Events - Child Friendly EventsSt. Patrick's Festival Days and Nights of Culture, Music and Entertainmant! The principal aim of St. Patrick’s Festival, since its inauguration, is to develop a major annual international festival around the national holiday over which the ‘owners’ of the festival, the Irish people, would stand proud. It sets out to reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on many national and world stages, and it acts as an exciting showcase for the manifold skills of the people of Ireland, of every age and social background. As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish. We set out to seize that opportunity, and completely transform the national and international perception of St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. This country is bursting with the kind of creative energy, ideas and enthusiasm required to do the job. Our job has been to harness them, and make our national holiday an unforgettable experience for all. Why was it started? To offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world. To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity. To provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations. To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal. The first St. Patrick’s Festival was held over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996, it has since grown to a 4-5 day celebration. Click here for a full list of associated events   Family Trad Gig: Kila the whole family’s toes tapping with a family-friendly gig by incredible trad-groovsters Kila, on 31st January. With their hip-shaking, hand-clapping, and groove-making brand of trad, The Ark will be practically reverberating with the sounds of incredible Kila during Temple Bar’s TradFest.  Showcasing their wonderfully interactive and eclectic music that’s firmly rooted in Irish traditions, kids in particular won’t fail to be enthralled by their palpable energy and vitality. With eight multi-talented multi-instrumentalists, their performances boast a staggering array of instruments including: bodhrán, djembe, congas, bongos, guitar and vocals, tin whistle, low whistle, clarinet, bazouki, mandolin, bones, flute, saxophone, percussion, mandola, bass, double bass, fiddle, viola, hammered dulcimer, accordion, uilleann pipes, shakers and drums. Prepare to dance to Kila’s infectious rhythms this January. Tickets €9 - €12 Family ticket (four people) €40 Jack & The Beanstalk Christmas Pantomime that most family-friendly of all festive activities by taking the whole gang along to Draiocht’s Christmas pantomime Jack and The Beanstalk this January. Things are not going well in Happy Valley where Mother Magee lives with her son Jack. All the crops and livestock are vanishing – even the King’s hen that lays the golden eggs has disappeared.  Mother Magee is getting worried that her cow Daisy will soon disappear too. But trusty Jack is trying to find a solution to it all. Fairy Snow gives Jack some magic beans that grow into a giant beanstalk. As Jack climbs up through the clouds he sees a castle which is home to a cruel giant.  Can Jack battle the monstrous giant and rescue the young princess held captive in the castle? Find out at this fantastic festive pantomime for all the family. Performances 3rd January: 2pm, 7.30pm 4th January: 1pm, 5pm 8th - 9th January: 7.30pm 10th January: 2pm, 7.30pm 11th January: 1pm, 5pm 15th - 16th January: 7.30pm 17th January: 2pm, 7.30pm 18th January: 2pm Tickets Full price €20 Concession €16 New Year's Festival: Resolution Day all the celebrations, revelry and hootenanny hoolies; begin 2015 with a day of fun, fitness and fresh air at Resolution Day on 1st January. Get up, get out and get active to kick off the New Year as you mean to go on!  Part of the lively city-wide New Year’s Festival, get down to Dublin Castle and welcome the new year with great food, music and entertainment, along with a host of activites to help you kick start the year - focusing on renewal, health and wellbeing.  Those with endless energy can take on the New Year’s Day 5km Fun Run through the city, starting at 12 noon; while a host of free mind, body and fitness events, including group exercise classes, will also take place in the city's green spaces.  And after New Year's workout, be sure to enjoy the feast of entertainment happening at the NYF Food Village in Dublin Castle too. With plenty more events to be announced, make sure you seize the day in Dublin this January 1st to get 2015 off the best start, with resolutions you’ll keep! More details on registering for these fantastic events are coming soon. New Year’s Festival: Procession of Light the incredible festive atmosphere of Dublin city on New Year’s Eve with the vibrant Procession of Light, 31st December. See the city erupt enchanted, as some of Dublin’s most well-loved streets burst in a stunning procession with dazzling light installations, music and dance performers! The Procession of Light journeys from St Stephen's Green, through Temple Bar towards Dublin Castle led by Luxe, Ireland’s leading specialists in visually stunning spectacles. Travel with us towards 2015 and share a magical Mini Midnight Moment with family and