Christmas Markets in Ireland for easy shopping by Irish Ferries

Irish cities from Dublin to Waterford are gearing up for the festive season, with a choice of events for foodies, families and anyone who wants a winter short break with a difference.

Dublin’s Christmas lights switch on this Sunday 13 November. Thirty of the city’s streets are lit up with over a million light bulbs and fixtures stretching 4.5kms. Visitors will find a host of Christmas events from the annual market at Custom House Quay to ice-skating and craft markets plus fantastic window displays and promotions at big name shops like Brown Thomas and Arnotts.

Yulefest Kilkenny runs every weekend in December  (2 to 4, then 9 to 11 and finally 16 to 18 December) offering music, food, crafts and entertainment at various venues around the medieval city.  Options include a craft fare at Rothe House, a festive light installation and attractions at Butler House Garden, concerts and ice-skating plus food stalls and street entertainment in the cobbled streets. See visitkilkenny.ie for full details.

Waterford city’s fifth Winterval kicks off on Friday 25 November. The dates are: 25 to 27 November; 2 to 4 December; 8 to 11 December; then every day from 15 December up to, and including 23 December. There’s a huge programme of events, both free and ticketed. The Christmas Market is held in the streets around the Cathedral, with a host of gifts and street food and drink. A free nightly Lightshow is held in Cathedral Square.

All three cities are car-friendly, which means visitors can fill the boot with gifts without worrying about baggage charges.  Travel with Irish Ferries, sailing into Dublin from Holyhead, or sail from Pembroke in south Wales to Rosslare.

Return fares for a car and two adults start at £213.  Irish Ferries can also book hotels and B&Bs as part of a great value ferry-inclusive package.

08717 300 400, www.irishferries.com