Yulefest has arrived in Kilkenny and with it a host of Christmas activities for all the family. We still have the regular favourites; a visit to Santa, Kilkenny Castle’s free programme of events for children, ballet at the Watergate and ice skating, but this year we have exciting new activities such as a live crib at Cillin Hill, seasonal films at a drive in cinema and free films by Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon and a magical Christmas garden at Butler House. So, wrap up warm, get out there and have some fun with the kids enjoying all a Kilkenny Christmas has to offer.
Butler House Christmas Garden
Butler House gardens have been transformed with magical Christmas lights. Look out for the toy soldiers, reindeer and the skating snowman on the frosty winter pond and enjoy some mulled wine, hot chocolate and sweet treats. Visit the creative exhibition of magical Christmas artwork displayed in Butler House. There will be Christmas music from local choirs and bands to add to the atmosphere. Extra kid’s activities available such as storytelling or clay model painting for which there will be a small charge. The gardens are open from Friday 16th December to Sunday 18th from 1pm to 8pm. For more information call 056 7722828, email email@example.com or go to www.butler.ie
A Visit to Santa
A visit to the man in red is always a special occasion and he is keeping very busy this year making sure he can see as many children as possible before the big day.
Castlecomer Discovery Park
Visit jolly Santa in the old stone Bell House for your special gift. Santa’s merry helpers will then take you on a magical journey to visit Mrs Claus. Get on board the Jingle Bell bus and travel through the winter wonderland passing the elve’s tiny huts and the giant light wheel. Tours cost €17 per child and €12 per adult. Tours run from now until Friday December 23rd from 10am to 8pm. Entry is by pre-booking on-line only. www.discoveryparkchristmas.ie.
Santaland at MacDonagh Junction
Santaland is open every day until Christmas Eve. Come along and meet Santa and Mrs Claus and explore Trix the Elf’s bedroom. Santaland is very welcoming for children with special or sensory needs and offers a quiet hour. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Cost for Santa visit is €8 per child for visit and gift or photo and €10 per child for visit, gift and photo. Family discounts. Children can also play in the Christmas Garden in Workhouse Square and pick up a Santa I’ve Been Good check list – if you have! Enjoy the free Christmas Movie Room and watch Cartoon Saloon’s Santa’s Apprentice on Saturday 17th December at 12pm.
The Market Cross Shopping Centre
You can visit Santa and his elves on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th December in his cozy log cabin. Cost for Santa visit is €5 per child for visit and gift or photo and €8 per child for gift, visit and photo. Family discounts. Join in with some traditional craft making in the Art Studio and get your Santa sticker and letter to post in Santa’s special post box. Don’t forget to visit the crib in the Market Cross too with a space waiting for a very special person…
Christmas at Mount Juliet
Enjoy carol singers in the Hunter’s Yard with festive food and drinks. Visit the festive crib, the gingerbread house in Mount Juliet House and see a festive movie in the marquee at 3pm and 8pm. Movie costs €10 per adult, €6 per child and €30 for a family of 4. Friday 16th December to Sunday 18th
Lunaflix Drive In Cinema
Drive out to Castleinch and watch a movie in the comfort of your own car. Saturday 17th December at 6pm for Frozen and 9pm for Home Alone 2. Gates open an hour before show. Tickets cost €25 for a car of up to five people. www.thelunaflix.com
Christmas Tree Festival
St Canice’s Cathedral is holding its second Christmas tree festival and the cathedral will be packed with the widest variety of Christmas trees you have ever seen with all shapes, sizes and colours and all handmade by local schools, businesses and individuals. You can vote for your favourite tree. The festival runs until Saturday 17th December from 10am to 8pm. There will be children’s story telling on Saturday 17th December at 11am and decorating tree biscuits at 11.30am. Entry to the Christmas tree festival is €3 for adults and €1 for children. For more information go to www.stcanicescathedral.ie.
Christmas at the Castle
Kilkenny’s jewel of a castle will be at its finest all dressed up for Christmas with a full programme of free events. Admission to the Castle is free from 9am to 4pm during the Christmas Programme. Children’s events on Saturday 17th December include Mini Musos in the Parade Tower at 2.30pm for ages 4 to 8 and at 3.45pm for ages 8 to 14 (advance booking required). On Sunday 18th December there is Music for Tots at the Parade Tower at 12.30pm and 3.30pm for ages 0 to 4 years (advance booking required) and Mondos Magical Christmas Magic Show at the Parade Tower (no advance booking required but limited places). For bookings call 056 7704108. For more information go www.kilkennycastle.ie or facebook.
Christmas on the Hill
Cillin Hill will be transformed this Christmas with something for all the family.
Christmas market packed with great gifts and treats on Sunday 11th, Sunday 18th and then every day until the 23rd.
Nore Valley Park are offering a Christmas Experience including a crib with live animals to pet and you can feed Santa’s Reindeer, you can have your photo taken as Mary and Joseph with the animals, write a letter to Santa, visit Santa and receive a gift and photo and make and decorate gingerbread men with Mrs Claus in her kitchen. The Nore Valley Park Christmas Experience is open on Mondays to Fridays from 4pm to 8pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 9pm and from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd is open from 12pm to 9pm every day. Adults and under 2’s €10, Children €15, family with 2 children €47, family with 3 children €60. You can pre-book on-line.
And once again you can enjoy ice-skating in Kilkenny with 600m of real ice! As well as ice skating you can also experience the mammoth ice slide, rodeo reindeer, bungee trampolines and Ice Cafe. Children must be over five years old to skate and under 12’s must be accompanied by an adult. Costs €13 for children under 12, €15 for adults and €48 for family ticket including 2 children and €60 for family ticket including 3 children. Season tickets available. Stays open until January 15th from 11am to 9pm. For more information or to book go to www.christmasonthehill.ie.
There is something special about going to the theatre over Christmas so, go along, sit back, relax and enjoy! Early booking is advised. For further information go to www.watergatetheatre.com, facebook, twitter or call the Watergate on 056 7761674.
Ballet Ireland presents this classic magical Christmas ballet. A real Christmas treat. Saturday 17th December at 8pm. Tickets cost €20 for adults and €15 for children and concessions.
Wishing you a Very Merry Kilkenny Christmas