friends of all ages at Dublin Castle. What better way to experience the city’s lively atmosphere than by the warm light of this yuletide parade? Kicking off at 7pm, the Procession of Light is a fantastic free family-friendly event, with a magical mood that's simply unmissable! New Year Festival Dublin Dublin - the ultimate New Year's Eve party! This new and exciting city-wide music and arts festival boasts three days of festivities in Dublin, kicking off on the 30th December, running right through to January 1st. Gather together in the heart of Dublin for the biggest New Year’s celebration the city has ever seen! Ring in the New Year at the NYF Countdown Concert, and follow the captivating Music and Arts Trails across the city, which showcase live music in superb settings and stunning Irish and international art and culture. Sample some delicious artisan food at Dublin Castle's NYF Food Village, and watch as the city's streetscapes come alive with thrilling 3D animations at the Luminosity events.  Join in the magical Procession of Light and see the city dazzle, or become utterly immersed in the inspiring Spoken Word Festival which boasts poetry slams, literature, discussion and debate like you've never seen them before.  For visitors who only have a few days to spend in Dublin, it couldn't be simpler with our NYF Dublin Discovery Trail. This allows you to explore the best of the city over two perfectly planned days. Pick and choose from our list of Dublin city's top 20 cultural venues offering special NYF discounts and guided tours.  And what better way to start 2015 off to a properly positive start than with Resolution Day? Which includes a 5km fun run at Dublin Castle, exercise classes, and more awesome activities that'll have you hit the ground running in 2015. With all this and a spectacular array of surprises and secret performances across the city too, the countdown is most definitely on! New Year’s Festival: Luminosity the stunning facades of some of Dublin’s best known landmarks come to life with spectacular 3D light projections from 30th December - 1st January. Part of the city-wide New Year’s Festival, Luminosity will illuminate Dublin Castle, Wolfe Tone Square, and Trinity College. Appreciate and celebrate these incredible structures with a new, vibrant perspective thanks to these impressive light installations. Watch in wonder as Luminosity springs these buildings to life, telling a story with cutting edge 3D digital displays from 5pm to 12 midnight each evening. Locations Dublin Castle, Dame Street, Dublin 1 Wolfe Tone Square, Jervis Street, Dublin 1 Trinity College, Dame Street, Dublin 2 New Year’s Festival: Love Dublin your love and appreciation for the capital on 30th and 31st December with a host of Love Dublin events as part of the city-wide New Year’s Festival. Uncover the best the city has to offer with superb cultural events spanning art, spoken word and live entertainment.  NYF Art Trail Follow the incredible NYF Art Trail to explore Dublin city’s established galleries which are putting on special NYF guided tours and talks from established artists, and special showcases from up and coming ones too. Join the trail and experience something new with this wonderfully accessible programme. Participating galleries include Temple Bar Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy, Hillsboro Fine Art Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland, Cross Gallery, Kerlin Gallery, Green on Red Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Ireland, and the Hugh Lane Gallery. Check back here in December for the full NYF Art Trail schedule.  Dublin Discovery Trail Explore more of the capital’s hidden delights with the Dublin Discovery Trail, tailor-made for those only visiting Dublin for a few days. Pick and choose from the list of Dublin city’s top 20 cultural venues offering special NYF discounts and great guided tours.  Sign up to our NYF newsletter here and we will send you an earlier Christmas present with the NYF coupon to avail of the discounts in December! Dublin Bikes Dublin… walk it, bike it, DIY it! Our festival friends over at Dublin Bikes are offering special NYF 25% discount to take you to some of these trail destinations with their own special twist - experiencing some local hidden gems while in the saddle. Visit for more details on their tours and enter promo code 6j3audew5abd for the 25% discount on advance bookings. NYF Spoken Word Festival Enjoy a wealth of compelling culture with the spectacular NYF Spoken Word Festival events. They say the Irish have the gift of the gab; so come experience the talent at the NYF Spoken Word Festival, which gathers the very best of Irish wit, poetry slam, literature, lively discussion and debate, into one compelling, cultural bundle.  