Can you believe it’s December? I’m in shock. I used to be more of a Grinch about the festive season but the older I get, the more I love this time of year – yes, even the dark evenings. I particularly love Christmas in Dublin. Sure, it’s no Fifth Avenue but I love the Christmas lights on Grafton Street, the cosy open fireplaces in bars and the excuse to wear a ridiculous amount of layers and give up on your appearance. More than anything, I love counting down to going home for Christmas and the feeling of wrapping up everything I need to do before the festive season really begins.
With this in mind, I wanted to do quick post about 5 things to do in Dublin in December which is really a list of 5 things I myself hope to pack in this month. Some are brand new and others are new-ish but I just haven’t gotten around to checking them out. Next week I’ll do a roundup of Christmas events in Dublin so I’ve skipped really festive events.
So, here’s 5 things to do in Dublin this December:
STAY – The Alex
If you’re looking for a new haunt in Dublin that’s a stone’s throw from Merrion Square and Trinity College, The Alex Hotel should do the trick. Formerly The Alexander Hotel, this four star property has been given a complete facelift and now evokes 21st century hotel sophistication, as well as the occasional retro touch. If you can’t stay overnight, Steam cafe makes for a pretty cool meeting spot after work or, if you need a break from Christmas shopping, a cocktail at the slick Alex bar is the perfect way to top off a successful day of retail therapy.
In 2012 Frederic William Burton’s Hellelil and Hildebrand, the Meeting on the Turret Stairs was voted Ireland’s favourite painting. Inspired by a medieval Danish ballad about Hellelil, who fell in love with her personal guard Hildebrand, Burton’s epic watercolour captures a clandestine final encounter between the pair and it’s guaranteed to pull at the heart strings. Escape the winter chill for a few hours and check out this masterpiece and 70 other works by Burton at the National Gallery of Ireland. FW Burton: For The Love of Art ends on 14 January 2018 and tickets cost €15.
FILM – The Disaster Artist
If you’re an international reader, you might already have seen this movie but The Disaster Artist opens in Irish cinemas on December 8th and I can’t wait to see it. Earlier this year I read Greg Sestero’s hilarious memoir The Disaster Artist about the making of cult so-bad-it’s-good movie The Room. James Franco bought the book rights and has turned Sestero’s tale of meeting Tommy Wiseau and life inside The Room into big screen comedy gold. There’s a coterie of famous faces involved, including his brother Dave, Seth Rogen, Kelly Oxford and Judd Apatow, and Franco’s take on Wiseau is already generating Oscar buzz. After a few years of questionable, is-this-performance-art behaviour, I knew James Franco would redeem himself.
COFFEE – Bewley’s Grafton Street
When Bewley’s iconic café on Grafton Street closed its doors in 2015 for a revamp, there was a collective outpouring of ‘ah no!’ from locals and tourists alike. Now the city stalwart has reopened its doors and I’m reliably informed that it’s bigger and better – without losing any of its charm. Bewley’s first opened for business on Grafton Street in 1927 and its current iteration still has the ingredients that make Bewley’s Grafton Street so magical – the historic façade, the open fireplaces, the gorgeous Harry Clarke stained glass windows and, of course, the Bewley’s Mary Cake. The old Bewley’s reminds me of being a child on shopping trips with my parents and being absolutely agog at Grafton Street, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve done to the place.
CELEBRATE – Dublin Winter Solstice Festival, 21 Dec 2017, 5.30pm-7pm Grangegorman Campus
Winter Solstice takes place on 21st December each year and this year I plan on marking the shortest day of the year by attending Dublin Winter Solstice Festival. I’ve never attended this festival before so I’m looking forward to following the Parade of Light to Smithfield Square. Winter Solstice is celebrated around the world so you can expect locals and visitors alike at this unique celebration, which culminates in the incredible Fire Ceremony. As well as meeting the Sun and Snow Princesses, there’ll be storytelling, recitals, crafts, a traditional céilí and much more family-friendly fun to light up the darkest day. If you want to experience a colourful, free festival that pays homage to our ancestors, Dublin Winter Solstice Festival will be right up your street.
Up to anything fun in Dublin this month? I’d love to hear about it! For more tips on things to do in Dublin, check out my post on my favourite places in Dublin.