Sunday 26 October 2014

Top 10 things to do with the family this Christmas

A fun-filled family Christmas doesn’t have to be kept indoors, no matter how chilly this festive season is. To keep the family busy and entertained, take a look at some of the exciting festivities taking place across the country this year.

1.  Christmas Pantos

A Christmas staple that never gets old. Echoes of ‘‘oh no he isn’t’’ will be chanted at venues across the country as the pantomime season begins. Jedward star in Beauty and the Beast at Dublin's Olympia, December 18 to January 5 (Olympia.ie).

Cork Opera House hosts Aladdin until January 18 (corkoperahouse.ie) and Limerick's University Concert Hall (uch.ie) also has the genie-filled favourite on stage.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs plays Dublin's Gaiety until January 12 (gaietytheatre.ie) and Sleeping Beauty is on at the Helix until January 12 (thehelix.ie). Tickets for the events can be purchased for between €15-€25.

2. Love Dublin Day

Not all Christmas activities have to break the bank. Love Dublin Day is a two-day event kicking off on New Year’s Eve, providing free arts, culture and music events at some of the coolest venues in town.

NYE and the City music trail will showcase some of the best new bands in the country. More than 30 acts will take over the city’s coffee shops, restaurants, book shops and anywhere they can fit their instruments in to sing the city into the New Year.

3. Ice-skating

Ice-skating is a Christmas favourite so get the family kitted out in skates and glide along the ice at one of the many ice rinks open this year.

Waterford's Winterval on Ice (winterval.ie) is billing itself as 'the best ice rink this side of the north pole', while iSkate at the GloHealth Christmas Wonderland at the RDS is Ireland's largest rink (iskate.ie). Other slippery sites include Dublin's Dundrum on Ice (dundrumonice.ie), Carlow on Ice (carlowonice.ie). Tickets from ice-skating sessions start from between €9 - €14.

4. Charity swims

For families on a budget, tis the season of goodwill so why not give a couple of euro to charity and cheer on those who will be swimming in the chilly seas in the name of charity.

The 24th annual Christmas Day Swim for COPE Galway takes place at Blackrock, Galway, at midday (copegalway.ie).

Nothing gets people in the Christmas mood more than a colourful market. Eating delicious festive food at markets will get us all warmed up for the Christmas dinner.

Dublin's Dockland's Christmas Market also returns for a ninth consecutive year, running until today.

Dún Laoghaire Christmas Festival runs until Christmas Eve from 11am to 4pm in Dún Laoghaire Town Centre.

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