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Where can you find the best Santa in Dublin?


Santa checking his list

Santa checking his list

Santa checking his list

Okay so, the big man might be making his rounds in less than a week but there's still time to seek out the city's best Santa.

Dublin Zoo has been one of the country's biggest attractions in 2014, and it'll be celebrating the end of a bumper year in grand style (December 6-7, 13-14, 20-24). On the green outside Santa's grotto, there will be plenty happening to keep little ones occupied. Job done with the festive arts and crafts, be sure to visit the animals who are celebrating their very first Christmas there, too.

Tickets for Santa's grotto start from €9 for children (for non-annual pass holders): See www.dublinzoo.ie for info, or call (01) 474 8900.

Santa is no stranger to department stores, but at Arnotts on Henry Street (pictured below), Santa's yearly descent is, by now, an institution. Santa's lush beard has been enough to convince even the most cynical that this is the main man himself. See www.arnotts.ie or call (01) 805 0400.

Down at the Mansion House on Dawson Street, the traditional Nativity scene comes to life thanks to actual animals and a life-sized stable (December 10-24).

In case you're wondering, the animals are merely having a daytrip, and are returned to their South Dublin farm every evening. On the launch day (December 10), the city will celebrate this age-old tradition with choral performances, face painting and street entertainment - perfect light relief from the drudgery of shopping. Admission is free; call (01) 222 6200 for information.

It stands to reason that Santa might make an appearance at one of the country's biggest and best-known toy shops, and sure enough, Santa is hosting breakfasts, lunches and tea at Hamley's in the Dundrum Town Centre. At the Hamley's party room, guests can have a word with himself, and get the insider track on what really goes down up north. Tickets are €25, and the events run until December 24.

Call Hamley's on (01) 292 4901 for information.