This blog post was updated on September 18, 2018.

Celebrating Christmas in Northern Ireland, Flickr: trevphotos

A Jolly Time of Year!


‘Tis the season to be jolly! Here are a few excellent ways to get in the holiday spirit around Northern Ireland during Christmas time this year.

Christmas Shopping Old and New

Austin’s of Derry

Londonderry is the home of Austin’s, the oldest department store in the world!  Celebrating 180 years as a shopping mecca, Austin’s predates Jenner’s in Edinburgh by five years, Harrods in London by 15 years and the NYC Macy’s department store by 25 years! But old doesn’t have to mean out of date; from the newly opened Hugo Boss Man Shop to the largest selection of Waterford Crystal gifts in Northern Ireland, there’s plenty of fashionable and noteworthy items to browse.

Victoria Square

The “symbol of a brand new chapter in the history of Belfast and Northern Ireland” Victoria Square mall is not only the latest retail “retreat” to open in Belfast, it also serves as the city’s newest landmark. Now is an especially festive time to visit with Santa’s Grotto, and seasonal festivities such as Christmas music performances and more happening each day during the run up to the 25th.

Have Yourself a Titanic Christmas

Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, is hosting a Victorian Christmas Experience from now until the 23rd of December. Offering folks a chance to go back in time to “experience a Christmas Carol come to life amidst the hustle and bustle of a snowy cobbled street scene” with street performers in Victorian costume, traditional street games, carol singers and more, there’s all sorts of historic family-friendly fun to be had at this already popular Belfast attraction.

Santa Everywhere

There are so many Santa sightings in Northern Ireland going on you’d think he’d relocated from the North Pole! From rides on the Santa trains at Drumawhey, the longest 7¼ gauge railway in Ireland with a station, signal cabin, two bridges and a level crossing; to opportunities to “snowtube with Santa” in the Craigavon Golf & Ski Centre and more, kids (and kids at heart) are guaranteed plenty of Christmas cheer when visiting Northern Ireland this time of year.

Winter Solstice Guided Hike to the Summit of Slieve Gullion

Set atop Slieve Gullion mountain is the highest surviving passage tomb in Ireland. Every year during the winter solstice the setting sun illuminates the passage inside. The stone monument dates to between 4000 B.C. and 2500 B.C. There will be three free three guided walks on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of December.


To find out more about all these great Christmas events and activities as well as Christmas market listings and more visit

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photo: trevphotos

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