With so much to discover this festive season, your holiday diary will be full to the brim.     50th Annual Christmas Family Art Holiday the whole gang over to the National Gallery of Ireland this festive season to celebrate their 50th Annual Christmas Family Art Holiday from 27th - 31st December. The longest running museum activity in Ireland, the fun, creative, cultural event is now firmly part of the tradition of Christmas in the capital. The event includes family art workshops in the gallery’s atrium, fascinating family tours, and music in the Millennium Wing. All the events events are free, with booking only necessary for the afternoon workshops (27th - 29th December). Be sure to bring sketchpads and colours to get culturally creative at this now legendary occasion Children should be accompanied by an adult at all times. To book, contact the Education Department from 1st December. Civic Theatre Pantomime: Sleeping Beauty the whole gang together for all the fun of the festive pantomime with Sleeping Beauty at the Civic Theatre on selected dates between 22nd December and 4th January. A royal party is being thrown to celebrate the arrival of the new baby, Princess Aurora, but the local witch isn’t invited – leading her to get very grumpy indeed. When the disgruntled witch gatecrashes the do, things start to go spectacularly downhill. With her wicked spells flying, everybody in the village had better look out! Will the princess be protected? Will the princess prick her finger on a spinning wheel? Will the villagers have to pay the new charges for breathing air? Find out at this year’s mad Christmas panto from the superb Causeway Productions at the Civic Theatre, Tallaght. Performances   Monday, 22nd December 2014 – 7.30pm Tuesday, 23rd December 2014 – 7.30pm Saturday, 27th December 2014 – 2.30pm and 6.30pm Sunday, 28th December 2014 – 2.30pm and 6.30pm Monday, 29th December 2014 – 7.30pm Tuesday, 30th December 2014 – 7.30pm Thursday, 1st January 2015 – 6.30pm Friday, 2nd January 2015 – 7.30pm Saturday, 3rd January 2015 – 2.30pm (sold out) and 6.30pm Sunday, 4th January 2015 – 2.30pm and 6.30pm  Christmas & Hanukkah Light Installation a slice of culture and creativity amid the Christmas shopping rush with a light installation at Clarke Square, Collins Barracks on 21st December. Drop by the square on the shortest day of the year and see the existing installation - Pebbledash House - illuminated as the Christmas and Hanukkah ‘Living Room’ Light installation. Along with the captivating installation, Keren Rosenberg perform some contemporary dance too. A free event with no booking required, it’s suitable for all ages.   Winter Solstice Special Tour the winter solstice, 21st December - the shortest day of the year, by discovering just how the ancient people of the Northern Hemisphere marked it - with a tour of the Prehistoric Ireland exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology.  View grave goods from the Neolithic passage tombs at Newgrange and Knowth, Co. Meath, and discover the skills used to create some of Ireland’s most famous monuments and artefacts.  Places are limited to 20 and no booking is required on this intriguing seasonal tour. Suitable for ages 12+. Free Event. Bolshoi Ballet Live: The Nutcracker incredible opportunity to experience the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet perform live from Moscow via satellite, enjoy their performance of The Nutcracker from the comfort of Dublin’s Lighthouse Cinema on 21st December. Based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story, The Nutcracker is one of the world’ great classics. On Christmas Eve, Marie’s godfather, Drosselmeyer, gives her a strange toy: a wooden nutcracker carved in the shape of a little man. At midnight, when the celebrations are over, all the toys magically spring to life! The nutcracker grows to human size and takes charge of the tin soldiers, flying to the rescue of Marie, who is threatened by the Mouse King and his mouse army. With exquisite and iconic music by Tchaikovsky, audiences will revel at the enchanting sets and costumes in this beautiful tale of love, power and evil. This choreographic version, created for the Bolshoi by Yuri Grigorovich, is full of romanticism and philosophical reflections on ideal love. Masterfully interpreted by the Bolshoi dancers, it will enchant the whole family for the festive season, proving that one is never too young or too old to be swept away by The Nutcracker. Tickets Adults €20 Child/student €10 Carols for Christmas Christmas with the international award-winning New Dublin Voices, as they create a cosy festive atmosphere with carols, songs, readings and poems at Draiocht this December. Young or old, audiences won’t fail to be in high spirits with laughs, stories, fun and festivities in the auditorium that’s set to be buzzing with good cheer. So pop in from the cold, and sit back and enjoy the arrival of Christmas and the cherished goodwill that it brings. Tickets Full price €15 Concession €12 Family of four €40 The Christmas Concert Special Guest Meav and live shadow puppet animation by Matthew Robbins. A magical concert designed for all the family, Raymond Briggs’s captivating film has established itself as part of the Christmas festivities for young and old, accompanied by Howard Blake’s score played live by the Orchestra of the National Concert Hall. For 2014, alongside the Walking in the Air and the festive classics, we are pleased to add magical live puppet animation by Matthew Robins and traditional Christmas songs with special guest, the beautiful singer, Meav for a magical and musical Christmas Celebration. Suitable for young children, this is an opportunity for the whole family to share in the music and the magic of Christmas. Experience the magic of the remarkable friendship between James and his snowman and delight in this holiday tradition. A special guest narrator will tell the story of James and the flying snowman as you watch the film on a big screen.   