Insider Tips

Dublin’s Most Snappable Christmas Scenes

By Visit Dublin

6th December 2018

Dublin is a place that has no qualms about embracing the Christmas season. Streets are decked out with adornments, garlands are strewn aplenty and early sunsets provide an ideal backdrop for the twinkling lights that illuminate our fair city. These festive scenes also make for top-notch pictures for photo-hounds on the lookout for that perfect shot.

Twinkling trees and a secret Santa

What’s a Christmas album without a photo of a beautiful tree? Two extra-special examples are the Christmas ChariTrees, at Liffey Street Upper and South King Street. More than just pretty, each is fitted with a terminal where you can #TapForTempleStreet and give to the children's hospital. When your contactless donation activates the trees' lights, be ready to capture a great memory – while you're also doing good.

One of the city's seasonal centrepieces is the tree gracing O'Connell Street. Sited near the equally-photogenic Spire, the tree's lights provide the perfect backdrop for a selfie or Insta-moment. Meanwhile, right next door, the GPO is offering its very own super-snappable Christmas Experience. You and the little ones can see how letters make their way to the North Pole; meet Santa’s Postman and the Elves – and visit Santa in his secret grotto hidden in the GPO Courtyard.

Streets, bridges and buildings all aglow

The lights on Dublin’s iconic shopping stretches never fail to dazzle, perennially making for the perfect festive shots. Grafton Street's stunning chandelier lights – designed by the same people who lit up the Eiffel Tower in Paris – are always guaranteed to add a touch of class to Yuletide photography.

This year is even more spectacular than usual thanks to Winter Lights Dublin City: a show so bright, it'll be seen from planes landing at Dublin Airport! Appearing in 13 iconic sites around town, 157,800 low-power LEDs, 100 tonnes of equipment and 15,780 metres of cable illuminate the city in a whole new way. Catch the enhanced displays on city streets and customised projections between sunset and 2am each night, and be one of the first to capture the sight for posterity.

Wonderful windows and hidden treasures

A trip down Henry Street to see the enchanting Arnotts windows is an essential part of Christmas. This year, they tell the story of Ben, a small boy seeking the perfect gift for his family. Even better, interactive elements at kids' eye level allow little hands to trigger special effects within the display. Another must-see, Grafton Street's Brown Thomas has been inspired by film, theatre and musicals for 'It's Showtime' – your chance to create stylish images full of Hollywood glamour and Broadway glitz.

Leading off Grafton Street, there's an easily-overlooked laneway: Johnson's Court. Lined with jewellers, it's normally known for the sparkle of its diamonds – and at Christmas it shimmers even brighter with lights draped overhead, ideal for revelers hoping to catch that offbeat festive snap. At the end of the lane, you'll find the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. Tucked away in an historic building it's known for its shopping, and also as a refuge from nippy weather. The setting is perfect for a break, a bite – and a Christmassy photo or two. 

Timeless traditions and new favourites

Putting smiles on faces for generations of festive family group portraits, one of the city's oldest Christmas scenes is The Moving Crib at Saint Martin Apostolate on Parnell Square. The unique display of antique statues has been part of Dublin's Christmas for 62 years, and entry is free. Situated in the basement of the Georgian building, the display also includes other entertaining stories such as Noah's Ark.

Another treat for all ages, Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo returns with an invitation to dive into an Ocean of Light. An entirely new cast of illuminated giant silk lanterns celebrates the wonders of the deep, from giant squid to blue whales to dainty seahorses (with some polar bears and penguins thrown in for good measure). Traditional Chinese performers, a craft market and Asian food offerings all add to a wildly photo-worthy experience.


Hardy souls and wintry strolls

​If you didn’t post a snap of yourself shivering in togs at The Forty Foot, did it even happen? In early December, those ready to brave the waters of Sandycove will be 'Freezin' for a Reason' when they take The Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. Meanwhile, the annual Christmas Day swim offers punters the opportunity for a bracing holiday dip into the choppy waters – or simply a good photo op for the rest of us watching (all bundled up in our scarves and gloves).

If you fancy a stroll rather than a swim, wrap up warm and head for The Phoenix Park for a brisk walk. Beautiful anytime of year, it's the perfect antidote for cabin fever – and if you're lucky enough to spot the roaming deer, they're not averse to striking a pose. When you're ready to head back indoors, the fine-featured Georgian-Victorian Farmleigh House is ready for its close-up with a Christmas Programme including Food & Craft Markets, a Festive Crib, live music performances, a Puppet Show and Storytelling.


Those are only some of the most scenic shots in Dublin, but there are plenty of beautiful spots just waiting to be photographed. Be sure to tag your snap with #LoveDublin and you might just see yourself in our next article.

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