Alternative ways to spend Christmas Day in Ireland

Bah humbug. Christmas is just another day - so let's treat it like that. We have taken a look ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.00 23 Dec 2019

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Alternative ways to spend Chri...

Alternative ways to spend Christmas Day in Ireland

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.00 23 Dec 2019

Share this article

Bah humbug. Christmas is just another day - so let's treat it like that.
We have taken a look at some of the best ways to spend December 25th, that involve as little festivities as possible.

Go Surfing

On yer bike - or in this case, surfboard. Many areas of Ireland offer you the views and the waves.



Once you’ve brushed up on your skills at any of the the surf schools in Clare, head off and practice at some of the less crowded beaches such as Doolin, Doonbeg and Spanish Point.

And so what if the water is cold - that’s what wetsuits are for.

Christmas A foaming sea, as the Atlantic Ocean hits land at Doolin Point in Co Clare | Image:


Bundoran is not known as the surf capital of Ireland for nothing, boasting some of the best known surf schools in the country.

From the world class reef break of The Peak to the ever reliable Tullan Strand, it has something to offer every level of surfer.

The beach at Rossnowlagh is perfect for beginner and intermediate surfers.

While more challenging waves are found at Inishowen, Fanad Head, Dunfanaghy, Bloody Foreland and Dungloe.


Beaches at Strandhill and Enniscrone are great for seasoned surfers - but also perfect for learners.

The beach at Easkey is legendary,  but wherever you go you you'll bag big waves, clean waters and great surfing.

Of course, surfing is not just for 'dudes'.

The Perfect Day Surf School in Strandhill offers women-only surf classes with professional female instructors.


Mayo is rich in great surfing beaches including Bertra, an arm of land extending into Clew Bay.

For a total getaway, head for Belmullet, or Keel Strand in Achill.

It's seen as a longstanding favourite among surfers.

SurfMayo at Carrownisky Strand in Louisburgh is one of the first surf schools established in Ireland.

It is open seven days a week every month of the year - apart from Christmas.


West Cork has some of the nicest beaches in the country. Why not grab your board head for Barley Cove, Garrettstown or Castlefreke?

While the beach at Inchydoney is seen as the perfect place to get wet suited and booted.


The south-west is a great surfing secret of Ireland.

Inch and Banna Beaches are long, sandy, and bordered by the Kerry Mountains.

At Ballybunion, world-class surf breaks along four miles of golden sands, ensuring a trip you won’t forget.

And the Atlantic cliff break offers exhilarating challenges for serious surfers.

The longest beach in the country, Castlegregory, can be found at Brandon Bay: extending almost 20km.

For more information, see


Go wild on the Wild Atlantic Way.

This 2,500km stretch is the world's longest coastal touring route.

It's made up of soaring mountains, jutting headlands, breath-taking cliff faces and lush green forests.

Looking for an epic adventure or a remote getaway? You'll find it here.

You can also pick up your very own Wild Atlantic Way passport - a souvenir of your completed journey.

Christmas Sunset at Fanad Head | Image:

Its compact size, durable hard cover and 20+ dedicated stamping pages make it the ideal companion to any type of trip.

Passport stamps aren’t just practicalities; they’re also distinctive mementos and keepsakes: proof that you went, you saw, you experienced.

Whenever you visit one of the 188 points along the route, simply head to a designated post office or tourist information office nearby to get your one-of-a-kind location emblem.

From the Cliffs of Moher to the Baltimore Beacon, there’s a stamp for that.

For more information, see

Go 40 Foot deep

Billed as the most well-known and loved swimming spot in Dun Laoghaire, the 40 Foot in south Dublin was immortalised in James Joyce's Ulysses.

This Dublin institution used to be a men-only swimming spot, but thankfully the Forty-Foot is now open to anyone brave enough for a bracing plunge in its chilly waters.

There are changing rooms nearby.

Christmas A man wearing a Santa hat jumps off the ledge on Christmas Day 2018 at the Forty Foot in Dublin | Image: Leah Farrell/

It's a great place to swim, with its clean deep waters. There are steps to guide swimmers safely in and out of the water.

People also traditionally gather for the Christmas Day swim on December 25th

But, unsurprisingly it is cold....

For more, see

Take a drive

One of the best ways to see Ireland is arguably by getting out of the cities and touring around the country.

This country is full of scenic driving routes, and here are some of the best.

Follow the stunning Kildare Wicklow Grand Tour route for a mix of coastal runs, wild mountain passes and pit-stops at Palladian mansions.

Or try the Boyne Valley Drive to sample some historical landmarks, from Newgrange to Slane Castle.

Glengesh Pass: Donegal

From Glencolumbkille a road heads inland towards Ardara, through the wild and picturesque Glengesh Pass where the road meanders through sloping mountainous terrain.

Braveheart Drive: Wicklow

Renowned for its scenery, Wicklow is a beautiful mix of golden sandy beaches, rolling mountains, wooded glens, cascading waterfalls and lakes.

South and Mid-Kildare Touring Route: Kildare

The route traverses over through the middle and southern half of Co Kildare.

You will see many places of interest - including visiting two heritage towns, one of Ireland’s largest visitor attractions and three racecourses.

Connemara Driving Tour: Galway

Connemara's unique landscape and quiet roads make it an ideal place to get behind the wheel and explore the countryside.

You'll have the freedom to meander at your own pace, stop for photographs and detour down back roads.

Westport and Connemara Driving Tour: Mayo

This tour, leaving Westport, takes you through Louisburgh giving superb views of Clew Bay with its numerous small islands.

From Louisburgh, take the R335 road for Leenane.

Christmas File photo

Go to work

Holiday? What holiday? Plenty of workplaces and offices are still open on December 25th.

Gardaí, ambulance, firefighters and other emergency services are all on duty.

While doctors, nurses and other staff must keep Ireland's hospitals going.

Several media outlets like Newstalk will also have a working day.

Christmas Generic stock picture of Christmas lunch | Image: Davis Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

Dine out

It might be one of the busiest cooking days of the year, but several hotels and restaurants will be serving on Christmas Day.

However, booking early is probably a good idea!


The Merrion, Dublin

Clontarf Castle


Limerick Strand Hotel


Four Seasons Hotel


Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa


Powerscourt Hotel 

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