A phenomenally popular festive concert, early booking is recommended. Click here for bookings   Elf the Musical months Irish theatre enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating what big show will be unveiled as this year’s Christmas show, at the theatre. We have been tight lipped until now as we have been working on something really special! We are so excited and delighted to reveal that The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre will host ‘ELF THE MUSICAL’ this December. The show will open on December 16th 2014 for a strictly limited season. Join the festive fun as this magical Christmas extravagance comes to Dublin – but don't be on the naughty list by missing out, make sure you book your tickets! Miracle on 34th Street some magical festive cinema with the heartwarming Miracle on 34th Street at Draiocht on 16th December. Starring the late Richard Attenborough as old St Nick, a little girl discovers dreams do come true if you really believe. Six-year-old Susan has doubts about childhood's most enduring miracle - Santa Claus, and so doesn't expect to receive the most important gifts on her Christmas list. But after meeting a special department store Santa who's convinced he's the real thing, Susan is given the most precious gift of all - something to believe in. With two showings, at 4pm and 7.30pm, don’t miss this festive favourite. Local film scholars Ann Downey and Mary Gillan will also provide a brief introduction to the film and lead a free discussion afterwards. Ticket price includes an optional small pre-film hot chocolate at Draiocht's Betelnut Cafe. Tickets Adults €8.50 Concession €7 Children €5   Christmas Craft & Food Fair @ Seamus Ennis Centre well and truly into that Christmas spirit with the annual Christmas Craft & Food Fair at the Seamus Ennis Arts Centre on 14th December. Indulge in all manner of yuletide treats including mulled wine and a wide array of seasonal, high quality, crafts and food. With superbly crafted pottery, jewellery, stained glass, kids’ clothes, soaps, willow baskets, handmade cheese, jams, chutneys, Christmas cakes and much more available on the day, you might find that perfect gift for someone too.  Children from Clonalvy National School will also be entertaining shoppers with Christmas carols under the old chestnut tree outside the centre at 3pm. Yuletide Greeting @ National Museum of Ireland you know that many popular Christmas traditions have their roots in the Viking celebration of mid-winter known as Yule? If you didn’t, why not bring the kids to the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology to learn all about Yule traditions and much more. A free, drop-in event, create your own runic (ancient Germanic language of Northern Europe) Yule tree decorations to take home, and discover what other elements of their traditions we’ve adopted today. Pop in from 11am - 12pm, or 2pm - 3pm on 13th December. Suitable for ages 6+, no is booking required for this event. Venue Learning Resource Room (first floor) National Museum of Ireland Archaeology Kildare Street Dublin 2   Christmas Cracker Market for its fifth year of festive fun, treasures and trinkets, don’t miss the Dublin Flea & Block T Christmas Cracker Market from 12th - 14th December. Taking place on the second weekend of December, get cosy and Christmassy in the capital at this glorious mix of flea, vintage, retro, furniture, vinyl, clothes, craft, art, handmade, and great value goods in Smithfield Square, Dublin 7. Showcasing the very best of Dublin’s independent trading scene, bargain hunters can also relax after a hard day’s haggle with delicious food, coffees and scrumptious seasonal treats. The perfect way to spread and share the Christmas cheer in twinkling, fairy-lit, delightful Dublin.     Live Animal Crib @ Mansion House Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke hosts the Live Animal Crib outside his home, the historic Mansion House, on Dawson Street this December. This year the crib will be launched on the 9th of December at 11am (further details to be confirmed). The launch will see performances from local choirs, street entertainers and even some face painting for the children. The live crib is constructed so it is the actual size of the nativity stable to give everyone an idea of what kind of conditions people lived in during biblical times. The animals don’t stay in the stable each night, but are brought in every morning and returned to the farm in the evening. The crib will close for another year at approximately 2pm on 24th December. Although admission is free the public may give a contribution.     