eve

~Sensory Santa option for children with autism on 6th December, new this year~

Make sure you bring all the family to Westport House this festive season to meet Santa, Mrs Claus and their Elves.  A sprinkle of magical Christmas dust will transform the historic 18th century house into a magical Winter Wonderland on selected Friday evenings and weekends from Saturday November30th until Christmas Eve (for full opening times see )

Your merry little Christmas will begin the moment you step into the house, with its cosy fireplaces, friendly staff, and stunning décor.  Whether your children have been naughty or nice, they will receive a special gift from Santa at his Santa’s Grotto, and because parents deserve a treat too, you will be treated to a warming glass of mulled wine.


Sensory Santa

On December 6th from 3-6pm, Westport House will provide the extra option of a ‘Sensory Santa’ session at their Winter Wonderland. Catering to the specific needs of children with autism and sensory disorders, they will turn up the lights and tone down the Christmas tunes as well as allocating time slots to reduce waiting times. Santa will meet with families individually allowing families to relax and enjoy a magical Christmas experience.


                                                                                                                             Mrs Claus

Winter Wonderland Westport House

There’s plenty more to enjoy from magical storytelling and sing-songs by the fireside in the Drawing Room with Mrs Claus, to festive face painting with a cool as ice snow(wo)man and Little Drummer Boy workshops. Make sure you visit the Elves Workshop where kids can paint their own Christmas tree decoration to hand proudly on their tree at home or to give as a gift to someone special this Christmas.


Westport House Express Train

Once you’ve unwrapped everything to enjoy in the House, you can take a ride on the Westport House Express train through the frost kissed grounds and watch out for festive surprises around  each corner, while you snuggle up with complimentary blankets.

As part of the 2013 Winter Wonderland, Westport House are renewing their tradition of a Christmas Wish Tree where families are invited to write their wishes and for every family wish we will donate €1 to the Mayo Roscommon Hospice they hope will be generously supported, as people remember that true meaning of Christmas is all about giving.

Westport House Winter Wonderland

Tickets are priced at €10 for infants under 2 €20 for children aged 2 up, and €10 for adults.  Babies under 1 year go free for their first Christmas. Groups, schools or kindergartens are welcome midweek and special rates are available. Pre-booking is essential on  with the exception of Sensory Santa bookings which must made directly by phone on 098 27766.

For wheel chair users:  it is important to note that there is no wheelchair access to Westport House or lifts within and the Winter Wonderland event takes place over 3 floor. There are 18 steps up to the front door Santa’s Grotto takes place on the main bedroom floor which is upstairs. We hope that this won’t impede your visit but wanted to be sure you knew in advance to plan accordingly.  


Opening Hours:

Winter Wonderland takes place from 10am to 6pm for the following weekends:  November 30 & December 1, Dec 7 & 8, Dec 14 & 15 and Dec 21 & 22. On Dec 6th, the Sensory Santa Session is 3 to 6pm; booking by phone necessary.

Due to popular demand, the venue is opening on Friday, Dec 13 and Dec 20 from 5pm to 8pm in the evening only. On December 21, 22 and 23, they offer three extra-long days from 10am to 8pm. And on Christmas Eve, Dec 24, will be open 10am to 2pm.

 For further information on the Westport House Winter Schedule see

Happy Christmas!

Viking Longboat Delivers Santa to Winterval Waterford!

Santa winterval waterford

Santa will arrive with all sorts of vikings at Winterval. Pic: patrick Browne

This is SO exciting 😀

In true Waterford style a 40-foot Viking Longboat sailed up the River Suir in Waterford today (Friday, Nov 29) and delivered Santa Claus to the city to officially open the second annual Winterval Festival.

The much-anticipated Winterval, Ireland’s Christmas festival was officially declared open by Santa as he arrived on the Marina at the Plaza on the city’s quayside at 3.15pm.

Setting sail from the North Pole earlier in the week Santa was assisted by a crew of friendly Waterford Vikings who rowed the boat to the city centre, where he was met by his hardworking Winterval elves and some wonderful yuletide Vikings. Once ashore Santa was guided to his Grotto at Winterval, and took up residence at the historic 13th century undercrofts of the Medieval Museum in the Viking Triangle. The Viking Longboat weighs over one ton and was built in Waterford; it is based on an 11th century Viking ship found in Denmark.  Similar ships timbers were discovered during the excavations of Waterford city, which took place between 1986 and 1992.


The Winterval festival hosts a full offering of over 30 Winterval trail events; 17 of which are free of charge. Festival goers will enjoy the wonderful 3D Lightshow commissioned especially for Winterval and the only one of its kind in Ireland. The 7-minute show is based on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and will be projected on to the front of the Old Deanery building running every hour and half hour, Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm to 9pm until the festival concludes.

Commenting on the festival opening chairperson of Winterval Barry Monaghan said, “We are thrilled to be officially the second annual Winterval Festival today. It genuinely is the largest Christmas festival in the country, we are also open for an extra five days this year from December 27 to 31 and we have lots of new offerings during this period including linking up with SPRAOI. Last year we saw 250,000 people visit Winterval we have been working hard to increase this figure for 2013, this festival is lots of fun but it is also very important to the local economy and business community and we look forward to welcoming many visitors to the city over the festive period.”

