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10th Dec 2020

A 12-hour guide to a festive Dublin day out in the Covid age

James Fenton

This Christmas, like during the rest of 2020, we’re all going to have to get used to life being just a little bit different.

Sure, the lights are up around Grafton Street and a limited number of Henry Street traders are allowed to operate but it’s fair to say the Christmas buzz is slightly diluted this year. For one thing, instead of just ducking into your favourite cosy pub for a festive pint at a whim, there’s the whole ordeal of having to order a substantial meal to go with it. Who would have thought it, wha?

However, there are still plenty of ways to feel festive in Dublin this year within the restrictions. Allow us to suggest a series of activities that will have you glowing with Christmas spirit from morning to night this December. You don’t have to do them all in one day and you might even say it’d be better to spread it all out across the festive season.

Whatever you prefer, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Dublin at Christmas below…

9am – Grab a mince pie croissant upon arrival in town

Yes, you read that correctly. Cloud Pickers, conveniently located just a hop and a skip from Pearse Street station, have created a croissant with a festive twist – and yes it is okay to eat it for breakfast due to the fact that, well, it’s Christmas and who’s judgin’?

If you’re getting off the train at Pearse, grab one for the stroll into town. More info here.

9.30am – Check out the Christmas windows at Arnotts

The Henry Street department store’s famous festive windows are one thing that aren’t affected by Covid. Just as long as you stick to the two-metre rule you’ll be able to enjoy the wonders of one of Dublin’s most loved Christmas scenes.


11am – Grab a hot chocolate

A mid-morning hot chocolate will now be in order to combat the Dublin December chill. This list has 13 of the most indulgent you’ll find.


11.30am – Have a dander around the Henry Street stalls

It was touch and go for a while but a limited amount of Henry Street stalls are now permitted to open for the Christmas period, with some located on neighbouring O’Connell Street. An old-school Dublin Christmas vibe to be had here for sure.

12.30pm – Is it lunch time already?

All that browsing can really get that belly rumbling. Dublin has an array of delicious Christmas sandwiches filled with all the turkey, ham and stuffing you can imagine. You can check out the best of them here.

2pm – Check out the live crib at the Mansion House

Another visual way of maintaining Dublin’s Christmas traditions in the age of Covid. The live crib is open until Christmas Eve and if you’ve got any animal-loving little ones in tow then it’s a must-visit.


4pm – Is it time for a pint yet?

It’s hard to beat a late afternoon pint in town in the lead-up to Christmas. While restrictions apply (and you can get a good gist of them here), that first festive sip in your favourite city centre boozer will make it worth the added effort.

You can find a list of pubs that are open in town here.

5pm – Hop on a Luas to Dundrum

If you’ve had enough of the city centre, Dundrum Town Centre is hosting a number of festive pop-ups this year where you’ll be able to find mulled wine, some delicious baked goods and everything in between. More details can be found here.

6.30pm – Sink your teeth into a Christmas dinner pizza

Because you just can’t wait until December 25. Coke Lane have come up with a Christmas dinner pizza which includes toppings such as pigs in blankets, chestnut mushrooms and cranberry compote. You can read more about the ultimate festive concoction here.

9pm – Finish the evening with a spiked drink

A winter warmer will be just what the doctor ordered before heading home to bed. After a fun-filled festive day out, wind down with a spiked hot drink. Whether it’s a mulled wine, a buttered rum or a hot whiskey tickles your fancy, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this list.

It’s been a tough year for everyone but Dublin is still full of festive charms as well as delicious treats. Remember to enjoy the little things when you’re wandering about and don’t deny yourself too much – ‘Tis the season after all.

Most importantly, stick to HSE public health guidelines because the more we do so, the more likely it will be that next Christmas everything will be back to normal. Follow this link here for more advice.

(header pic: Shutterstock)

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