Red Riding Hood's Dangerous Christmas Adventure the family together for some all-ages Christmas entertainment with Red Riding Hood’s Dangerous Christmas Adventure! It's Christmas Eve and Red Riding Hood is on her way to Granny's house for Christmas. She has some of Granny’s favourite mince pies, some chocolate fingers and a huge marshmallow. Just in case Santa forgets she won't be in her own house, she has written him a note letting him know just where to leave her Christmas surprise. But! Danger lurks... It's way past lunchtime and the Big Bad Wolf is watching, his tummy rumbling with hunger. He loves chocolate fingers and simply adores marshmallows. To the hungry Big Bad Wolf, Red Riding Hood is looking pretty delicious, and he intends to gobble everything up - including Granny! If Santa arrives, will the Big Bad Wolf gobble him too? Who can save Red Riding Hood from becoming lunch, or will she summon some Girl Power? Perhaps a mysterious figure will come out of the woodwork to help... With songs to sing along to and plenty of opportunities to hiss and boo the wonderfully wicked Big Bad Wolf, cheer on the brave and lovely little Red Riding Hood at the Mill Theatre’s fantastic Christmas show. It’s Big, Bad and Bonkers! Performances Monday - Friday, 10am and 11.15am from 8th December. Weekends 13th - 14th, 20th - 21st, and Monday 22nd, Tuesday 23rd - shows twice daily at 12.30pm and 2.30pm. Tickets Adults €12.50 Children under-12 €10 Family of four €40 Medieval Christmas @ National Museum of Ireland Archaeology just what Christmas was like in Medieval times with an afternoon of exploration at the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology on 7th December. From the atmospheric smells and tastes, to the sights and skills of the period, there’s so much festive fun to to be had. Enjoy candlemaking with the chandler, superb seasonal music played on the hurdy gurdy, harp, lute and recorder, a scriptor cleric will be present to help kids with their letters, and an array of authentic food and spices to taste.  With Medieval games, and maybe even some magic, don’t miss captivating Christmas event for all ages. Free, with no booking required. Christmas Experience at Malahide Castle the magic of Christmas with your little ones this festive season at Santa’s Grotto in the beautiful surrounds of Malahide Castle, between 5th and 23rd December. The ideal yuletide day out for the whole family, meet Santa, Mrs Claus and their team of happy elves and spread the Christmas cheer. Enjoy a magical guided tour of the stunning castle and hear some wonderful storytelling from a few of Santa's friends. But watch out! There may be one or two not-so-festive characters hanging around too... but luckily the beautiful Snow Queen will be on hand to sprinkle you with a magical Christmas wish! Grown-ups can enjoy mince pies and mulled wine while taking the magical Christmas tour with their little ones.  Santa’s visits are set to be incredibly popular, so be sure to book in advance. Tickets Children €15 Adults €6 Winter Funderland all the magic of Christmas with Winter Funderland, a fantastic festival of family entertainment all packed into Dublin’s RDS, from 5th December to 11th January. Enjoy all the thrills of Funderland, glide around with iSkate on Ice - Ireland’s largest Christmas ice rink, and delight at Fossett's Christmas Circus. iSkate Ice skating has become an exciting part of an Irish Christmas, when you get your skates at the RDS you'll cover an astonishing area in excess of 1,000 sq. metres. Enjoy an unrivalled skating experience, with junior skaters catered for with the Magic Vacations rink for children ages 3+ upwards, and special off-peak, group and family rates. Glide across the ice this festive season for some truly wonderful memories.  Funderland An integral part of Christmas in Dublin, it has been said that Funderland is an annual appointment for thousands of families. The largest indoor themepark in Europe, Funderland boasts rides of all shapes and sizes, from Bounceworld and the Fun Factory, to the Take Off and Inversion XXL “white-knuckle” attractions.   Ideal for all ages and tastes, delight in a host of games of skill and chance, and maybe even win one of Funderland’s famous soft toys. Besides being able to Pay-As-You-Go Funderland offers a wristband option that may be used for any three consecutive hours of your choice for unlimited rides - subject to the usual height and safety restrictions. If you buy wristbands online you save money and get an additional bonus hour, so your wristband can be used an unlimited number of times for any four consecutive hours! Fossett's Christmas Circus Sit back, relax and enter the Magical World of Circus  - where the impossible can (and does) happen! Marvel at the dexterity of the circus' jugglers, the skills of its acrobats and the sheer bravery of the aerial daredevils. Stare in wonder at the contortionist and be amazed by the Circus Illusionist! Cry with laughter as Clown Otto tries to help Santa make his way back to the North Pole in time for that very special night.Join Marion Fossett as she leads the circus artists and audience in a seasonal sing-a-long. Presented by the world famous Fossett family, Fossett's Christmas Circus will thrill, amaze and entertain you and your family this festive season. See the Winter Funderland website for more information. Switching On Smithfield Square’s