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Festive Fun In Laois

The evenings are getting shorter and there’s a nip in the air, meaning the festive season is only a few short weeks away. During this special time of year many make plans with family and friends.  This year, fond festive memories await in Co. Laois. An easy drive from Dublin, Limerick and Galway, Laois offers its visitors brilliant Christmas experiences for the whole family. 

Here’s a selection of top Yuletide activities:

If you’re in need of some cosy Christmas luxury, head to Ballyfin Demesne. Bedecked with twinkling lights, open wood fires burning in the reception rooms, a horse-drawn carriage outside and lots of seasonal activities and sumptuous food, wine and music, Ballyfin is perfect for a great Christmas and New Year escape.

For all the little (and big) kids, visiting Santa in the lead-up to Christmas is a must on the ‘to-do’ list. Laois is lucky enough to host Santa in several different places throughout the county. The man himself is a fan of the Midlands! 

Image: Santa Train Experience

In Stradbally, you’ll find the Santa Train Experience. Get ready to embark on a magical journey through Stradbally Woodlands, where wonder awaits around every corner. Meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their jolly band of merry elves. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind adventure. Book your tickets now and be a part of the magic. Running on 25th & 26th November, and 2nd, 3rd, 9th & 10th December.

Image: Solas Eco Garden Centre

Santa also heard great things about Solas Eco Garden Centre so he has decided to host a meet and greet in this special venue. Take a walk through our wonky winter wonderland full of surprise and enchanted Christmas vines. Meet Santa’s happy helpers Sean the Sheep and Larry the Lama. Then ring the bell loud and clear, you never know Santa might just appear. Kids that meets Santa will even receive a small Eco-friendly gift.


Image: Wreath Making Workshop, Stradbally

If you’re in need of the ideal Christmas gift, Laois offers a huge selection of homegrown crafting talent. The special festive wares will be on sale by the crafters themselves at some gorgeous markets and fairs. These include: the Christmas Craft Fair at the Castle Arms Hotel, the Portarlington Community Centre Christmas Market and the Timahoe Christmas Fair. Or indulge in hand crafts and bakes made especially by the members of Castletown ICA. Not forgetting the wonderful community at Shanahoe. And a market, that’s not just a market but a community event for all, Christmas at the Convent Mountrath. For those looking to #MeetintheMiddle, why not check out the O’Gorman’s market in Kilminchy. 


Image: Dunamaise Art Centre

For something a little different, Christmas culture lovers can head to a special showing of Elfie Saves Christmas at Dunamaise Arts Centre. This special musical production sees Santa and his merry helpers getting ready to deliver presents around the world. But when Elfie, Santa’s favourite elf, meets Slyck and Hoblin the mischievous Goblins, things don’t quite go according to plan. Many festive frolics follow in this charming stage production. 

All in all, the Christmas season is set to be a busy one in Laois this year. Make sure to make your plans early and check out all this gorgeous county has to offer here!