Some of the highlights you  can enjoy at Winterval are a Helter Skelter, a Snow-Globe, the Hasbro Toy Museum, an Animal Farm, Viking Christmas, Polish Christmas, a free movie theatre showing ‘Arthur Christmas’, Storytelling at Reginald’s Tower, Craft making workshops, a giant Winterval Post Box and much more.

For visitors wishing to get their skates on, the huge Waterford on Ice is on the quayside again this year offering some ice-cold fun. For those wishing to journey through the City trail, the Winterval Express and the Horse Drawn Sleigh Stations are the place to head to for a trail trip.

For further details see

We LOVE Winterval– see you there!


GLOW Cork Christmas Ireland

GLOW Cork Christmas- magical!

It IS the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, I think so, and I know many of you feel the same way.

So, I’m sharing several of the holiday events that are on all over Ireland (stay tuned for even more,) and this one, Glow, in Cork sounds magical! I’ve not been to Glow before, but it sure is tempting- Cork’s a great city, and since I’m just a big kid at heart I really want to go to the Faery Village!

Here’s the scoop:

Cork City will Glow like never before!
at ‘Glow’ – A Cork Christmas Celebration

~ A round-up of all to see and do in Cork pre-Christmas ~

For festive fun in the run up to Christmas, head to Cork City for Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration, which runs from 29 November to December 23rd.

The festival has something for everyone, from a mystical fairy village for kids, to local artisan Food Markets, a 30 metre Ferris Wheel, vintage carousel, fantastic shopping and entertainment galore.  Cork City will glow this Christmas like never before.  See or Facebook for more information, but for now here’s a roundup of all to see and do in Cork this Christmas, plus a video teaser: [youtube_sc url=”” title=”Glow%20Cork%20Christmas%20ireland”]

Enter an enchanted Faery Village – Tir na Nollag

Tir na Nollag, a magical ‘faery’ village created by Dowtcha, will open free of charge for all at Bishop Lucey Park in the heart of Cork City Centre for the duration of the Glow festival. Larger than life toy soldiers will guard a fort which hides this enchanted village.  As visitors step into the Christmas fairytale, they will be greeted by magical faery inhabitants as they wander around a faery woodland where the Spirit of Christmas lives.  The woodland will be filled with faery houses, magical forest creatures, a Christmas throne and sleigh, a magical well, and the charm of childhood imagination brought to life.  Make sure you peek through the windows in the faery village hall to see a magical world where Geese come to life in the fountain, snowflakes fall and faeries fly.

GLOW Cork Christmas Ireland

photo via

Original traditional Irish music has also been composed for Tir na Nollag so that visitors truly feel transported to magical place.  Not only that, but kids will be able to post their letter to the North Pole, sprinkled with magical faery dust to ensure their wishes come true.  Open from 4-8pm for the four weekends in the run up to Christmas, the journey through the park will take approximately 20 minutes.


Enjoy Cork’s Christmas Culinary delights – Food Markets

Cork is renowned as the culinary capital of Ireland, so there’s no better place to sample tasty tidbits from local food producers than at the Glow Christmas Food Market on the Grand Parade, or at the nearby permanent famous food market, The English Market.  From crepes and gourmet sausages to locally produced spiced beef, poultry, cheese, vegetables, breads, and fresh organic herbs, there’s something to tantalise all taste buds.  This outdoor food court also has a seating area so you can relax and take in the atmosphere. Make sure you also savour some of Cork’s fantastic restaurants during your stay.


Come to Cork to shop this Christmas

From high street shops, boutiques and quirky gift shops, there’s something special about Christmas shopping in Cork.  Everything is within a few minutes’ walk as it’s a very compact city, the locals are renowned from their friendliness, and the city has the most individually owned shops in the country, which means you have a better chance of finding something unique.


Family Fun

There are two fantastic pantomimes in Cork this Christmas that are sure to keep the kids happy.  Oh yes they will!  Aladdin is running in Cork Opera House, while Jack and the Beanstalk is on in the Everyman Theatre.

For more details, please visit or

Presented by Cork City Council.  Sponsored by Cork’s 96FM.

Will we see you at the Faery Village? 🙂 Happy Holidays!

Vintage Dublin

Posting a letter to Santa?1920’s Dublin, photo via

Did you write to Santa asking for vintage,hand-made, uniquely designed or quirky items?Or is there someone on your shopping list who’d love the same?

If so, get yourself to at least 1 of these 3 events in Dublin!

Lucky for you, they’re all on around the same place; the undeniably cool Block T arts centre on Smithfield Square in Dublin. So handy, right there by the LUAS–g’wan and get your shopping groove on; it’s that time of year. And, yes, it is perfectly alright to play Santy Claus to yourself, too!

Starting on Thursday, 5 December,events will be on in Block T. the Block T Christmas Craft & Design Christmas Pop-up Shop will tempt you with treasures every Thursday through Sunday, up to 22 December 2013.  Here’s some of what Block T tells us on their Facebook event page:

BLOCK T offers great space for ‘arty’ & unique Christmas gift ideas sold by artists, designers and all sorts of other creatives in and around Dublin.

