Here’s your essential guide to events across the 12 Days of Christmas
To Be Irish launches its programme of Christmas festivities from 14th – 25th of December. Discover dazzling light shows, tune in to holiday concerts, brush up on your Gaeilge, explore stories from the global Irish family, browse bustling markets, peruse perfect pantos and so much more across Ireland and abroad. Those travelling home this year are encouraged to share their stories with the initiative – To Be Irish wants to make the returned diaspora its guest of honour!
This year’s programme, overseen by Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D., features dozens of events by and for Irish communities taking place around the country and overseas – including a celebration of Irish music and stories in collaboration with EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum featuring Paul Noonan, Aoife Scott, Patrick Dexter, Cuckoo’s Nest and plenty more special guests.
Commenting at the programme launch Minister Brophy said: “We are so delighted to celebrate our diaspora returning home once again this year. Now in its third year, To be Irish has successfully connected the global Irish community and has opened a window to our shared heritage around the globe. This is an exciting opportunity to engage with our diaspora wherever they are and celebrate the best of the Irish Christmas that we treasure.”
Highlights this year include.
- Special commissioned 2022 To Be Irish Christmas E-Card – Nollaig Shona – we’ve also teamed up with illustrator Fuchsia MacAree to create a specially commissioned e-card for people to send to their loved ones to spread a little Irish Christmas cheer. (Digital, available from 1st of Dec)
- Back Home, an in-person & live-streamed concert specially organised for everyone who returned home to Ireland in 2022. Hosted by singer-songwriter and Virgin Media presenter Zeinab Elguzouli in the atmospheric surrounds of the EPIC Museum, this feel-good musical celebration will feature headliner Paul Noonan (from Bell X1 and House Plants) alongside a lineup of special guests Patrick Dexter, Aoife Scott, Erin Fornoff, members of musical group Cuckoo’s Nest and more (In-person & Online, Wed 21 Dec).
Tickets to attend in-person will be available by lottery to anyone who has returned home from abroad – permanently or for the holidays – in 2022. Visit tobeirish.ie to share your story for a chance to win tickets.
- Distillation, a collaboration between environmental artist Luke Casserly from Longford and renowned perfume maker Joan Woods from Waters + Wild in Cork offering the chance to bring a bit of the essence of the Irish midlands bog to life with a special parcel sent directly to your home. A gentle invitation to get your nose in, and consider the past, present, and future of the Irish bog landscape.
- 2022 Unwrapped, a video series catching up with some of the global Irish family who have really made a splash in 2022, like Damian Browne who recently rowed across the Atlantic from New York to Galway. (online, will premiere from Wed 14 Dec)
HIGHLIGHTS FROM HOME
- Dublin – Dublin Winter Lights – Winter Lights will make a welcome return to Dublin City in 2022. The Festival will once again create a magical festive atmosphere in the city centre by illuminating many of the city’s iconic buildings and bridges. This year, the Festival is being expanded to include a very special new series of lighting projections in various key city centre locations. (In-person, various dates)
- Mayo – Kelly’s Christmas Cranberry Stuffing – Join in with the multi award-winning Kelly’s Butchers from Newport and learn how to make their delicious Christmas Cranberry Stuffing15 (Online, Thu 15 Dec)
- Dublin – Umoja linn Christmas Market – In partnership with EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum, Umojia linn brings a fun and culture-filled Afro-inspired Christmas Market to Dublin City. The market will feature products by Afro-inspired designers, drumming workshops, Afro-inspired dance workshops and more. (In-person, Thu 15 & Fri 16 Dec)