Christmas Tree Lights the Christmas cheer across Smithfield Square on 4th December. With a free, open-air concert to mark the square’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the place will be brimming with fun and festivities, and a host of very special guests who are yet to be announced. Watch this yuletide space! Gala Christmas Concert ready for some festive cheer and yuletide tunes with Draiocht’s Christmas Gala Concert on 3rd December. The Blanchardstown Brass Band and the Dublin Male Voice Choir shall combine their talents once again for this seasonal showcase in aid of the Coolmine Therapeutic Community. Get the family together, sit back, relax and herald in the Christmas season at this lively evening of festive fun. With Zdenek Ondrousek and Áine Mulvey as musical directors, expect solo items and audience participation on an evening that will appeal to people of all ages. That much-loved sprinkling of cosy Christmas magic just might come a little early this year thanks to this feel good show.   The ESB Great Christmas Concert the family together and find yourselves spellbound by the festive entertainment at The ESB Great Christmas Concert presented by the Dublin Choral Foundation, on 3rd December. Sing along to all your favourite carols under the magic baton of Dr Ite O’Donovan with the Lassus Scholars, Piccolo Lasso Children’s Choir, The Orlando Chamber Orchestra and wonderful guest soloists including soprano Kim Sheehan. A fantastic way to kick off the festive season, this family event is suitable for children young and old, and is sure to have both entranced in the Christmas spirit.  With a programme of incredible choral performances; instrumental soloists, appearances by ESB Feis Ceoil winners; and plenty of opportunities for the audience to sing along to those festive favourites - the Christmas cheer will be palpable throughout the National Concert Hall. Time: 8pm Price: €10 - €30 Dublin Docklands Christmas Market's favourite Christmas Festival is back again for the 10th consecutive year, bringing Christmas cheer and magical festive treats to the heart of Dublin from the IFSC at Georges Dock This year promises to be bigger and better than ever with a few surprises added to the regular line of events including an entertainment area taking place on the event platform in George's Dock. The Victorian Carnival, the fantastic artisan food and craft market and of course Santa's grotto will all be back to help make your festival experience a magical one. Opening hours: - Monday to Wednesday from 12 noon to 8pm  - Thursday and Friday from 12 noon to 10pm  - Saturday 10am to 10p  - Sunday 10am to 8pm Click here for more information   Peter Pan Christmas Pantomine Gaiety Theatre presents Peter Pan, its 2014 Christmas Panto! Associated with The Gaiety Theatre almost since the theatre first opened, the licence granted to The Gaiety’s original owners, John and Michael Gunn included permission to stage pantomime which they presented for the first time in December 1873. Both the Theatre Royal and the Queen’s have long since been demolished but The Gaiety and her annual pantomime continue to deliver fun and excitement to new generations. While an outside company used to be responsible for presenting the panto, it has been produced by The Gaiety since 1996. Switching On O'Connell Street Christmas Tree Lights over to Dublin’s iconic O’Connell Street and see Lord Mayor Christy Burke officially turn on the street’s impressive Christmas tree lights, ringing in the festive season for the capital. On Sunday 30th November, spread the yuletide cheer and join in the festivities with the Geansai Nollaig (Christmas jumper) World Record attempt happening there too. Crowds of people will arrive in their suitably festive jumpers and try to break the record for the most people wearing them all at one time. Christmas is sure to arrive in Dublin in fine, reindeer-patterned style. Santa @ Butlers Chocolate Experience the little ones to meet Santa Claus this Christmas at Butlers Chocolate Experience, Dublin between 30th November and 23rd December. Indulge in the magic and wonder of a festive version of the Ultimate Chocolate Experience tour at Butlers Chocolate Experience, and then visit Santa himself - completely free! Kids and adults can dive right into the most wonderful time of the year and get their picture taken with Santa for an additional €5, after enjoying the fun, festive tour. With hot chocolate, delicious Christmas chocolate treats and gifts in the onsite Butlers Chocolate Café, it’s the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season with the whole family. Dates Santa visits on November 30th, December, 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd only. Tickets Entry is €13.50 and must be pre-booked. Savings of 5% can be made when booked online. Christmas Elves Family Workshop in some Christmas festivities with the kids thanks to Draíocht’s Christmas Elves Family Workshop on 29th November. Join artist and puppet maker Jane Fogarty and get crafty making some Christmas elf puppets. Escape the sheer shopping madness and spend a fun Saturday with your little elves at this creative workshop. All materials are provided but do wear old clothes or an overall to remain mess-free. Be sure to book early, as these popular workshops sell out fast. Workshop One: 4-6 years, 11am-12.30pm Workshop Two: 7-9 years, 1pm-2.30pm All children must be accompanied by an adult and all adults must be accompanied by a child. Please adhere to age recommendations - workshops have been especially catered for this age range. Tickets €10 per child, accompanying adult goes free. Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival the joy of the yuletide season in the pictorial seaside town of Dun Laoghaire with its fantastic Christmas Festival from 29th November to 23rd December.  Swap the busy, city-centre crowds and shopping centres for a stroll along the pier and a dip in Dun Laoghaire’s palpable festive spirit.   Browse, shop, relax and soak up the atmosphere at the open-air Christmas Market, get nostalgic with old-world children’s amusements, marvel at fireworks displays, take on the free treasure hunts, watch the enchanting lantern procession, visit Santa’s Grotto, see the traditional Christmas crib, join in the carol singing, and even be part of a World Record attempt at this fantastic array of seasonal events. Discover Christmas along Dublin’s coastline at lively Dun Laoghaire in 2014. The festival runs Fridays to Sundays from 29th November to 23rd December, it also runs on the Monday and Tuesday of Christmas week. Santa’s Grotto at Dublin Zoo the magic of Christmas at the ever-popular Dublin Zoo this festive season and take the little ones to meet Santa Claus himself, between 29th November and 24th December. Enjoy a trip through the enchanting grotto and receive a warm welcome from Santa’s happy elves in the toy workshop. Then meet the man of the moment, Santa Claus! Each child will have their picture taken with Santa and receive a special gift to take home too. After meeting Santa, children can explore the wonders of Dublin Zoo by visiting the latest new arrivals, such as the three Asian elephant calves, two Asian lion cubs, a zebra foal and a Rothschild giraffe. Children can also take part in fun Christmas activities in Roberts House every Saturday and Sunday from 29th November from 12noon – 3pm.   Dates 29th - 30th November: 10am - 4pm 6th - 7th December: 10am - 4pm 13th - 14th December: 10am - 4pm 20th - 24th December: 10am - 4pm Tickets Children €9 (non-annual pass holders) Children €8 (annual pass holders) Normal admission rates to Dublin Zoo apply. Last entry to Santa is 3pm. Aunty Ben award-winning, socially and equality-minded theatre for all the family with Aunty Ben at Smock Alley Theatre on 28th November. “… a charming tale of how, with a little more understanding, the world could be a much better place.” Julian Caddy, Brighton Fringe Festival Director Nine-year old Tracey loves her Aunty Ben. It doesn’t matter to her that Aunty Ben is actually her uncle, or that he’s a drag queen, because in Tracey’s family dressing up is for everyone! But when Ben meets her school friends, Tracey is shocked to discover that other people’s families can be very different to her own. Written by Sian Ní Mhuirí, and incorporating magical animations from artist Hanae Seida (whose credits include Disney Japan and Oscar-nominated film The Illusionist), Aunty Ben is a colourful and playful exploration of gender, family, love and happiness for all audiences aged 7+. Winner of the IdeasTap Brighton Fringe Award 2014, and the Doric Wilson Intercultural Dialogue Award at the 11th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, this unique production is presented by Irish theatre company Super Paua, which strive to make brave work for young audiences. Tickets Adults €12 Children €7 A Most Peculiar Wintry Thing up and discover the wonder in all things snowy at The Ark’s A Most Peculiar Wintry Thing from 22nd November to 21st December. Winter is the most enchanting of seasons, as the nights draw in and the days get colder, a rolling snowball of four fantastic musicians and some light fingered animation will explore the magic and mystery of all things snowy. Looking back on our favourite memories of winter and creating some new ones too, this specially commissioned show will capture everyone’s imagination. Featuring a dynamic blend of original music, improvisation and audience interaction, this brand new festive music show by composer Brian Irvine is the ideal way to begin the festive season and share the festive spirit. Performances Preview - Saturday 22nd November: 2pm, 4pm Saturday 29th November: 2pm, 4pm Saturday 13th and Sun 14th December: 2pm, 4pm Saturday 20th and 21st December: 2pm, 4pm Tickets €9 - €12 Family ticket €40 for four people Suitable for ages 4+ Food and Wine Magazine Christmas Show three-day food and drink extravaganza, that will show you how to recreate world class dishes in the comfort of your own home! The RDS Main Hall in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the weekend. Santa will be there all weekend as our guest of honour with gifts for all! (ALL FOR FREE!!) The Chef’s Kitchen which will be the heart of the show featuring Ireland’s top chefs.  Learn from the masters and recreate some of their favourite Christmas dishes at home with fabulous produce available in our Artisan Village.  