Republic of Ireland – A European Christmas Story

“Nollaig Shona Duit” is Merry Christmas in Irish with Christmas celebrations running from Christmas Eve until the Epiphany on the sixth of January: also known as “Little Christmas”.  At this time trees are taken down to end the festive celebrations.

Around Christmas time in Ireland it is a tradition for people to head to the sea and take a swim in the cold water and celebrate the festive celebrations.  It is also tradition for people to make a ring of holly that they can hang on their doors.  This can be done at many of the Christmas fairs and markets around Ireland. 

Winter warmers including hot Irish Whiskey punch that is made from whiskey, lemon and cloves and a touch of brown sugar are drank throughout Christmas.

Little Christmas is also a tradition that takes place on the nearest Sunday to Epiphany where women come together to have conversations and tea and cakes.  It is also an opportunity to relax and enjoy the day with people within the community.

Traditional Christmas food includes turkey dinner with vegetables, pickled onions and sauces.  The cooking of spiced beef is also a tradition where it is spiced over several days cooked then eaten. 

Christmas pudding is a traditional desert that has rich fruit in covered in marzipan and decorated in icing.  A round cake is also made full of caraway seeds one is usually made for each member of the household to celebrate Christmas.

An anonymous personal story:

The Irish Christmas is pretty much the same as the English CHRISTMAS, as IRELAND was part of the UK up until about 100 years ago or so. I suppose the only real difference would be that IRELAND is pretty much ROMAN CATHOLIC with very little religious diversity up until about 30 years ago, so CHRISTMAS may have been pretty much religious orientated  as oppose to “ retail orientated’ up until then.  Christmas time is also about celebrating the birth of Christ. 


Q1. What do you have for Christmas dinner?

DINNER- As per English dinner roast turkey with Vegetables very much like an English roast dinner.

Q2. What is your fondest memories of Christmas?

Probably waiting to hear Santa’s sleigh bells above the roof, or awakening on Christmas day morning to find presents at the foot of the bed…As a teenager it was good to go to midnight mass and catch up with the kids outside the church after and roll on to parties…

Q3. What types of presents do you get from friends and family?

During Christmas we would get records, books, games, sports kit, electrical items from friends and family.

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