Updated June 2023–Most people don’t think of visiting Ireland in November, primarily because the days are considerably shorter at this time of the year and the weather is chillier, but there are a surprising number of things you can do at this time of year.
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Here are some things to do and see while you’re in Ireland at this time of year.
1. Allingham Arts Festival, Donegal, Nov. 8-12th
This popular arts festival is a staple in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal and features a lot of local talent, as well as artists from out of town.
The annual event is a celebration of the life and work of poet William Allingham, who lived in the town, as well as his wife and artist, Helen Allingham.
Festival events include workshops in poetry, creative writing, digital storytelling, art & design, fine art, and singer-songwriter performances.
The 2023 program has not been finalized yet, but if you have an interest in Irish singing, music, culture, history, and writing, be sure to attend this very popular Donegal festival.
One event that has been confirmed is a homecoming of sorts for Ballyshannon native Sean McGinley, who has starred in the movies like Michael Collins, The Field, Braveheart and more.
As part of this year’s festival, McGinley will talk to Sinead Crowley, RTE media correspondent, not only about his successful career, but also about the early life that led to it.
Christmas Markets in Ireland, November-December
While Christmas markets have always been synonymous with places like Germany and Hungary, the holiday markets in Ireland are a new addition to the Christmas tourism season.
2. The Galway Christmas Market
This is the longest-running holiday market in the country, which will open this year on Nov. 10th and will run until Dec. 22nd.
If you're staying in Galway in November, why not spend a couple of hours exploring the 50+ stalls that are expected to participate in this year’s event?
No doubt you’ll find an Irish souvenir that you can bring home with you, along with a wide selection of crafts and other items suitable for the holidays.
There is also plenty to keep kids — and adults— happy while enjoying the Christmas Market in Galway,
A Ferris wheel, Santa’s express train, and a carousel are just some of the attractions that children will love.
Beer tents and the possibility of an Apres Ski Bar are just some of the distractions that adults will love.
3. Christmas Market Limerick, Nov-December 2023
A relative newcomer to the Irish Christmas market scene, you'll have the chance to tickle your taste buds on a variety of seasonal treats at the Christmas Village on Arthurs Quay in Limerick.
Kids will no doubt enjoy the market’s beautiful vintage carousel and traditional carnival games.
There’s an ice rink to have fun on as well and afterwards, you can enjoy a warm Gluhwein in the Christmas Village Bar.
4. The Belfast Christmas Market
Now in its 11th year, the Belfast Christmas Market will run from Nov. 18th through Dec. 22nd.
As is customary each year, Belfast City Hall will be transformed into a traditional German-style Christmas market full of at least 90 wooden chalets.
Expect to find lots of holiday gift items at this fun market, which also includes a food court with cuisines from 32 or more nations.
Lots of activities for the kiddos too, including a Santa Train and more.
5. The Waterford Winterval Market
This, too, is a very popular holiday market in Waterford City that is scheduled to run from Nov. 17th to Dec. 23rd.
The markets are spread across the city and can be found at Bishop’s Place, the Apple Market, Merchant’s Quay, and John Roberts Square.
Food and crafts are plentiful of course at this event, but there are other things unique to the Waterford Winterval Market that you won’t want to miss, including the Waterford Eye, The Winterval Express Train and Carousel, and Winterval’s Wizards and Dragons, among other exciting activities.
Be sure to visit the website to get your tickets for the various fun events.
6. The Dublin Christmas Markets
Because the holiday markets in Dublin are operated by different entities, it is often difficult to find up-to-date information on them.
The Dublin Castle Christmas Market is the biggest one in the city and will go ahead this year as confirmed to Ireland on a Budget from the Office of Public Works, which runs the attraction.
Expect to see over 30 craft vendors at the site, in addition to activities such as carol singing and horse carriage rides.
7. The Cork Christmas Markets
Also known as Glow Cork, this event will take place from Nov. 25th through Jan. 8th.
Cork’s Grand Parade is the main location for the festivities, as well as Bishop Lucey Park, which is transformed into a winter wonderland.
Expect to enter the park through an ice tunnel and come out into what feels somewhat like a medieval village.
Other fun things to do at this market include taking a ride on the Ferris Wheel and Magic Nights by the Lee.
