This post covers things to do in Dublin in December, including events, attractions, and holiday celebrations for visitors of all ages, updated for 2023.
If you’re looking for even more to do, check the following posts:
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tours
- Dublin Boat Cruises
- Dublin Walking Tours
- Things to Do in Dublin (any time of year)
TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN DUBLIN THIS DECEMBER
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. See Dublin Zoo's Wild Lights
Each winter, the Dublin Zoo puts on magical and immersive Wild Lights events.
Guests are invited to walk a trail that runs past illuminated woodland scenes that match the year's theme.
In the past, themes have included "Stories, Myths, and Legends!", "Around the World," and "Ocean of Light!"
The festival usually runs from November to January. November hours cover weekends, and December/January hours are seven days a week.
For more information, visit the Wild Lights webpage.
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.
2. Go on a Sightseeing Tour
One of the best ways to see the city of Dublin is by taking a pay-what-you-like walking tour. You’ll learn a lot about how Dublin was built and about today’s culture.
You could consider taking a private guided Christmas tour throughout Dublin as well.
If you aren’t a fan of themed tours, hop-on-hop-off bus rides are a popular way to catch a tour and some convenient transportation.
If you'd like to discover the city on your own, taking yourself on a self-guided tour is a low-key way to explore.
Don’t forget to check out the boat tours available as well.
3. 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 and around Dublin:
You'll want to check their websites for dates and opening times.
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.
4. Visit the Christmas Markets in Dublin
There are a handful of Christmas markets in Dublin, ones where you can find food, gifts, Christmas trees, and more.
Sadly some of the popular markets, such as the Mistletown Christmas Festival, have not returned this year. Others haven't listed their opening dates yet.
Here are a few that are likely to return in 2023:
- Dublin Castle Market
- Swords Castle Christmas Market
- Dublin Botanic Gardens Christmas Eco Craft Market
- Rathfarnham Castle Christmas Market
- Howth Castle Christmas Market
TIP: Dublin Castle is included on our self-guided tour of Dublin.
5. Go to a Concert
What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to hear Christmas music classics?
If you’re looking for a Christmas concert in December, there are a number taking place in and around Dublin throughout the month.
- Christmas with the New York Tenors and Irish Soprano Deirdre Masterson | Christ Church| December 2nd
- Candlelights Concert Christmas at the Movies | St. Patrick's Cathedral | December 8th
- Candlelight Concerts Viennese Christmas Spectacular | St. Patrick's Cathedral| December 9th
- Oh Holy Night: A Concert of Seasonal Favorites | Christ Church Cathedral | December 13th, 14th
- Curore Chamber Choir Christmas Concert | St. Andrew's Church | December 16th
- A Dublin Gospel Christmas | Draíocht Blandchardstown | December 16th
- The Mornington Singers usually put on a few holiday concerts at churches in Dublin as well.
6. See the Holiday Lights
There will be a number of places 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.
7. Attend a Christmas Panto
If you're looking for fun for the whole family, you won't want to miss a Christmas Pantomime (Panto).
An important part of the holiday season, the Panto involves everyone in the audience and is sure to bring smiles all around.
- Treasure Island | November 24th-January 14th
- Cinderella | December 6th-31st
- Little Red Riding Hood | December 8th-January 8th
- Rapunzel | December 18th - December 31st
- Snow White | December 20th - December 29th
- Olly, Polly, and the Magic Lamp | December 20th-January 7th
Check our our post 27 Things to do with Kids for even more suggested activities.
8. Celebrate New Year's Eve
Are you ready for New Year's Festival Dublin, a two-day family-friendly event
You can expect live music across 6 stages, light shows, appearances by big names, food, an early countdown for kids, and of course fireworks!
Activities take place at Northwall Quay.
9. 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 a few matches in December of 2023.
If you'd like to visit Croke Park, home to Gaelic games, it is included with the Dublin Pass.
If you're looking for more sporting events in Dublin, you can find them here.
10. See a Play or Musical
Dublin is home to excellent theatre productions that are both modern and traditional, depending on where you look.
A play, musical, or dance is performed somewhere in the city on a weekly basis.
A few theatres you might check out are:
- Abbey Theatre | Ireland's National Theatre, this was home to premiers of works by some of Ireland's best-known playwrights
- Gate Theatre | a big player in Irish theatre history that has a focus on classic and contemporary plays
- Gaity Theatre | dating back to the 1800s, this theatre attracts top-tier musicals, plays, comedy shows, and more
- Liberty Hall Theatre | known for modern plays written by both Irish and international playwrights
- Olympia Theatre | dating back to the 1800s, this theatre has plays, comedy shows, concerts, and more
For even more things to do at night, read our post Things to do at Night in Dublin.
11. 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 that 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 many activities 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.