Insider Tips

Dublin’s Most Snappable Christmas Scenes

By Visit Dublin

13th December 2020

Dublin pulls out all the stops for the holidays. Streets are decked with garlands and glitter, and early sunsets make an ideal background for the twinkling lights illuminating our fair city. These scenes also provide top notch opportunities for those always on the lookout for that perfect seasonal shot.

Take a Vintage Tea Trip with St Nick

For a truly moving way to meet Santa, hop on the Vintage Tea Trips 1960s Routemaster bus for their special Santa Afternoon Tea Trip. Tuck into sweet and savoury delights including mince pies on a jolly 70-minute tour. The upper deck of the bus is a winter wonderland on wheels, complete with elves to entertain you, while the lower deck is Santa's grotto where kids will tell him what they really want for Christmas. With a gift for every child and a chance to get that all important photo, this gets the holiday season rolling along nicely.

Have a cuppa and and meet Santa on a Vintage Tea Trip

Visit Santa's grotto at EPIC

Make it an unforgettable Christmas for you and the little ones by visiting Santa's Grotto at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. Old Saint Nick and his team of EPIC elves can't wait to see you, and your family group will book a time slot to ensure personal facetime with Himself. You'll get a printed photo taken by a professional photographer, Christmas Museum Trail Pack and age appropriate gifts from Santa for the kids. Included in the admission is a hot chocolate and a snack to be enjoyed next door in Bakehouse at the CHQ, for one more chance to top up your Instagram feed with a visually tempting sweet treat.

See Grafton Street looking gorgeous

The lights on Dublin’s iconic shopping stretches never fail to dazzle, making for highly shareable photos every year. Grafton Street's stunning chandeliers were designed by the same team who lit up the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and are guaranteed to add a touch of class to your Yuletide photography.

While you're here, the windows at Brown Thomas always deliver maximum glitz and glamour. The 2021 theme of 'Those Who Shine' pays homage to the golden era of disco. The retro styling and wildly inventive displays will transport you back in time to the 70s.

Soak up the atmosphere on Grafton Street

Seek out hidden treasures

Leading off Grafton Street, there's an easily-overlooked laneway called Johnson's Court. Lined with jewellers, it's normally known for the sparkle of its diamonds. But at Christmas, it shimmers even brighter with lights draped overhead, ideal for revellers 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. 

Enjoy enchantment at night

Wonderlights at Malahide Castle and Gardens provides a kaleidoscope of shifting colour with its 'Castle of Light' this year. See striking illuminated animals and wander the magically lit woods after sunset. A brilliant treat for all ages, as you stroll the grounds you'll be immersed in a one of a kind experience. 

Dublin City Council is bringing back Winter Lights for its 4th year in 2021. Clever animated transformations of the cityscape will brighten the nights between sunset and 2am. Head over to Dame Street's Barnardo Square to see a projected display of artwork by local children on the theme of 'Dublin’s Winter Wildlife'.

Walk through an enchanted wood at Wonderlights

Revisit timeless traditions on Parnell Square

Putting smiles on faces for generations of 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 celebrations for 65 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.

Capture twinkly trees and bustling streets

What’s a Christmas album without glowing trees? One of the city's seasonal centrepieces is the large evergreen gracing O'Connell Street. Placed near the equally photogenic and shiny Spire, the tree's thousands of lights provide the backdrop for a selfie or Insta-moment.

Or take a minute out of your shopping schedule to check out stunningly decorated St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre or Jervis Shopping Centre. Combined with the hustle and bustle of shoppers finding everything on their gift lists, the atmosphers is sure to put you in a festive mood.

See the tree lighting up the centre of O'Connell Street

Go for a wintry stroll in Phoenix Park

If you fancy a stroll to clear the cobwebs away, head for The Phoenix Park for a brisk walk. Beautiful at any time of the year, it's the perfect antidote for cabin fever. And if you're lucky enough to spot the roaming herds of deer, they're not averse to striking a pose. 

Grab a hot drink from the Phoenix Park Tea Rooms or the Dash shipping container cafe to keep you warm as you blow off the cobwebs and get a hit of nature at the heart of the city. 

Make new memories at Dublin Zoo

A treat for all ages, Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo returns to take you on a journey 'Around the World'. The whole family will enjoy the unique experience of the zoo after dark as you stroll through hundreds of illuminated giant silk lanterns. Check out the pyramids of ancient Egypt with the children, hold hands by the Eiffel Tower and spot the many other instantly recognisable icons from around the globe.

Travel 'Around The World' with Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo

Take a festive dip at The Forty Foot

​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 splash into the choppy waters, or simply a good photo op for the rest of us watching (all bundled up in our scarves and gloves).

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

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