8. Cork International Film Festival, Nov. 9-19th
Are you interested in films outside of the usual Hollywood blockbusters, specifically Irish-made flicks?
If so, you might want to check out the Cork International Film Festival, an annual event that has been part of Cork City’s cultural scene since 1956.
In fact, the festival is a major showcase for Irish films, but you’ll find an eclectic mix of other films, too, including independent films, documentaries, and short films from across the globe.
9. Dublin Book Festival, Nov. 8-12th
Why not explore Dublin by checking out the events and activities that are part of this year’s Dublin Book Festival?
Over 70 events usually take place in several venues across the city, including The Printworks at Dublin Castle, The National Gallery of Ireland, The National Botanic Gardens, The Royal Irish Academy, The National Library of Ireland, the Chester Beatty Museum, and much more.
The 2023 program will be released in September.
Last year's event included conversations with Bill Whelan, founder of Riverdance, and popular Irish folk musician Paul Brady, as well as literary walking tours with Pat Liddy, tours of medieval Dublin, nature walks along the Grand Canal, and jaunts in the Botanic Gardens, the city’s Iveagh Gardens, and Dublin Castle.
10. Visit the Limerick Museums
Limerick City has two great museums that are worth visiting.
The renowned Hunt Museum claims to be the repository of 10,000 years’ worth of Irish and world history and indeed, that is true.
The museum, which is in Limerick’s beautiful Georgian-inspired Custom House, houses an incredible collection of antiquities, including the personal collection of John and Gertrude Hunt.
Notable features of the museum include its “Captain’s Room” and its “Red Staircase.”
The Hunt Collection includes about 2,500 artifacts, including pieces from Stone Age Ireland and ancient Egypt, the 9th-century Antrim Cross made of cast bronze and enamel, a bronze horse said to be designed by the painter Leonardo de Vinci, as well as dresses from the famous Irish designer Sybil Connolly, whose famous clients included Jacqueline Kennedy.
Of course, there’s a lot more to see at this fascinating museum. If you’re in Limerick during the month of November or any time really, be sure to visit.
The Limerick Museum is a free museum that is also worth seeing.
Housed in the Old Franciscan Friary on Henry Street, this museum is focused entirely on Limerick’s history and houses some fascinating artifacts, too.
In fact, it claims to have the largest collection in Ireland – some 63,000 pieces.
Some of those include Stone Age axes, medieval coins, Limerick silver, Limerick lace, and a civic sword given to the city by Queen Elizabeth I in 1575, as well as medals presented to veterans of the Easter 1916 Rising.
11. Loughcrew Estate & Gardens – The Enchanted Garden: Celtic Myths and Legends, November-January 2023
The beautiful 17th-century Loughcrew Estate & Gardens is a must-see any time of year, but in November, it hosts the The Enchanted Garden: Celtic Myths and Legends light show.
Anyone can enjoy the outdoor show that embraces Celtic mythology, bringing Ireland’s greatest stories of gods, heroes, and villains to life through light, sound, and magic.
There are four trails that are part of the light show.
They are based on events in Irish mythology and include the Mythological Cycle, the Fenian Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, and the Kings Cycle.
Some of the legends that you’ll see along the route include displays depicting The Children of Lir, Tír na nÓg, Finn McCool, and Cuchulainn.
Information regarding the 2023 event is not yet online, but if you have any questions, email [email protected].
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12. Sound of Belfast, Nov. 10-20th
Did you know that Belfast is a UNESCO City of Music?
Its Sound of Belfast festival, which celebrates the city’s diverse and vibrant music scene will return again this year. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no confirmed 2023 date or additional event information.
However, like years passed, expect to hear a mixture of Brazilian and African rhythms, hip-hop, soul, funk, and more.
13. Imagining Conflict: Photographs from Revolutionary Era Ireland 1914-1923 Exhibition, Collins Barracks, Dublin – until 2024
In this fascinating free exhibition, you’ll be able to view 150 images along with five original photograph books from the National Museum of Ireland’s collection on the Irish revolutionary era, which took place from 1913 through 1923, as well as images of Irish men and women in overseas conflicts.
This is the first time that many of these images have been on display in an Irish museum.
Are you planning to spend part of November in Ireland? If so, what activities have you arranged? Let me know in the comments below.