What’s the buzz?
As a creative incubator, BLOCK T is the perfect location for this Craft & Design Christmas Pop-up Shop. Located in the heart of Smithfield, we offer a cozy environment away from the hectic festive shopping hustle with the possibility to grab a nice cup of coffee/tea and wander along the tables and shelves to find affordable and unique art, handmade crafts & jewelry, records, posters and many more.

Where is it happening?
BLOCK T Showroom, 1-6 Haymarket, Smithfield, Dublin 7
(just off the Luas track at Smithfield station)

When is it hitting the scene?
Pop-up Shop Opening Hours:
Thursday, December 7 @ 11.30am – Sunday, December 22 @ 6.30pm
Every Thursday to Sunday with late Thursday openings (till 8pm)

Who is taking part?
Artists, designers and creative people with their wide range of unique, ‘arty’, creative gift ideas as well as Studio Members of BLOCK T with their creative products, ranging from artisan crafts to music records.

Block T Christmas pop-up

Block T are currently accepting applications from those who wish to rent a spot. For more, see Block T’s event page.

Next up is the legendary Shutterbug vintage clothing Kilo Sale on the 8th of December. Many of you may know of Shutterbug’s fantastic shop here in Kilkenny City, and now’s your chance to really load up on the goods in Dublin, as pieces in this sale in Smithfield are being sold  by weight; €20 per kilo. There’ll also be pop-up shops to round out your unique-gift Christmas shopping. Find out more here. Shutterbug Kilo sale, Smithfield, Dublin

The third event is the Dublin Flea Christmas Cracker at Block T, on the weekend of 13-15 December. Last year there were over 100 stalls of arty, vintage, unique & tasty items– you won’t want to miss it! Have a look at the video from last year, below. I’m definitely going to this one- in fact I’m booking a night at Generator right across the Square so I can make a weekend of it! There will be loads of Christmas movies on at Lighthouse Cinema (also on Smithfield Square) so don your Christmas jumper & get into the Santy Claus spirit at Smithfield!

See you there 🙂

Christmas Cracker Flea Market 2012 from BLOCK TV on VimeoChristmas movies lighthouse cinema smithfield dublin

Christmas Sligo flea dates


 NEW! CHRISTMAS Sligo Flea at The Model Arts Centre!

I shared with you a few months ago about the Sligo Flea Market ( see farther down the post,)  and now they’re back for Christmas & bigger than ever!

Here’s what they’ve sent me:

‘Sligo Flea Market with bells on this Christmas at The Model!’


The Sligo Flea Market is back at The Model with bells on! For our Christmas markets on Saturday November 23rd, December 14th and 21st, we’re going to be TWICE the size, that means DOUBLE the stalls, and twice the choice! Want a one of a kind vintage dress for the office party? How about some vintage costume jewellery for the ladies in your life – or perhaps your fella collects vinyl! We’ve got your back! sligo flea vinyl

We’re going all festive,so as well as the usual favourites – vintage and pre-loved clothing, retro bric a brac, bohemian gifts and upcycled jewellery, our fabulous stallholders will be selling handcrafted Christmas decorations, artisan children’s toys, and retro bakes that will take you back to the Christmas’ of your own childhood!  

Joining us in December will be the designers from The Mall Studio, selling a range of exclusive illustrations, suitable for that special Christmas gift.

After you’ve made that list (and checked it twice!), put your feet up at our dedicated ‘Pamper Parlour’, and get a retro updo! After all that, unwind in the reopened The Model Café with its selection of cakes, teas and coffee.
Sligo Flea

Squee!! At the Sligo Flea 🙂

 Sligo is one gorgeous county, & as well as being closely associated with Yeats,  it is also home to  So Sligo food & Culture Festival in May, The Model Arts Centre, & lots more. I have a big love for Ireland’s northwest, and would encourage everyone to go spend some time in this unhurried, less touristy corner of Ireland. When I was sent  information on this Curated Flea Market held at The Model Arts Centre, I thought I’d share it with you– another reason to be tempted to Sligo!


Vinyl, vintage and good vibes all to be found this June at the Sligo Flea Market

Sligo’s one and only flea market makes a return to The Model arts centre on Saturday June 22nd, from 12-5pm. This curated flea market seeks to bring a pop-up boutique experience to visitors for the afternoon.
There will be tables and rails of colourful and wonderful vintage clothing and accessories, from all eras, for all tastes, shapes and sizes. Faughts Records, purveyors of rare and exclusive vinyl will be making a welcome return to The Model on the day.
Bohemian gifts, bric a brac, local crafts, and beautiful illustrations will be available for purchase in the elegant and spacious setting of The Model arts centre. 
Come along and see an alternative side to Sligo! Enjoy the atmosphere, have a browse, and enjoy a coffee at Slice Cafe. All in your own time! Don’t miss out!
Follow us on twitter and instagram @sligoflea,

Will you go to the Sligo Flea Market??  Tweet me @VibrantIreland photos of  your finds! 🙂