Markets, Live Entertainment and Santa’s Gingerbread House—Make the Most out of Winterval With This Festive Itinerary

With only a few weeks left of Winterval, here’s a handy itinerary to make the most of Ireland’s largest Christmas Festival before it’s all over on December 23.
03/12/2022. Winterval 2022. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Waterford on Ice

Start on the quay at the ice-skating rink (booking required). The coolest attraction and the hottest ticket in town is back again this year—so get your skates on for the ultimate skating experience.

Waterford on Ice is situated on the quay and brings the magic of the North Pole to the Southeast, ensuring an exceptional and fun-filled experience for all levels of ice skaters. 

The Winterval Mini-Express Train

Winterval 2022 scenes. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Head over to O’Connell Street to take a magical train ride through the heart of Winterval. Pick up and drop off is at the top of O’Connell Street (near Phoenix Yard). The Winterval train departs every 15 minutes and operates from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. every Friday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every Saturday; and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays throughout Winterval. You can buy your ticket from the O’Connell Street Depot.

Visit the Markets

Winterval market 1

One of the main attractions for Winterval is the annual Winterval Glenveagh Christmas Market. This year, more than 100 food, craft and drinks producers and creators feature across the festival.

The Winterval Glenveagh Market is set out in a series of attractive wooden cabins through the spine of Ireland’s oldest city into the Cultural Quarter; spanning the Viking city from George’s Street to Hanover Street and onto O’Connell Street and Gladstone Street, and all in the midst of the Winterval family fun attractions.

Soak up the sparkly Christmas atmosphere and yuletide spirit, browse the many Christmas craft and food stalls and support local, regional and national producers, makers and creators this festive season. 

In addition, at the Waterford Cultural Quarter Crafts Market on Hanover Street, there will be a variety of crafts and treats, from woollen products to wood carvings, paintings to driftwood creations and jewellery all produced by a range of cultures, including African, Polish, German, Ukraine and Bulgarian creators.

At Garter Lane Arts Centre, the Waterford Crafts Market will also be on offer featuring over 40 individual members who produce a range of crafts from jewellery, art, candles, ceramics, soaps and lotions, leather ware, knitted ware, wood turning and much more. 

The Polish Christmas Village on O’Connell Street has been operating since the first Winterval festival, 11 years ago. It was formed by the local Polish community who want to present and share their culture and Christmas traditions.

More than 20 local craft artists prepare themselves for the event each year. It is a perfect place to find a small unique Christmas gift, a warm handmade hat for winter or just take a break from shopping and enjoy a warm beverage with Polish cakes and pastries. 

Children can also attend the Christmas workshop where they will be able to bake and decorate their gingerbread.

With over 100 market stalls this year, there is plenty of culinary delights to try and lots of choices for gifts to buy your loved ones this Christmas.

Live Entertainment at the Main Stage

Winterval main stage

Once you finish shopping, eating and drinking at all the market stalls, head to the Winterval Main Stage on Gladstone Street where you’ll enjoy live free performances—from choirs, fun children’s Christmas discos and an array of live musicians. This free entertainment is on offer every day until December 23.

A Narnia Christmas


As part of this year’s Winterval attractions, festival-goers will be able to step through the Winterval wardrobe and be transported to a spectacular adaptation from the incredible “Broken Theatre” of the C.S. Lewis classic, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” for a one-hour show accompanied by Christmas melodies.

Enter the world of Narnia right in the heart of the city in a beautiful Big Top in Jenkin’s Lane. Festivalgoers will be thrilled and mesmerised by this pioneering show.

“A Narnia Christmas” is aimed at families, and adults alike, and is suitable for young children. The hour-long performances will take place each Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the festival with two shows every Friday, at 4.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m., and at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at

After the show, head up to John Robert’s Square for a spin on the vintage carousel.

Waterford Lions Club Christmas Appeal at the Cathedral

Lions Club Christmas Appeal

One of the great traditions of Christmas in Waterford is the annual Waterford Lions Club Christmas Appeal. It aims to help 1,200 families have a better Christmas by providing food hampers throughout the city and its environs.

Along with a host of events, one of the highlights is the Christmas Concert at the Cathedral of the Most Holy at Barronstrand Street, with orchestra leader Eimear Heeney and conductor Kevin O’Carroll. This free concert will take place on December 16 at 4 p.m. 

See the Lightshow at Arundel Square

A Winterval lightshow
Winterval 2022 scenes. Photograph: Patrick Browne

A new Winterval Illuminates Lightshow has been designed and it is set to ensure that viewers enjoy an enchanting evening spectacle showcasing a captivating dance of light that illuminates the darkness, creating a symphony of beauty, wonder and joy.

The new show features a magical array of animation sitting amidst a backdrop depicting the city’s skyline, which features some of Ireland’s oldest buildings and of course, some friendly Vikings.

The animated show is designed to tell a tale that rises and falls in time to the variety of festive melodies and even some rocking beats. The 15-minute show will culminate in a mini Snow Disco as the snow machines come to life with a blanket of snowy fun for all the little ones.

The 2023 Winterval Illuminates Lightshow is on every half hour at Arundel Square. While you’re there, hop on the vintage Ferris wheel.

Santa’s Gingerbread House

Visit Santa at his Gingerbread House at the top of John Robert’s Square (booking essential). The all-new ‘Santa Gingerbread House’ offers free tickets for adults, and visitors to the main man will each receive a present and printed family photograph. Santa will host little guests all the way through the festival until December 23.

Pop Into the GLOW Garden

Head to New Street Gardens for the GLOW garden and sensory wall.  Winterval has created a beautifully lit oasis where every branch, corner, and walkway is twinkling in fairylights.

Wish the Magical Talking Postbox a Merry Christmas

Head to the Apple Market for a gigantic and magical talking postbox. Direct from the North Pole, the world’s largest postbox will be ready to receive gazillions of your special Santa letters.

But not only does it make sure your requests go straight to Santa, it talks too! Known for its charm and witty banter, Santa’s Giant Talking Postbox would love to have the craic with you!

Music at House of Waterford Crystal

Walk down Spring Garden Alley and make your way to the House of Waterford Crystal on the Mall for a wonderful winter music series (every Saturday and Sunday until December 23). 

These free lunchtime recitals will take place in their showroom from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., where festival goers can enjoy some of Waterford’s most talented musicians, surrounded by crystal masterpieces over lunch with friends in the Waterford Café. Or make your afternoon even more special by indulging in a glass of Champagne from the newly-opened Waterford Bar.

Gerbola’s Christmas Circus

From there, head down William Street for Gerbola’s Christmas Circus. Opposite the People’s Park, Gerbola’s Christmas Circus is back for Winterval 2023! Step out of the cold and into the warm big top to enjoy a festive performance that is sure to amaze and delight the whole family this Christmas. 

The show will feature all your favourite Circus acts including the breathtaking Globe of Steel, heart-stopping high wire, hilarious clowns, mesmerizing acrobats and much, much more!

The Waterford Eye

Winterval Eye

Finish your Winterval experience back on the quay for the Waterford Eye. Take in the spectacular views over Winterval’s festivities and Waterford city from up high.

There is so much more to enjoy this Christmas at Winterval. For a full list of events, and to book any ticketed events, see here.

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