Christmas in Ireland is a festival that is celebrated annually to mark the birth of Jesus and it is related to the pre-Christian customs. A majority of the people in the country are Christians, therefore you are going to find that a large population across the country usually observes this day. 

The most common customs in the country include traditional foods and drinks that are often consumed during the period.  There are many rituals, decorations and modern features that include annual television and radio shows and Christmas day swim.

The modern Irish Christmas has become more similar to the American or British Christmas. It has become a tradition that is synonymous with parties and the purchase of gifts.

The Irish people are Catholics and the Christmas traditions in the country usually begin on the 8th of December during the feast of the immaculate conception. During this time, you will find an array of Christmas trees, decorations, and other features that mark the celebration in the region. The Christmas period in Ireland usually runs until the 6th of January.

Christmas customs and traditions in Ireland

During your visit to Ireland, you will see the streets in the country covered with decorations, among other unique features. The Christmas music pours from every mall, market, and shop around the country. 

Perhaps you are wondering what are some of the common Christmas traditions and customs that you are likely to find in Ireland.  You will find some of the traditions that are unique to this region as well as those that have been adopted from the Western culture. There are plenty of traditions and customs in the region that will bring Christmas spirit and excitement to the region. 

Here are some of the common Christmas traditions in Ireland:

8th December in Ireland

This is one of the most important days of Christmas period in Ireland because it is the day that many people across the country go for their Christmas shopping spree.

During your visit to the region, you will see people getting ready for this day and it is a perfect time for you to blend in with them and experience shopping in the country. Besides, it is an Irish Black Friday, therefore you are going to enjoy some of the discounts on major commodities in the region.

During this period, you are going to see people doing their shopping from one place to another in the region. You can purchase some of the items for souvenir purposes.

Christmas cake in Ireland

One of the most common traditions that you are going to find in Ireland is the Christmas cake. The Christmas celebrations usually begin in October when the locals begin to prepare the Christmas cake.

The traditional Irish cake is characterized by its unique features as it is slightly spicy and moisty, and it has a lot of fruits as well as nuts. The process of preparing this cake is unique. It begins with the soaking of dried fruits in whiskey or brandy. Once the fruit is soaked overnight, the cake is then made and baked. Once the cake is cooked and it is moist with alcohol.

The most common alcoholic drink that is utilized in the region is whiskey and the cake is then put in a parchment paper and an airtight container before more whiskey is added. A day before Christmas, the cake is decorated with marzipan and honey before topping with a white layer of royal icing and other decorations such as Christmas trees and other decorations that are Christmas related.

Further reading: Coasteering in Ireland

Christmas Eve in Ireland

One of the common practices in Ireland is that people decorate their Christmas trees during this season. The decoration features putting up Christmas lights on the house as well as in the gardens.

In some places, the Christmas lights are usually used to raise money for charity and this can be used to help the needy in society. There is a midnight mass that is carried and you can join the local parishes in the country and celebrate with the locals this event. The mass begins from 10 pm to midnight and it is a very sociable event, as you will find people in their Christmas spirit during this period. You will find people singing Christmas carols during this time and enjoy amazing food and drinks.

Cleaning of the house before Christmas

It is a common tradition around Ireland that people often clean their houses before Christmas. It is an important occasion and many people follow this tradition, because it plays an important role in their customs.

The house is cleaned properly, and all clothes and bedding are washed clean, and made ready for friends, family as well as Santa Claus. Many people around the country usually practice this tradition and you will meet those who prefer to do it earlier in December and finish it up as Christmas Day approaches.

The compound is cleaned as well, before decorations are brought to the area. You will find that the curtains are washed, windows cleaned, everything dusted and hoovered and they are kept as tidy as possible until Christmas Day. It is important to note that this is a deep cleaning, unlike regular daily cleaning.

Further reading: Dangerous animals in Ireland

Christmas Decorations in Ireland

The decoration of the house is another common tradition that is common in Ireland. Irish people engage in activities geared towards making their houses ready for the Christmas celebrations. They have to get the Christmas tree in place, hang the light, and finish with an angel or a star on top of the decoration.

Decorating the house is one of the favorite traditions of the young ones in the Irish families. The younger family members are usually given the chance to decorate the house.

Holly wreath in Ireland

One of the most common Christmas traditions that is prevalent in the country is the holly wreath that is laid on the door. This tradition dates back hundreds of years.

Since Holly grew in abundance in the country and this means that everyone around the region could easily access it. This has made it possible for people to use it for Christmas decorations. In most places around the country, you will find that the wreath is hung on the front doors, and in other places around the country, they would hang them in the fire garlands.

Further reading: Christmas in Norway

Candle in the window

This is a common phenomenon across Ireland where the people place a lit candle on the window. This is an important feature because it is meant to signify the birth of Jesus.

Traditionally in Ireland, they light up to 7 candles. It is an indicator for those coming that they are welcome to the house as well as a symbol for the birth of Jesus. 

There is a permanent candle in Áras an Uachtaráin that reminds all emigrants of Ireland that the country welcomes them.

Christmas markets in Ireland

Ireland is a unique location where you can explore the different shopping locations. Some of the Irish cities have taken the Christmas traditions and you can see the different Christmas markets around the country. There are different areas, cities, and towns around the country where you will find that Christmas tradition is taken seriously. 

You can find yuletide markets which are prevalent around the country. You will get to know the culture and traditions that are unique to the people in the region and you can enjoy them as well. These markets are in major cities such as Cork, Waterford, Galway, and even Dublin. They sell all kinds of products ranging from mince pies, mulled wine, local produce, and handmade Christmas gifts and crafts.

Further reading: Christmas in Germany

Santa Claus in Ireland

There is a common tradition around Ireland, and that is Santa Claus.  The Irish kids are fond of waiting for this period as they wait for Santa Claus to bring the presents to them. The people in the region usually celebrate the season as the children wait for Santa Claus to give them gifts or place them under the Christmas tree. 

Many people in Ireland are known to follow the tradition and you will find many people excited during this time. They will go shopping and place the gifts under the Christmas tree or places where the children will easily find them.

Christmas carols in Ireland

It is a common tradition around Ireland for the locals to sing the Christmas carols. There are always Christmas carol singers in different parts of the country such as around the shopping centers as well as those who knock at your door to sing these songs. 

During the process, people often give them presents such as money, candies, and sweets. In some parts of the country, you can find people singing carols in parishes and you can join the service in the region. It is a lovely thing that you can join the locals in celebrating the Christmas traditions.

Further reading: Christmas in France

Wren Boy Procession in Ireland

This is one of the most common traditions that is prevalent in Ireland. The tradition is linked to Irish mythology, and it is highly practiced in the country. 

This tradition usually involves the hunting of wren and putting them on top of the decorated pile. The crowds will then celebrate once the wren is caught and they will celebrate by dressing up in straw suits. The event is characterized by fun activities such as parades, live music, and other fun activities around the country.

Food and drinks during Christmas in Ireland

The common hearty dishes that you are going to find the Irish people enjoying around the country vary depending on the region. People will wait for each other until everyone is at the table before they can eat.

Some of the traditional dishes in the region include roast turkey, ham, roast potatoes, and a wide array of vegetables. Some people enjoy a wide array of drinks such as mulled wine and whiskey in the region.

People enjoy desserts including chocolates and sweets among others.

Further reading: Christmas in Belgium

Annual Christmas Day swim in Ireland

This is a more popular tradition in the country. In major cities around Ireland, the temperatures are very low and when you go swimming you can join the Irish in their Christmas spirit. You can explore the Irish Sea during your visit to the region and you will have an impeccable time during your visit to the region.

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.