• Newgrange — although December 21 was the big day for the
builders of what is just about the oldest building in the world, every
December day is spookily atmospheric in this part of Royal Meath.
• Panto at the Opera House in Belfast.
• Christmas dinner at the Shelbourne.
• Have a White Christmas on the top of Carantuohill. According to
Met Eireann there is a 10 per cent chance of snow falling on
Ireland’s highest mountain on any day in December.
• Celebrate midnight mass at the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin.
• Visit Glendalough, probably Ireland’s most holy place.
• Hollywood, Co. Wicklow — and there really are plenty of holly
• Stand on the Cliffs of Moher on St. Stephen’s Day. The stiff
Atlantic breeze is guaranteed to clear away the cobwebs of any
• Alternatively walk off the Christmas feast with a trek into the
• Visit Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down, for one of the finest
collections of Christmas trees in Ireland — firs, pines, spruces and
larches, plus some rare botanical specimens.
Ten great things about Christmas in Ireland
• Wall-to-wall Daniel O’Donnell on RTÉ
• Red lemonade
• Three kinds of potato with your Christmas dinner
• Soda, wheaten and potato bread for breakfast
• An outside chance of a white Christmas
• No Queen’s speech on telly
• Barry’s tea
• Christmas Eve lock-ins
• The late late Show Christmas pressie extravaganza
• Walking through St. Stephen’s Green on St. Stephen’s Day
Ten great Irish songs for Christmas
• Fairytale of New York (Don’t forget it’s Shane MacGowan’s
birthday on Christmas Day).
• The Monks of Glenstal Abbey singing anything.
• John McCormack singing Silent Night.
• While Shepherds Watched composed by Irishman Nahum Tate.
• Dana’s It’s Gonna Be A Cold Cold Christmas (No. 12 in the
British charts 1976!).
• When Johnny Comes Marching Home written by Patrick Sarsfield
Gilmore, leading US bandmaster, born in Dublin on Christmas day!
• Christmas Countdown by Frank Kelly (a.k.a. Father Jack in Father
Ted). Entered the British charts in 1983.
• Once In Royal David’s City, written by Wicklow woman Mrs. Cecil
• The Hokey Cokey, written by Omagh man Jimmy Kennedy for a
• Daniel O’Donnell singing Winter Wonderland.
Ten great Irish books to while away the hours before Santa comes
• Wherever Green Is Worn — Tim Pat Coogan
• Scarlet Feather — Maeve Binchy
• The Field — John B. Keane
• Christmas 1778 — Jonah Barrington (short story)
• Water Melon — Marian Keyes
• Third Policeman — Flann O’Brien
• Star Called Henry — Roddy Doyle
• Secret World Of Irish Male — Joe O’Connor
• Country Girls — Edna O’Brien
• Talking Dirty With The Queen Of Clean by Linda C. Cobb — just
the thing for those stuffing encrusted plates on St. Stephen’s Day.