What to do in Galway over the Christmas Holidays 2023
Christmas//What's On

What to do in Galway over the Christmas Holidays 2023

Between all the TV channel surfing, face stuffing and reconnecting with family and friends, get out to celebrate the festivities with some of Galway’s best events and gigs. To help keep you happy and sane over your days off, find our guide to the 12 days of Christmas below…

Celebrate the Solstice with a Dip at Dawn

As the Winter Solstice Sun travels its shortest path through the sky offering the shortest day and longest night, Galway Simon Community invite you to join them for a Dip at Dawn at Salthill Beach in solidarity with families facing the fear of homelessness this Christmas. In ancient pagan times, the Winter Solstice was a sacred time that symbolised the power of the sun and celebrated the brighter days to come. Join them as they celebrate this ancient seasonal rite of passage from darkness into light at 8:20am on Friday, December 22nd for a revitalising dip at Salthill Beach. Register here.

Admire the Christmas Lights with a Hot Chocolate

Before all the Christmas madness really begins, take a moment for yourself to enjoy a deliciously chocolatey cuppa and wander about the city streets admiring the twinkle of the festive lights above and the Christmas decorations in the shop windows. It will have you in a festive mood in no time. Discover Galway’s top hot chocolate spots here. 

Take part in the Christmas Day Swim

A long standing tradition for many people across Ireland, The COPE Galway Christmas Day Swim is a hybrid event this year. From the 20th-26th of December take the plunge and swim wherever you are or join them on Christmas Day at Blackrock Beach and help raise funds for a valuable cause before you get to stuff your faces on all that Christmas dinner goodness. When you register you will receive a free swim t-shirt, registration is available as an individual or as a team. Register here. 

above: photo courtesy of COPE Galway

Make some New Year Resolutions

Deciding on resolutions is no easy task -join a gym, give up the drink, start journaling, go for more walks, start sea-swimming, spend less time on social media.. These are just some of the many challenges that we set for ourselves each year, now whether you actually manage to complete any is really besides the point (Sure don’t they say it’s the thought that counts anyway?) and who doesn’t love a trier?

Experience Christmas at The Sliding Rock

The Sliding Rock have got an unmissable lineup prepared for the two weeks ahead, and it all kicks off this Friday with live music from Harry Mul from 7pm, on Saturday 23rd Alfie & Gary take to the stage from 9pm. On Christmas Eve both those performers will back to grace you with their tunes - Harry Mul from 3pm and Alfie & Gary from 5pm. On St. Stephen's Day, The Sliding Rock will be alive with their Festival of Racing and Football and they'll be spot prizes on the day too! In the final two days of the year, they have live music on the 30th from 9pm and then to help you ring in the New Year, they'll have a DJ in at 10pm to help you see out 2023 in cheer and merriment. Don't miss it, for more on this lineup please tap here.

See Renmore Pantomime Society's Puss in Boots

Get ready for an adventure of nine lifetimes as Renmore Pantomime Society return for their 44th production to date. This is a wonderful fairytale about a loveable, smooth-talking rogue with a large thirst for adventure. Through trickery and charm from an amazing talkative cat, watch their characters undertake a fight for justice to save their king. Come along and see if this clever cat and his friends land on their feet in the end! Showing in Town Hall Theatre from December 29th, get your tickets here.

Laugh your way through A Christmas KARL

The perfect way to mark your week off over the Christmas period is by joining the one and only Karl Spain for a sensational Christmas KARLnival on December 28th. Special guests include Al Porter, Sinéad Culbert (Dirtbirds) and Tony Kelly. Finish out 2023 with tons of laughter at this special Christmas comedy show at Róisín Dubh. You won’t want to miss this! Get your tickets here

Attend a Live Performance at The Quays

The award-winning entertainment venue Quays Bar Galway have got another fantastic array of live music performers taking to the stage in their music hall over the course of the Christmas break. Lineup include: Paul Ward on the 22nd, Sean Slattery on the 23rd, on the 27th it's time for Big Generator followed by Gorilla Radio on the 28th. On the 29th Mindbenders kick off the final weekend of the year followed with Lewd Tunes on the 30th and naturally a fabulous NYE Party on the 31st. For more on all these please tap here.

Visit the Christmas Market

If you want to keep the festive buzz going after the big day be sure you visit the Galway Christmas market once it reopens on the 26th. As a special post-Christmas treat – a portion of the market will be reopening and running up until the 7th of January, including the Beer Tent, Carousel, The View Wheel and some traders. For more information on this please tap here.

above: photo courtesy of the g Hotel 

Welcome a New Face in Galway

On December 22nd, call in to say congratulations to all the team at Mary Mullens Bar for doing such an unreal job transforming the old Paddy’s into a class new spot! They will celebrating their opening with an awesome launch party on Friday so call in to hear Cafolla and Engel playing on the night, be sure to drop by and help them celebrate such an amazing achievement. For more here please tap here.

