Dublin has been playing with Christmas Markets for the last few years, trying to see what works and what doesn’t. The Dublin Docklands Christmas Festival ran for eight years at the Point Village, but I found it a little too far outside the city centre. I only visited once (in 2013) when I went to see The Snowman at the 3Arena and wasn’t very impressed with the market.
Last year, there was a Christmas Market outside St. Stephen’s Green, which saw wooden huts lining both sides of the path closest to Dawson Street. While the market was more centrally located, it was quite a narrow walkway and subsequently difficult to walk down in a calm and relaxed fashion whilst enjoying your mulled wine.
This year, we have I Believe in Christmas located at Custom House Quay, close to the IFSC. Dublin’s 2015 offering is looking more like a proper Christmas Market than ever before.
Both the DART (Connolly Station) and Luas (George’s Dock) will bring you within a 5 minute walk of the market, but you can easily walk from the city centre (it’s a 12 minute walk from O’Connell Street). We drove in and parked at the Irish Life Centre, which costs €5 all day on Sunday and is an 8 minute walk. The Park Rite car park on Commons Street is closer (3 minute walk) but a little more expensive at €8 for all day parking on a Sunday.
We visited on the weekend Storm Clodagh was doing her worst with huge gusts of wind and we even got stuck in a hailstone downpour on our way from the car. You can decide for yourself if parking on Commons Street is worth the extra few Euro to save yourself from getting completely soaked!
What to Buy
The market boasts a great selection of handpicked Irish-made crafts including my favourites, Fairy Buddies (gorgeous handmade fairy and elf doors!) and Bianco DiVito Contemporary Glass (amazing stained glass creations).
What to Eat
There are lots of food options at the market, but I highly recommend the Twisted Potato Chips. I had tried them at the Marlay Park Market the week before and was delighted to see them again at I Believe.
A large potato is carved into a long swirl, impaled on a wooden stick, fried and then seasoned to your liking (we went for salt & vinegar). The result is the perfect cross between a crisp and a chip, and for just €3, you’d be mad not to try it! The long queue at their tent was testament to their popularity too.
I have visited various German Christmas Markets over the years, and it never feels the same without a mug of mulled wine warming my chilly fingers but for a whopping €6 at I Believe, I decided to pass this time.
Make sure you visit the Lidl food tent for some delicious free samples from their Deluxe Range.
What to Do
The market boasts Ireland’s largest carousel and I have to admit, it’s pretty impressive. A ride on the carousel costs just €3 and it looked like great fun, although I refrained from having a go this time and instead enjoyed snapping a few pics to test out the low shutter speed on my new camera – check out that blur! (Don’t worry, the carousel doesn’t go as fast as it appears to in the photo 😉 )
While Clerys the department store might be gone, Clerys Santa is still going strong and has relocated to Custom House Quay. You can find prices and opening hours for Santa here.
What to See
The Christmas Tree at I Believe stands at an impressive 50 feet, and is floating in the water beside the white tents and wooden huts of the market. There was much hype about the tree, which was intended to rival the world famous tree at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. I’m not sure it’s quite to NYC’s standards, but it’s pretty spectacular nonetheless!
I highly recommend experiencing the market after dark. The tree looks amazing all lit up and reflecting in the water, and the whole place just seems more, well, Christmassy when the lights are twinkling.
If it rains….
Let’s be honest, chances are high it will rain (this is Dublin in December, after all!) but fear not, you can hide from any heavy downpours in the chq Building and enjoy the pop up shops in there, including the Bord Bia Christmas Box Shop, with lots of Irish-made treats to peruse.
The market runs daily until 23rd December and is well worth a visit. Have you been to I Believe yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
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