A few months ago, I booked a Christmas Shopping trip to Dublin, Ireland, for me and my boyfriend. I thought it would be fun to have something to look forward to in the dark days before Christmas. I imagined it would be great to go to Dublin in December. It would be nice to shop for Christmas gifts and sure there would be some nice Christmas Markets to wander around at? Right?
Christmas Market in Dublin
When I started this blog over a month ago, I thought I could use our Dublin trip to write about Christmas Markets in Dublin.
How you do not have to go to Germany to visit some nice Christmas Markets and you would equally get into the Christmas spirit in Dublin. You can read my how to plan your Christmas market trip here.
Boy was I wrong! Dublin has so much to offer, but if you’re looking to browse Christmas Markets in search of handmade ornaments, hand embroidered table cloths or some mulled wine under the Christmas tree, Dublin is certainly not the place to go.
We spend 4,5 days in Ireland’s capital and only went to THE Dublin Christmas market for 5 minutes. It was a sad collection of tents, far away from the shopping area. There were hardly any people in sight and no atmosphere what so ever.
Dublin Christmas Market
The Dublin Christmas Market, is called “I believe in Christmas”. You can find more information on their website. It’s located at CHQ Building.
This is located away from the main shopping areas and I believe (ha! get it?) that’s one of the main problems. It’s not very busy and that gives the place a dark, cold atmosphere. All places to sit, stand or talk are wet and windy. The floor is slippery, there is no music and the booth holders are not very interested either.
No, this was definaitely not the Christmas market I had envisioned when I wanted to go to Dublin in December. What a disappointment. But, I wasn´t disappointed for long, because Dublin is an amazing city and we had so much fun while we were there.
We didn´t spend much time on the sad Christmas market, because we instantly had 500 other and better ideas where we could spend the evening.
5 reasons why you should go to Dublin in December
Even though the Christmas market kind of sucked, Dublin was still a great Christmas trip. Even in December, when it gets dark quickly and the days can be cold, exploring the city was wonderful.
Everywhere you look, Christmas lights are twinkling. There are so many shopping opportunities and there are also so many other things to do when you go to Dublin in December.
Trinity College is a must see place when you visit Dublin. The College is situated right in the centre of town and has a major top attraction: the Trinity Library and the Book of Kells. This ancient book is said to have been written in the 7th century.
The Trinity Library is included in your ticket to visit the book of Kells. I love libraries and bookstores. The atmosphere in these places is one of old stories and forgotten tales.
The Trinity Library is really the master of old places. 2 stories high, this place is packed to the brim with books. The light flows in from the high windows and all the books are sitting there, waiting to be explored by some scholars.
That´s right, if you study at Trinity College and you would need to look up anything, you can request to read one of those ancient books. It really is a remarkable place.
During December, the College is not very busy and you have plenty of time to wander around and nobody will get in your way. If you’re looking for more things to do as a bookworm in Dublin, the post by Eternal Arrival got you covered.
We´ve booked tickets to the Guinness Storehouse because it sounds like a fun idea. A tour around the Guinness brewery and a pint of Guinness in the end.
It wasn´t anything like I imagined up front. The Guinness Storehouse is more a fun, interactive stroll around history and a museum of experiences.
The Guinness Storehouse is built as a pint of Guinness. You´ll start at the bottom and work your way up to the top where you´ll be rewarded with a complementary pint of Guinness.
In the meantime, you´ll learn about the ingredients and the history. Beer making in the old days, the transportation of Guinness, the marketing and all the other things involved in this brand.
Things to do at the Guinness Storehouse
You need to get in line to experience the tasting room, where you can smell all the separate ingredients of the beer and you get a small tasting glass of Guinness.
They even teach you the proper way to taste your Guinness.
After this, you´ll move up a floor, where you can get a certificate for pouring your own Guinness. That´s right, you can get behind the tap and poor your own pint!
To top things off, you´ll move up to the top of the building, where the sky bar gives you 360 degrees round views of Dublin and its surroundings. A great back drop to down your pint of Guinness.
Check out this interesting video journey of Amae.tv at the Guinness Storehouse, so you can see for yourself what it might look like:
During December, the Guinness Storehouse is decorated with a million Christmas lights and you can shop for some great Guinness Christmas baubles.
When it gets rainy outside, the Guinness Storehouse is a great place to explore. Because it get’s dark early in December, you’ll have amazing views of the lights of Dublin at the Sky bar.
Have you been to the Guinness Storehouse? What was your favorite part?
St. Patrick´s Cathedral
I love churches although I´m not religious. The scale of most of these places and the history that surrounds them, have a deep impact on me.
And not to forget: they are masterpieces of engineering.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was no exception. We jumped off one of the buses and hurried inside, because it was raining.
Therefore, we did not see much of the outside, but the interior was really astonishing. The atmosphere was calm and although it was much darker that Christ Church Cathedral, the light in St. Patrick’s was soft and put the altar in the spotlight. Read more about the history of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The choir was truly beautiful with the banners and swords above the seats.
Make sure to take your time to check out the videos that are playing, as they offer a great view of the history of the cathedral.
Explore Dublin’s Pub life
If you say Dublin, you say pubs. On every street corner you can find at least one and they are open basically all day.
They also serve food all day and ordering a pint of Guinness at 11 am is not a weird thing.
We spent every night in a pub. We had a quiet night at a heritage pub were we ordered stew and had our first pints of Guinness. We also hung around a pub with live music and Irish folklore dance. It was a bit noisy but definitely something we wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
Another night we ate at a very busy pub with all kinds of different people drinking and talking, while we had dinner at 9 pm.
And on Sunday, we spend some time in a family pub, with children running around and old couples going out for a drink. Every time, we were more than welcome.
They could always find us one more table to sit at and the atmosphere was very relaxed. With the weather in Dublin in December, it’s always a good excuse to get out of the rain and into the pub!
Here are some other gorgeous photographs of Dublin’s pubs by Jim of nomadicpursuits.com. Make sure to check it out to get in the mood.
The people of Dublin
I’ve travelled to many places. Close to home and to the other end of the world. Most of the time I felt like a tourist. Sometimes I felt like a walking ATM where local people could squeeze a quick buck out of me.
But not in Dublin.
Every single person we’ve encounter, whether it was the lady at Tesco’s or the waitress in the pub or the bus driver, was super friendly. Every single one of them was very kind, interested and welcoming.
A man on the street had no problem pointing us in the right direction and adding his local point of interest of the city. A lady went out of her way during her lunchbreak to give us directions to the “Queen of tarts” one of the best cake shops in town.
I think it’s safe to say, the people of Dublin make you feel welcome and partly responsible for the great vibe that goes around town.
Go to Dublin in December for Christmas Shopping
So, no, if you wish to visit Christmas Markets, Dublin is not the best place to go. But if you like to go Christmas shopping, Dublin is a good spot. The shops are open until late, all shops are festively decorated and you’ll have no problem finding a (ugly) Christmas sweater.
If you’re sick of shopping, there are loads of other things of interest to see and do around Dublin. I’m sure you’ll have a good time when you go to Dublin in December. I know I have! Check my round up of the costs of our time in Dublin.
Here’s a map of Dublin with the above mentioned sites. As meeting people and going to a pub can be done all over Dublin, these cannot be pinn pointed to a specific place on the map.
Have you been to Dublin? Or are you planning a trip to go to Dublin in December? Please share your thought below.