You’ll Love Yulefest Kilkenny Christmas Festival

Yulefest Kilkenny Christmas Festival returns this December, inviting all ages to enjoy a wide range of affordable, as well as some free, seasonal events. More information on all events listed below and tickets can be found here.

Just three years old, Yulefest Kilkenny has quickly emerged as a go-to Christmas festival for all the family following a bumper year last December. The festival even made a recent listing of Skyscanner’s Guide to the Best Christmas Markets in Ireland 2018.

Easy to get to and around, Kilkenny’s merry medieval streets, seasonal events and shopping, festive lights and award-winning dining provide the perfect atmospheric backdrop for taking elfies and selfies.

From December 1-24, the MADE in Kilkenny pop-up shop returns to the old Kilkenny Arts Office, offering Christmas shoppers a selection of some of the best of the county’s craft. Meanwhile, McDonagh Junction Shopping Centre will be transformed into Santa’s grotto, as Nore Valley Park Christmas Experience and the man in red will be present between December 1-23 to hear childrens’ wishes. Tickets cost €15.  

On December 2, those passing by The Parade from 2pm – 8pm will be in for treat, getting to see the iconic Coca-Cola Christmas Truck. This year, visitors will also be able to buy exclusive Coca-Cola merchandise. All proceeds from the sale of merch will be donated to St Vincent De Paul, a charity helping people in poverty.

Get crafty this Christmas at the National Design & Craft Gallery with their seasonal workshop. On December 6, you can learn how to make your own Christmas cards and porcelain decorations. Tickets cost €30 with entry including a taste of some locally produced mulled beverages, hot chocolate and mince pies.

St Canice’s Cathedral will host its own mini Christmas Tree Festival between December 7-12. 120 trees of all shapes and sizes will fill the cathedral, each one a work art, while tea, coffee, fruit punch and seasonal goodies will be served. Entry is €3.50.  Meanwhile on December 8, for €10 Newpark Hotel and Dutch master florist Lamber de Bie will teach attendees how to make perfect Christmas crafts and delicious mince pies.

There are also plenty of music events. Dublin indie rock group Little Green Cars will play The Set Theatre, December 8. Tickets can be purchased for €22.50. Also, folk band The High Kings take over Hotel Kilkenny for a gig December 9, performing Irish ballads in a new contemporary style. Entry costs €30.

Fans of Star Wars should be on the lookout between December 15-16. Volunteers of the 501st Ireland Garrison – the only official Star Wars costuming club in the Republic of Ireland – will swarm Kilkenny dressed as stormtroopers.

Also on December 15-16, James Stephens Army Barracks are offering tours with a seasonal twist. As well as informing attendees of the history of the location, they will commemorate Christmas Day 1914 with an authentic re-enactment of the truce during the First World War. This was where soldiers from both sides met peacefully to share a precious pause in the carnage and a fleeting moment of brotherhood.

Tickets are from €5. All proceeds will be donated to The Good Shepherd Centre in Kilkenny. Helping homelessness, the organisation is funded by Creative Ireland under the Kilkenny Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018-2022, in partnership with Kilkenny County Council.

Lyrath Estate Hotel will host chef Edward Hayden for a Christmas Cookery Demonstration, December 16. For €80, the chef will show you how to effortlessly prepare his quirky adaptation of the traditional Christmas lunch. After the demonstration the team from Lyrath will serve up Edward’s seasonal meal with all the trimmings for everyone to enjoy as Christmas carols from the Soulful Spirit Choir add to the festive mood.

The same day, Kilkenny’s 9th annual Santa Charity Run will take place. Participants of all fitness levels are very welcome to become involved in this day out for all the family, while supporting the local St. Vincent de Paul charity. Organisers urge runners to come dressed as St Nick, something festive or to at least to wear a Santa hat. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

Vladimir’s Viennese Christmas will see the violinist, along with special guests tenor, Sean Costello and soprano, Claudia Boyle, add a Christmas festive glow to some of the most beautiful classical melodies from the Romantic era. Taking place December 17 at St Canice’s Cathedral, tickets are from €20.

At the Mayor’s Annual Christmas Concert on December 21, various special guests and choirs will come together at The Watergate Theatre to put on a show and to raise money for the Amber Women’s Refuge Centre. Entry is €10.

For the full list of Yulefest Kilkenny events and to buy tickets, visit the festival’s website.

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