Cork Christmas Market: The Complete Guide

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The city of Cork in Ireland is home to breathtaking landscapes and colorful towns filled with character and personality, although what most people love about the city is its food. The local cuisine is fantastic and draws in foodies from around the globe, but that is not the only reason to visit. No matter what time of year you travel to Cork, you will be greeted with a lovely town and a load of fun things to do.

If you happen to be traveling here in the winter, you should keep an eye out for holiday activities, like the exciting Christmas markets in Cork! Not only do they bring a festive atmosphere to the town but they are also good spots to buy Christmas presents to gift to your loved ones back home. Before you head out to go shopping, find a place where you can store your bags in Cork; you might need your hands to be free to carry all of the presents that you buy.

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Glow - a Cork Christmas Celebration

Glow is the name of the main Christmas market in the city, and most of the festivities take place in two areas around town. You can expect the festivities to begin in late November and continue until sometime in the first week of January, but you should confirm on their website or Facebook page closer to Christmas time. Most years, the market takes on a different theme, so there is always something new to see every Christmas season.

Cork's Grand Parade is one of the main streets in the city, so there is no surprise that it would be transformed into a market during the holiday season. This is where you can do most of your shopping and you will see vendors set up in cute market stalls selling all sorts of knick-knacks, stocking stuffers and souvenirs. This is also where the big Ferris wheel is found; take a spin to admire the Christmas lights of the market from above! After you are done here, you can head to Bishop Lucey Park to take advantage of the rest of the activities, which include a chilly ice tunnel, a fun medieval village and Santa's house. There is also an Old Post Office where the kids can get their letters to Santa stamped and ready to be sent to the North Pole.

What to do near Glow - a Cork Christmas Celebration

Most years the market also has a merry-go-round, Santa's Workshop and performances by local choirs and bands. If that isn't enough to keep you busy, you can always explore the rest of Bishop Lucey Park which has walking paths, fountains and statues, or you can check the schedule at the Triskel Arts Centre to see if any performances are happening.

Christmas at the Marina Market

For a place filled with festive spirit and good shopping opportunities, head to the Marina Market on Centre Park Road. It should be open for most of the month of December but don't miss your chance to stop by before it closes so you can do your holiday shopping ahead of the big day. It remains open from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Sunday.

At the market, you will find around 30 different stalls selling everything from festive treats to artistic creations and handmade items. It is one of the best Christmas markets in Cork for finding gifts made by local artisans, and it is also a space that brings the community together. They even have pop-up cinema showings of your favorite Christmas movies and visits from Santa Claus and his hard-working elves. The Marina Market is dog friendly so bring your furry friend with you.

What to do near Christmas at the Marina Market

Looking for some quality family fun after going to the market? We suggest checking out The Circus Factory which puts on exciting shows filled with live entertainment, and afterward, you will get the chance to try out the circus equipment yourself.

Mardyke Christmas Market

This holiday season, the Mardyke Christmas Market will be taking over the area around the Cork County Cricket Club, and it really goes all out for the event. The opening dates have not been officially announced, but in previous years it has been held between mid November and late December and closing a few days before Christmas Eve.

Aside from shops, on site you will also find food trucks and a marquee where visitors can sit to eat the delicious treats. The man in red makes an appearance at Santa's Grotto and if you bring a camera you can take a festive picture posing next to Santa's Sleigh. There are also crafts and real Christmas trees for sale.

What to do near Mardyke Christmas Market

The Mardyke Christmas Market is set in a beautiful area of the city right next to Fitzgerald's Park, which has several walking paths, a fountain, sculptures and nicely landscaped areas to explore. This is also where you will find the Cork Public Museum; go inside and check out the exhibits.

Cork Zero Waste's Christmas Market

When you are shopping for gifts during the Christmas season it is important to be mindful of where the items are coming from and what impact they could have on the environment. If you are interested in sustainability, then this market is for you. It only happens for a day at the beginning of December, so mark the dates on your calendar.

If you get the chance to stop by Nano Nagle Place you will find this sustainable Christmas market. Lots of eco-friendly businesses partner up to give you environmentally-conscious shopping opportunities accompanied by live music, so it is a fun spot to visit even if you don't buy anything.

What to do near Cork Zero Waste's Christmas Market

Just a few streets away from the Zero Waste market is the Red Abbey Tower. It is an interesting local landmark that dates back all the way to medieval times; go see it in person while you are nearby.

The Best Christmas Markets in Cork

If you find yourself in Cork during the Christmas season then it is essential that you visit some of the festive Christmas markets. The food stalls, shops and holiday activities are sure to keep you occupied, but if you fancy even more Christmas spirit you can stop by some of the other markets found in nearby cities.

There is the Galway Christmas Market in Eyre Square or the Wicklow Christmas Market located on the Abbey Grounds. If you are taking a tour around all of Ireland you should visit Dublin, which also takes on a festive atmosphere.

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