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What to Do in Dublin in December


This post covers things to do in Dublin in December, including events, attractions, and holiday celebrations for visitors of all ages, updated for 2021.

If you’re looking for even more to do, check the following posts:


The following list will cover some of the best things to do in Dublin throughout the month of December, including family-friendly, nighttime and free activities.

1. Take a Christmas Tour

If you’re looking for a more festive outing than your typical hop-on-hop-off bus tour, Hidden Dublin will be offering a special Pantomime Christmas bus trip this December. 

This excursion is more of a theatrical experience than a bus tour, as the bus will be decked out in Christmas decorations with a holiday theme.

Young visitors will have the opportunity to meet Santa’s elves, help them check the list twice, and even see Santa’s bed, fireplace, and boots.

NOTE: This activity may be canceled for 2021 as a result of the pandemic, so if you're looking for an alternative, consider taking a private guided Christmas tour throughout Dublin instead.

If you’re looking for more family-friendly ideas, please read our post about things to do with kids in Dublin.

2. Go Ice Skating

During the holiday season, several ice rinks will typically pop up around Dublin.

Whether you're looking for a fun family activity or you just want to participate in the festivities, this is an excellent option.

Here are a few of the best ice skating rinks in Dublin:

  • Swords on Ice
  • iSkate at the RDS
  • Dundrum on Ice
  • Liffey Valley on Ice
  • Blanchardstown on Ice

If you're looking for more fun you can enjoy with the kids, make sure to read our post covering things to do with kids in Dublin.

3. Visit the Christmas Markets of Dublin

There is almost always a Christmas Market in Dublin each year, and 2021 will actually have an indoor marketplace for the holiday season.

The Mistletown Christmas market will be held inside the wholesale fruit and vegetable market near Smithfield from December 4th - 23rd.

There will be over 70 stalls with crafts, food, handmade gifts, and trinkets of all kinds.

In addition to this option, we also recommend visiting the well known Stephen's Green Christmas Market.

This location is better for anyone who simply wants to enjoy holiday treats like mulled wine, hot chocolate, and more.

4. Go to a Concert

Dublin is one of the biggest and most notable cities in Ireland, so it makes sense that a lot of musicians like to play here.

If you’re looking for a good concert to attend in December, consider one of the following options:

NOTE: Due to the pandemic, many concerts have been either rescheduled or canceled. If you're looking for a musical event to attend, consider a Christmas concert at one of the local churches.

You can find all the concerts in Dublin this month here.

5. See the Holiday Lights

There will be a lot of great locations to see Christmas lighting displays in Dublin this month, and you don’t really have to pay anything to enjoy them!

Here are a few of the best places to see holiday lights in Dublin during December:

  • Powerscourt Centre
  • Jervis Shopping Centre
  • Dundrum Town Centre
  • Stephens Green Centre

If you want some help finding the best lighting displays, consider taking a Christmas lights walking tour with a local!

For more affordable fun, make sure to read our post about free things to do in Dublin.

6. Hear Christmas Carols at Christ Church Cathedral

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to hear and sing along to classic Christmas carols at church?

While some of the major holiday concerts that happen each year might be canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic, chances are that there will be churches all over Dublin hosting their own events.

Currently, the Carols by Candlelight concert is scheduled to be hosted from December 8th and 9th at the Christ Church Cathedral, but this is subject to change.

For more fun things to do after dark, check our post covering things to do in Dublin at night.

TIP: This historic landmark is included on our self-guided tour of Dublin.

7. Attend a Sporting Event

Dublin is home to some pretty great sports teams which will be playing in various games this month. 

Their rugby team Leinster is scheduled to play several matches in December of 2021, and you might be able to catch one of these games.

The Croke Park tour is included with the Dublin Pass, making it easy to save money on this activity.

If you're looking for more sporting events in Dublin, you can find them here.

8. Take the Kids to Dublin Zoo

During the month of December, the Dublin Zoo will be hosting an event called Wild Lights.

This attraction will feature lighting displays based on a variety of stories such as The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, and The Jungle Book.

With a theme about stories, myths, and legends, this could be an excellent alternative to the typical holiday lights you’ll be seeing everywhere else.

This event is scheduled to take place in 2021.

NOTE: While you need to purchase separate tickets for this event, you can get admission to the Dublin Zoo at a discount with the Dublin Pass.

9. See The Lion King Musical

The Lion King Musical will be starting its run at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin on December 23rd, 2021. There will also be several other opportunities to see the production later in the month.

This is inarguably the best theatrical show available in Dublin throughout the month, and tickets start at just €26 per person.

Purchase tickets or learn more.

10. Save Money With a Tourist Pass

If you’re planning on visiting a lot of popular attractions while you’re in Dublin, it might make sense to use a Dublin tourist pass to save a few euros.

The biggest pass offered in this city is an all-inclusive pass, and it provides admission to dozens of different attractions for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, or 5 days).

There is also a travel pass which can make it easier to get around the city, offering a variety of transportation services and even a few extras.

While it’s possible to save money with these passes even if you don’t use them for many activities, you’ll enjoy the biggest discount by using your pass for as much as possible.

Here are some of the best locations and tours included with a Dublin tourist pass:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Jameson Distillery Tour
  • Teelings Distillery Tour
  • Croke Park Tour
  • Dublin Castle
  • Dublin Zoo
  • And more!

For more information about these services, please read our post covering Dublin tourist passes.


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: October 13th, 2021
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