While we still live with the reality of COVID-19, this year’s Christmas theme appears to be “Let the bells ring and the children sing, it’s Christmas time again”. Shops and homes are decorated with baubles, glitter and twinkly trees and people hurry to and fro, as they pop into shops to pick up those all-important gifts.
Despite all that has happened over the last year there is much to be grateful for, to experience and much to enjoy this Christmas in Carlow.
Join in the Carlow Christmas experience by attending one of the many musical events and firework displays throughout town and county, grabbing a delicious bite to eat or picking up something you just have to have at a local craft fair or shopping with your bestie, your family or even on your own if you’re taking some much needed me time.
1. Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven – daily
Did you know that Santa sends his reindeer to Ireland to get ready for their long journey on Christmas Eve? He trusts all the staff at Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven to take the very best care of his beloved reindeer, and they’re at the Arboretum now so make sure and pay a visit! They will feel right at home with all of the beautiful, magical Christmas displays this year. It’s a wonderland of garlands, trees, decorations for both out-and-indoors, magic, sparkle and shine to create your theme for Christmas 2021! There is something to suit every home from the bright dazzle of The Darkest White to the rustic charm of Winter Bliss. Dreams of Christmas Past revels in traditional Christmas colours, while Blush Wonderland is a glimpse into a magical festive forest. This is a Christmas shopping experience like no other, with Arboretum recently voted Irish Retailer of the Year 2021.
For the kids there’s a yummy Christmas Breakfast or Supper with Santa singing all of their favourite festive songs along with Santa, Mrs Claus and the elves and an individual visit to the big man himself. There are limited places available so make sure to book soon at https://www.arboretum.ie/christmas-at-arboretum/
Old Kilkenny Road, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow, R93 P9F4
T: 059 972 1558 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.arboretum.ie
2. Rathwood Santa Train – daily
The Santa Train is back! This year, Spotlight Productions (the genius team behind The Late Late Toy Show) have created a vision like no other. This is an extremely popular event so please go to the website now to book your place and to take note of the COVID-19 guidelines. Make the most of your Rathwood experience and take in some seasonal shopping too.
Rathwood, Rath, Tullow, Co. Carlow, R93 X3F9
T: 059 915 6285 E: email@example.com W: https://santatrain.ie/santa/tickets
3. Christmas at Huntington Castle – each weekend until Christmas Saturday and Sunday
Open each weekend in November and December until Christmas (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.) for house and garden tours and estate walks. After your visit take a well-earned break in the beautiful tea rooms, selling a full range of goodies and gifts which make an ideal gift or stocking filler. Walk the fields and select your own top class Christmas tree or pick a pre-cut tree from the courtyard.
Clonegal, Co. Carlow, Y21 K237
T: 053 937 7160 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.huntingtoncastle.com
4. Christmas Hampers from Coolanowle Foodhall and Café – Open Tuesday – Saturday weekly
This foodie’s paradise tantalises diners with meat from their own organic farm on the Carlow/Laois border. Coolanowle has a strong ethos of supporting local food producers and champions organic food. You can create your own hamper from delicious breads, cakes, meats, and even Irish Wild Food Foragers. A welcome find under any Christmas tree to suit every budget.
7-8 Dublin Street, Carlow, R93 E434
T: 059 911 7391 E: email@example.com W: www.coolanowlefoodhall.ie
5. FORM Design Made in Carlow Pop-Up Shop Thursday, December 2nd – Friday, December 24th
Meet the makers of FORM this December in a special pop-up shop in Fairgreen Shopping Centre. Browse a selection of their latest high-quality ceramics, textiles, stone sculpture and jewellery to give your Christmas gifts that extra bit of sparkle!
Fairgreen Shopping Centre, Barrack Street Carlow
6. Tinryland Christmas Village Friday December 3rd – Sunday December 5th
Tinryland GAA is transforming into Tinryland’s Christmas Village to offer an outdoor market with 100+ stalls, a Santa Train, Santa’s Grotto, Christmas carols and lots, lots more. The stalls vary across food, craft and arts.
Barney and Dean Rock from Dublin GAA will open the weekend festivities on Friday, December 3rd followed by an art competition. St Clare’s Choir will end the night with Carols by Candlelight when the Christmas Tree lights are switched on.
Proceedings on Saturday and Sunday start at 10 a.m. with a sensory hour for all of those that need an extra hand getting through the market. The public will join from 11 a.m., Santa arrives at 12 noon and the festivities continue until 8 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday. Children can come enjoy a ride in Santa’s Express and meet the Man himself, get a photo and a small gift.
For tickets visit eventbrite
Tinryland GAA Grounds, directly accessible from the N80 Wexford Road, near Carlow Town (if travelling from Dublin/Waterford exit at junction 5 on the M9)
7. Christmas Lights Display at Delta Sensory Gardens Saturday, December 4th – Tuesday, December 21st
Nothing announces the arrival of the festive season like the annual Christmas lights display in Delta Sensory Gardens. The sensory gardens were created as a therapeutic outlet and with 16 individual gardens, everyone’s brand of tranquillity can be found here. At Christmas, Delta Sensory Gardens proudly presents an unrivalled display of lights that has delighted the crowd it draws for years. There’s also an opportunity to buy that special Christmas gift amongst the fabulous array of local artists and craft makers on display. The on-site Café Thyme sells a delicious range of home-made Christmas confectionery.
Strawhall Estate, Carlow T: 50-9143527 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.deltasensorygardens.ie
8. Carlow Farmers Market – Saturday December 4th, 11th, 18th and Thursday, 23rd December 2021
Carlow Farmers Market has proven hugely popular as customers embrace the wide variety of fresh fruit, conventional and organic vegetables, meats, juices and home baking on offer. Hampers of local goods, ready or made to order, speciality foods and a huge array of Christmas baking available.
Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., The Liberty Tree, Potato Market, Carlow Town; W: www.carlowfarmersmarket.com
9. Polly’s Creative Mini Moments Winter Workshop – Saturday, December 4th
A wonderful workshop for kids aged 6 – 10 with “Frozen” fun and games, seasonal arts and crafts, sensory play and mindfulness meditations. Held at Ballon Business and Training Centre on Saturday, December 4th from 11 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
To book, please contact Paula at 087 9647251
10. Carlow Choral Society Presents: Gloria; A Christmas Concert – Saturday December 4th
Featuring “Missa Carolae” by James Whitburn, Messiah Selection and favourite carols, this will be Christmas concert for any discerning music lover. Book tickets early as this is a popular event. Saturday December 4th at Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow Town.
Tickets available at Eventbrite
11. Sitting Room Sessions – Friday, December 10th 2021
Enjoy an evening of great music in the relaxed and intimate setting of the Milford Room at the Seven Oaks Hotel Carlow with some of Carlow’s most talented musicians. Featuring: Eric De Butléir, Fiach Moriarty, Justin Kelly, Karen O’Neill, John Kelly and Seán Byrne.Tickets are FREE and limited so get in quick!
The Milford Room, Seven Oaks Hotel – Friday December 10th at 8.00p.m.
12. Rathvilly Fireworks Display – Saturday, December 11th
Rathvilly GAA are hosting a Family Fireworks display on December 11th (5 p.m.) at Rathvilly GAA Club. The skies of northeast Carlow will be set alight and this event is bound to be fun for all of the family.
13. Tullow Christmas Variety Show, Mount Wolseley Hotel – Tuesday December 14th
Mount Wolseley hotel will be the host venue for this Christmas Variety Show. Tickets are FREE and very limited so get in quick! With acts like The Wolseley Choir, The Boppettes, Martin Lacey, Joe Maher, Karen Kealy, Ber Shelley Brass, The Wolseley House Band and Brendan Hennessey from KCLR, no wonder tickets are going FAST.
8 p.m. start, doors 7.30pm, You must have a ticket to enter.
Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Tullow, Co. Carlow T: 059-9180100
14. The Big Christmas Gig at The Tower Live, Dinn Ri, Tullow Street Carlow – Sunday December 19th
Tumbling Dice are bringing their BIG XMAS GIG to The Tower, Dinn Ri Carlow, on Sunday Dec 19th. This year they will be joined by the original MAXBAND who after 33 years are reforming for one night only to make the Tumbling Dice BIG GIG Christmas party the hottest ticket in town. Other guests joining Tumbling Dice will be Padraig Whelan, Strat Gorman, and the very talented Stanley Sisters.
Tickets are €10 and can only be purchased online, (due to Covid regulations). Please get your tickets early as numbers are limited, and much sought after.
Tumbling Dice are: Ken Nolan, Barry Woods, Risteard O Cathain, Stephen Corry, Aonghus McAnally, Jim Siney, Dermot Siney, Joanne Stanley, Jenni Stanley, Padraig Whelan and Paul McCarthy.
Tickets available here
Sunday December 19th at 7.00 p.m. – Dinn Ri, Tullow Street, Carlow
15. And one for the New Year! Borris Tidy Towns Firework Display
Is there any better way to ring in the New Year than an epic firework display? Borris Tidy Towns is choosing the historic Borris Viaduct as the location for the festivities and at the stroke of midnight, a fabulous firework display will illuminate the sky for miles around to ring in New Year 2022. The newly refurbished viaduct walkway is now a very family friendly walk with safety barriers. As this is an outdoor event at night, please dress accordingly.
Carlow’ s restaurants are ushering in the season with excellent dining options for a Christmas lunch, afternoon tea or family gathering.
16. Ballykealey House Hotel, Ballykealey, Ballon
T: 059 915 9288 E: email@example.com W: www.ballykealeyhouse.com
Dine out with family, colleagues or friends this Christmas in the beautiful surroundings of Ballykealey House in Carlow.
17. TD Molloy’s Restaurant, Seven Oaks Hotel
T: 059 913 1308 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.sevenoakshotel.com
TD Molloy’s Restaurant offers intimate surroundings in which to enjoy the very best of Irish and international cuisine with a wonderful Christmas backdrop.
18. The Lord Bagenal Inn, Leighlinbridge
T: 059 977 4000 E: email@example.com W: www.lordbagenal.com
Offering contemporary Irish and international cuisine using the finest local products, along with daily specials from locally sourced suppliers.
19. Plum Tree Bistro, Woodford Dolmen Hotel
T: 059 914 2002 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.woodforddolmenhotel.ie
The Plum Tree Bistro serves exquisite food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere with delicious menus filled with American, French, British and local cuisine.
20. The Liberty Tree, Talbot Hotel, Carlow
T: 059 915 3000 E: email@example.com W: www.talbotcarlow.ie
The Liberty Tree Restaurant is located on the fourth floor of the hotel providing a bird’s eye view of Carlow’s Christmas lights while you sample the delights of the menu.
Call into Carlow Tourist Office within the library building on Tullow Street/College Street, and explore what the local area has to offer from: Places to Visit • Events • Tours/Experiences • Day Trip ideas
Invite family and friends from further afield and avail of some great accommodation packages at www.carlowtourism.com/specialoffers
All events subject to COVID regulations in place. For further details visit www2.hse.ie