My first time experiencing the Christmas in Killarney parade was a few years ago when our kids were very young. Like most events at the time, I went expecting the usual fare: carrying kids on shoulders, negotiating large crowds and trying in vain to limit the intake of sweets before the inevitable battle to drag them home to bed. Most of the above ensued that night but there was also an unexpected bonus: A good time was had by all. The combination of decent vantage points (albeit involving some heavy lifting…), a compact parade and reasonably benign weather resulted in the Christmas in Killarney parade being awarded the ‘Best Night Ever’ accolade by the young voters on my shoulders.
Since that time, Christmas in Killarney has developed into one of the most anticipated and best loved events in the calendar. New and varied events and attractions are added each year, keeping the festival fresh as well as festive and attracting bigger crowds every year.
Although it has become a cliché of many festivals to say there is “something for everyone in the family”, Christmas in Killarney really does deliver on that promise with a wide variety of events. There are days out, nights out and a good mix of indoor and outdoor entertainment – always a wise move considering the time of year.
We Are Young
For many with younger children, the Christmas in Killarney parades are one of the highlights of the festival. The main parade travels through the town with numerous floats, Disney characters, local schoolchildren and of course Santa himself makes an appearance as well. The sense of anticipation in the young children’s faces is worth the wait for the parade to run its course through the town. The first of the parades also marks the official switching on of the Christmas lights – another highlight for those with younger children.
Christmas Magic at Muckross is a wonderful transformation of the Muckross Traditional Farms where Santa and some of the elves prepare for the busy time ahead. This is much more than the run of the mill “Come & Meet Santa” events that crop up around this time of the year. Magic at Muckross fits more into the ‘experience’ category and it’s one that they won’t forget. This is a paid event so bear that in mind but it is well worth a visit provided you’re not bring along too many kids with you!
Ice Ice Baby
For the not quite so young, the New Year’s Eve bash on the streets of Killarney with live music and DJs is a great way to ring in the new year. Wrap up warm and hopefully the weather will co-operate to make this a great night on the town.
Killarney on Ice has now become a fixture in the Christmas in Killarney event calendar. The ice rink attracts a wide array of skating talent from those gliding effortlessly across the ice to the more cautious ones plodding around clutching carefully to the barriers. A session on the ice is great fun and is well worth a try even if you’ve never donned the blades before!
If you prefer a more sedate experience, a Jaunting Car Sleigh Ride might be more suitable. The famous Killarney jaunting cars are festively transformed throughout the season.
The Christmas Day swim at Dundag Beach on Muckross Lake is sure to blow away the cobwebs on Christmas morning. A fundraiser for the Aware charity, it takes place from 11am to 12 noon.
Another popular items on the calendar is the ‘Dine in Killarney‘ initiative which is run by many of the restaurants in Killarney. A reduced-price menu is offered on specific nights on the run in to Christmas – a great opportunity to get a nice meal at a bargain.
The Best Family Events at Christmas in Killarney
For those planning some family things to do, here are the highlights of the Christmas in Killarney festival. Find out more about all the events on the Christmas in Killarney website.
|1||Christmas in Killarney Parade||Everyone’s favourite free festive parade|
|2||Santa’s Cottage||Meet Santa in the town centre|
|3||Christmas Day Dip in The Lake||Fundraise for Aware|
|4||Muckross Christmas Magic||Magical experience, not free but a memorable experience|
|5||New Year’s Eve Parade||Great atmosphere, last chance to see Santa!|
Christmas in Killarney
With a full programme of events to choose from, it won’t be possible to fit everything in, but you can combine some events to make it a day out. A trip through the National Park on one of the Jaunting Car Sleigh Rides followed by an evening at the Christmas in Killarney Parade would make for a great Saturday afternoon and evening. Or maybe try out your Strictly Come Dancing skills at Killarney on Ice before heading out for a meal as part of ‘Dine in Killarney’?
Whatever takes your fancy, be sure to enjoy some of the many events that make up this great festival. Let Christmas in Killarney help to lift the gloom of winter and spread some of the magic of Christmas.
[Photos by Marek Hajdasz]