The Drinks Zone is also ideal for wine enthusiasts and experts who want to learn more about wine matches, tasting, grape varietals and even how to pull a cork with flair! Between demos on the chef’s stage, there are a host of fantastic free masterclasses to enjoy.  Inspired by Ireland’s top FOOD&WINE Magazine experts in our FREE Master classes, which will cover topics such as Wine & Champagne tasting, Cocktail-making, Cheeses and Chocolates and much more! Click here for bookings and information   St Stephen's Green Christmas Market more than 60 trade concessions located in traditional wooden chalets along the exterior of St Stephen’s Green Park between Grafton Street and Merrion Row, the Market will offer a unique selection of quality Irish made handcrafted gift items, including accessories, woodcrafts, jams, preserves and prints, as well as seasonal food and drinks to include charcoal grills, crepes, bratwurst, chocolate fountain, gluhwein, and other seasonal non-alcoholic drinks.  Traditional Christmas Markets originate from the centre of Europe, and are extremely popular in countries including Austria, Germany, Northern Italy and France. While Christmas is a peak time for retailers, Christmas Markets have proven to be extremely successful in attracting additional people into town centres and encouraging consumers to spend their money locally as opposed to shopping online.  Entertainment from local choirs and carollers will also help get visitors into the festive spirit. The market will be organised in conjunction with the official Dublin at Christmas celebrations, which is a partnership between Dublin City BID and Dublin City Council. It will be launched on 13th November, the same day that the Grafton Street Christmas lights are turned on, transforming the city centre into a wonderful winter wonderland.   The market will be free to the public and will open daily from 12 noon to 8pm.    Dublin's Christmas Lights real marker of when Christmas begins is when the city starts to feel like a sparkling seasonal wonderland, so kick off the festive period in style and see Dublin's Christmas lights get switched on, on various dates between 13th and 30th November. Grafton Street, 13th November, 4pm The switching on of Grafton Street's lights also marks the opening of the Dublin at Christmas Market on St Stephen's Green. Dublin's first ever traditional, city-centre Christmas market, more than 60 traders will be dotted around the exterior of St Stephen's Green park and Merrion Row, all in cosy wooden chalets. Visitors can peruse a unique selection of quality Irish made handcrafted gift items, including accessories, woodcrafts, jams, preserves and prints, as well as scrumptious seasonal food and drink; with charcoal grills, crepes, bratwurst, a chocolate fountain, and glühwein all available.  As always, a well known face or two will switch on the lights and this year is no exception with Dublin natives Original Rudeboys doing the honours. Joining them is actor Laurence Kinlan, lauded for his role as Elmo in RTE's Love/Hate, who'll help kick off the capital's festive feeling. Henry Street, 16th November, 3pm Spread the cosy Christmas cheer and see Henry Street’s Christmas lights illuminate the city on Sunday 16th November. Dublin group Original Rudeboys will be doing the illumination honours on the day, spreading that captivating Christmas feeling in the capital.  O'Connell Street, 30th November, 3.30pm Pop over to Dublin’s iconic O’Connell Street on 30th November to see Lord Mayor Christy Burke officially turn on the street’s impressive Christmas tree lights and ring in the festive season for the capital. Spread the yuletide cheer and join in the festivities with the Geansai Nollaig (Christmas jumper) World Record attempt happening there too. Crowds of people will arrive in their suitably festive jumpers and try to break the record for the most people wearing them all at one time. Christmas is sure to arrive in Dublin in fine, reindeer-patterned style. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and where better to kick off the season of goodwill than in the Christmassy capital?  Christmas Elf Art Experience your little ones into the Christmas spirit with Draíocht’s Tiny Tots Christmas Elf Art Experience. Taking place on Thursdays for five weeks (6th November - 4th December), artist Orla Kelly’s carefully created, exciting series of weekly workshops encourage parents and children to have fun while learning through the arts. The sessions are designed around the show Elf Factory, which parents and children will attend at the workshops’ end, 11th December at 10am. Using themes from the Elf Factory show, Kelly’s sessions explore a variety of creative and playful elements that include storytelling, movement, painting, building, creative investigation, music making, exploration of colours and shapes, drawing and so much more. Early booking is advised as places are limited. These sessions are suitable for children aged two to four years. Price €35 for five-week workshop. Show attendance (Elf Factory) forms a vital part of this project and is at an additional cost of €5 per child and €6 per adult.