- Dublin – The Long Christmas Dinner – Returning to our national stage The Abbey Theatre, enjoy this award-winning, heart-warming production. A gift-wrapped seasonal gem, this meditation on togetherness gives us a moment to pause and reflect on our own families and what Christmas means for each of us. (In-person, various dates)
- Dublin – Lessons and Carols at Christ Church Cathedral – Take a break from the bustling Dublin streets and step into the historic Christ Church Cathedral for a traditional service of music and scripture readings in preparation for Christmas. (In-person, Sun 18 Dec)
- Wicklow – Winter Solstice Celebration – Bundle up and celebrate the longest night of the year with an evening of storytelling, sound healing and nature connection in atmospheric Glendalough. Discover stories and legends about Glendalough and the solstice, share a warming( cup of tea, and reconnect with the natural world. (In-person Wed 21 Dec)
- Galway – Celtic Tales at The Crane Bar – Settle in and listen to master storyteller and author Rab Fulton as he takes you through an enthralling evening of Irish folktales, myths, and legends. And be sure to stick around afterwards for some traditional Irish music! (In-person, Thur 15 and Thur 22)
- Limerick – Christmas in Limerick – Pay a visit to the Christmas Village on Arthur’s Quay for an unforgettable day out! Tickle the taste buds with delicious seasonal treats, take a ride on the vintage carousel, strap on your skates and take to the ice rink…you can even pay a visit to the big man himself. (In-person, Thu 15 – Thu 22 Dec)
- Cork – Cinderella at the Everyman – And just like that, with a Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, Cork’s favourite traditional family Panto is back! This year’s Panto Cinderella is the wonderful tale of a girl with a dream, a spell that’s broken at midnight and a fairy godmother, all with a modern Panto twist. (In person, various dates)
- Mayo – Carols at the Castle – Cathal Gavin performing in the iconic location of Ashford Castle. Cathal’s angelic voice is guaranteed to bring festive spirit and joy to your home this Christmas! (Online, Fri 23 Dec)
HIGHLIGHTS FROM ABROAD
- United Kingdom – Ardal O’Hanlon in conversation with Anne Flaherty – Come along to the Irish Cultural Centre in London as comedian and actor Ardal O’Hanlon joins Anne Flaherty for a conversation about his second novel, Brouhaha. (In-person, Wed 14 Dec)
- France – Irish in France Christmas Gathering 2022 The Irish community in France will get together for a chat, some music, and some drinks. This will be our first Christmas gathering since COVID restrictions were lifted in France. We expect up to 200 members in attendance. (In-person, Thu 15 Dec)
- Montréal, Canada – Concordia’s School of Irish Studies Yuletide Céilí – Bring your friends, family, and dancing shoes for a céilí featuring traditional Irish music, dance, song and poetry at this event! A chance to dress to the nines, dance, sing and celebrate the wonderful students, faculty and staff at Concordia’s School of Irish Studies. (In-person Fri 16 Dec)
- South Carolina, USA – Ed Harrison Memorial Celtic Christmas – With Christmas approaching and the New Year beckoning, it’s time once again to honour the Irish and Scottish roots of the Appalachian region with traditional Celtic music, featuring nationally acclaimed performer Jamie Laval. (In-person, Sat 17th Dec)
- Minnesota, USA – Celtic Holiday Hooley – A hosted variety show with Irish music, sketches, step dance, carolling, and more at the Celtic Junction Arts Center in St. Paul, MN. This year’s lineup features include three-time Live Ireland Award winner Norah Rendell, original Riverdancer Cormac O’Sé, and many more. (In-person, Fri 16th Dec, Sat 17th Dec)
- Worldwide, Online – Cóisir na Nollag 2022 – Let’s Learn Irish, the online Irish language community, is hosting Cóisir na Nollag 2022, an online party that promises to be a great opportunity for Irish learners from around the world to meet ‘trí Ghaeilge’. There will be comhrá (chat), ceol (music) and comhluadar (company) for all language levels! (Online, Sun 20th Dec)
Wherever you are this holiday season, celebrate with To Be Irish as communities around the world come together to share in the magic of an Irish Christmas! Wed 14 – Sun 25 Dec 2022 – ToBeIrish.ie