Christmas in Ireland sounds like this:
“We’ll see ya in Mooney’s after midnight mass. Wait’ll you see the bar staff covered in tinsel, I got a piece of it in my hot whiskey the other night!”
“Ah, Sean, all the way from Boston for Christmas! Bet your mammy’s delighted.”
“After the size of Christmas dinner yesterday you need a walk. Put on that orange scarf Granny gave you and we’ll go up Carrantouhill. Yes, you can bring Barbie.”
Christmas in Ireland looks like this.
And it tastes like this.
But, how does Christmas in Ireland feel…?
Well, to know that you’ll have to try it. In between our Christmas shopping, we’ve collated the type of mistletoe-smooching, mulled wine-sipping, winter walk-wandering yuletide in Ireland scenario that would have inspired Bing Crosby to compose a 4 disc Christmas album.
So sit back, relax, and let the festive cheer wash over you.
The minute we heard Nat King Cole’s velvety voice lauding the delights of roasting nuts by an open fire, we knew that nothing said Christmas cheer like a roaring hearth. Cue one of Hidden Ireland’s Christmas crackers, Lismacue House in County Tipperary and one of the most inviting firesides we’ve set our eyes on. Might be an idea to make sure the fire’s been put out by Christmas Eve though – we wouldn’t want to roast Saint Nick along with the chestnuts. I don’t think that’s what Nat King Cole was getting at…
And if your entire family is in tow, decked in those itchy jumpers and blinking Rudolph noses, you might need to rent a place all of your own. The elves at the Irish Landmark Trust have directions to some of the most atmospheric abodes around, and we think Ballealy Cottage in Antrim looks rather fine with its snow hat on.
We might not always get the words right, but crikey do we like our Christmas Carols. Whether we’re harking to herald angels or running through the Twelve Days of Christmas on our fingers and toes, carol singing is always a pleasure. Should you be looking for chaps who know all the words and sing them with voices verging on the heavenly, than let us guide you to St Patrick’s Cathedral’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
Of course, we all associate the festive season with Bing Crosby warbling around a Christmas tree and he wasn’t the only one. is a jog down Broadway with the kind of crackly Christmas croonings that puts the romance in your eggnog… or your mulled wine… or your spiced tea. Look, it’s romantic, ok?
Warning – this post is about to get a little soppy, just a little.
Quite possibly the nicest thing about Christmas in Ireland is how everyone comes home. Mary’s back from New York, Ross is home from Sydney, and Shane and Áine are bringing the twins back from Brussels for the first time. And do you know where we’ll all meet? Midnight mass. In we’ll throng, sliding our backsides along the varnished pews and throwing out ‘Ah, you’re back!’ and ‘I didn’t know you were coming home! Have they made you mayor yet?’. It’s usually about ten minutes before we notice the priest is ready to start. Of course he doesn’t mind. It’s the same every year.
The ‘welcome homes’ keep coming going as we swing in the door of the pub. It would be rude not to share a quick hot whiskey with everyone so we make the sacrifice. Plus, a little nip helps us sleep.
The excitement on Christmas Eve would be too much for us otherwise.
Follow the lights
Hot breath hanging in frosty air. Buskers reworking ‘White Christmas’ with a reggae beat. Hands gripping hot chocolate and noses pressed against windows with heads thinking ‘Please don’t let him have got me that jumper for Christmas. If there isn’t a ring under the tree I’ll….’.
My theory is that most of those people pottering around Dublin’s Grafton Street at Christmas did their shopping weeks ago – they’re just soaking up the kind of yuletide atmos that could rival Santa’s sitting room. And who can blame them when it looks like this.
The same goes for the festive ladies and gents milling around . Chances are they’ve been here all week and the mince pies are the reason – ‘Oh, erm, I forgot to get a present for Gemma, I’d better pop down to the market and get her something’. Not fooling anyone, especially with the pastry crumbs on their scarf when they walk in the door.
And all that’s left to say is that we wish you all a very, exceedingly merry Christmas.
We can’t get enough of Ireland at Christmas time, and either should you.