Watch a Christmas Classic

We can’t think of a better way to mark the day after all the madness, than sitting at home in PJs, watching Christmas classics and wearing off the hangover with tons of delicious leftovers. Home Alone, The Santa Claus, Die Hard, The Muppets’ Christmas Carol, Elf to name a few! Which ones will you be watching this year? Find our guide to the essential Christmas classics here. 

Enjoy a Complementary mulled wine with your Lunch at Cava Bodega

As your wrap up your Christmas shopping over the weekend of Thursday 21st - Saturday 23rd, call into Cava Bodega for a deliciously refreshing lunch and enjoy a complementary mulled wine on them. Lunch is available from 12pm-3pm,  and their extensive tapas menu makes them the perfect choice for some mid-shopping treats. Their menu showcases the best of Iberian cuisine, with natural Spanish wines and authentic desserts to boot. Book your table here or simply walk in on the day.

Hit the Dance Floor at Seven

Seven Bar have got a killer lineup prepared for your Christmas week off so check it out here and plan your festive nights out! On the 22nd, it's time for The Lewd Tunes, DJ Paul Belton & Westway in The Loft. 23rd - KIF, DJ John Murphy, and Brazilian Night in The Loft. On Stephen's Day, music is being provided by Copper Skillets and DJ Ianharte. On the 27th, it's time for 3 Legged Dog and on the following night Ten Penny Coin and DJ John Murphy will be back for more fun. Closing out the year, you've got Four Mile Circus, DJ Cian McGovern and Techno Night on the 29th. On the 30th Four Mile Circus are back for more with DJ Mark Molloy. Finally on New Year's Eve DJ Mark Molloy will be playing tunes and finishing out the year with Club Night NYE Bash in The Loft. With drink specials and more, you are not going to want to miss this!

Join the Christmas Party at The Village Inn

Dig out your Christmas jumper for the customer Christmas party at The Village Inn in Kilchreest on Saturday, December 23rd. They will have live music from Liam's Country Roadshow, finger food and much much more! Find out the full night's itinerary here.

Catch The Love Buzz at Róisín Dubh

Have yourself the time of your life this Christmas season as The Love Buzz return to the Roisin Dubh for a Christmas show alongside Adore and Shark School. Taking place on Saturday the 22nd, just in time for Christmas Day. It’s going to be a combination of energy and excitement so if you’re looking to get into the partying spirit kickstart your Christmas celebrations this is the gig to do so. Get your tickets here

Get down to the Celtic Chaos Christmas Hooley at McGettigan's

Celtic Chaos are back with another festive treat on the 29th of December at McGettigan's. With Richie Blacker, the Belfast-based selector, DJ and producer who lives and breathes the classic House, Rave and Italo House of his home turf and is one of the most significant current talents in the Ireland’s House & Techno scene. Prepare for a Christmas celebration like no other as Celtic Chaos brings the Burning Man playa magic to the heart of Galway City once again. They’ve one absolute whopper of a party happening right in the heart of Galway city, just for you. All are welcome, bring your dancing shoes.. Tickets available here.

Buy a round in your Local

Christmas is the time to catch up and reconnect with loved ones and sometimes the best place for that is over a few cold ones in your local boozer. Galway is full of amazing bars, pubs, and wine bars that will be spreading cheer throughout the Christmas break. Make sure you call in and share in the well wishes. The 12 pubs of Christmas anyone? Raise a glass here.

above: photo courtesy of HYDE Bar

Party the Nights Away at The Cellar

If you looking to go on a night out over the Christmas week be sure to check out this amazing lineup at The Cellar Bar; On the 22nd, Intoxica and Sons of Charlie take to the stage with a myriad of selectors ensured to get the blood pumping in the chill of Christmas time. Followed by Echo Harte on the 23rd. Later on in the week on the night of the 29th, The Junior B's are playing from 10pm, with Sum Craic playing on the following night at the same time. & Finally, for New Year's Eve they've got DJ Cian McGovern upstairs, with Absent in the Cellar closing out the year in style!

Boogie on the Dancefloor at DNA Galway

Just because the end of the year in now in sight it does not mean that the fun has to come to an end. DNA Galway have got a stellar lineup prepared to help you wrap up 2023 in style! Expect confetti, the best DJs and drink specials! Events includes; Kpop Friday vol4 on the 22nd of Dec, a Festive Festival on the 23rd, a St. Stephen's Day party, Tinsel Thursday on the 28th, a Retro Christmas Jumper Party on the 29th, the last We Love Saturday on the 30th and then of course a massive New Years Eve party on the 31st. For more information on each of these events and to get your tickets please head over to the DNA website and get your tickets here.

Celebrate your New Year’s Eve in Galway

There's going to be loads of fabulous ways to welcome in 2024... Keep an eye out for our guide on where to bring in the New Year in Galway and raise a glass to welcome in the beginning of a wonderful new year.

Photo by Felix Berger on Unsplash


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