Lots to do for all the family
Carlow has significantly upped the ante yet again this year with a sparkling programme of over 100 Christmas-time events designed to appeal to everyone within its multi-cultural communities and wow visitors to the town and county.
The 'County Carlow – a Festive Family Experience' schedule builds on the county’s appeal as the Christmas Capital of Ireland.
The town and the surrounding hinterland are home to popular family destination and nationally-renowned festive attractions such as the Arboretum Christmas Village, Christmas at Huntington Castle, the fabulous Christmas Farmers Market and so much more
‘County Carlow – a Festive Family Experience’ will only add to the festive cheer as hoteliers and accommodation providers prepare for an influx of loyal overnight guests, among them the culinary curious who delight in the amazing food created with passion and pride using locally-sourced produce in the region’s top restaurants, dining rooms and cafes.
The extended festive programme starts on a high note on Saturday, November 24, at Shamrock Plaza with the annual Eist Cancer Support Candlelight Walk of Hope.
The Christmas lights on the Liberty Tree in the Dinn Ri car park will be switched on immediately afterwards.
Christmas revellers are being encouraged to grab their Christmas jumper or Santa Suit and sign up for the Jingle Bell Jog on Sunday, December 2, on the Barrow Track. This fun event is open to runners, joggers and walkers of all ages.
Families in particular are being encouraged to head on afterwards to the sparkling Duckett’s Grove Christmas Food and Craft Fair.
While there, they’re encouraged to feast on artisan food, invest in locally-produced crafts and gift ideas and enjoy an unmissable afternoon which includes Santa’s grotto, workshops, storytelling, a giant snow globe and traditional craft exhibits.
Carlow Culinary Christmas runs from December 6 to 8 at Visual and tickets are selling fast for the nightly demonstrations with Martin Shanahan, Rachel Allen and the fun-filled cook-off compered by Chef Adrian and featuring comedians, Karl Spain and Gearoid Farrelly and locals, Rachel Doyle and Ed Cahill.
There’s a nightly food hall and cupcake decorating and chocolate truffle making workshops for children on Saturday, December 8 at Visual. Numbers are limited and places are booking up fast.
The action-packed Festive Family Experience programme continues with an unmissable, indoor Winter Market featuring over 50 quality stands throughout December 14, 15 and 16.
A specialist team of Christmas Market experts has been drafted in to add even more sparkle to what is an unmissable feast for all the senses.
Events run right up to December 23 and end on a fitting festive note with ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at Carlow Visual and Carols by Candlelight at St Mary’s Church of Ireland.
"There’s no better place to meet up with family and friends this Christmas and several of the Festive Family Experience events offer the public the perfect opportunity to pick up the perfect gifts and last minute festive bits and pieces", Carlow County Council chief executive, Kathleen Holohan said.
She added: "This year Carlow has added some really magical events and offerings to appeal to all to make the festive period a special time of year.
"It’s never been more important to support local business so we’re encouraging people to consider local producers, makers and suppliers when spending at this busy time of year.
"At the various markets and events throughout the Festive Family Experience programme the public can meet the makers and the producers, the people who run the various family businesses.
"They will hear the story behind their business and truly appreciate what they are buying and the effort that has gone into producing it.
"Carlow is fast becoming a coveted destination for festive fun and food. We’re very lucky to have excellent food producers, a thriving café, bar and restaurant culture, quality hotels and accommodation providers.
"Carlow really is a homely, safe, easily accessible and unique destinations and we really go all out for the festive season. I look forward to a record-breaking 2018 in Carlow," she said.
Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council, Brian O’Donoghue, commended the many statutory and voluntary groups, community associations, individuals and businesses who have come together to put on over 100 events in Carlow.
"Christmas is a very special time of year for all our communities, as well as visitors to Carlow town and county. We are proud to offer such an array of events for everyone to enjoy.
"We look forward to welcoming new and returning visitors and to a brilliant Christmas and holiday season for everyone," he said.