Thousands of lights will be officially turned on in Cork city on Sunday 17 November on Patrick St. to kick start festivities across the city. It’s an evening for all the family as the street will be closed off for the official launch of Christmas with the Lord Mayor, musical performances on the main stage as well as a special lighting illumination show in the heart of the City.

Tír na Nollaig, a magical ‘faery’ village, will open free of charge for all at Bishop Lucey Park in the heart of Cork City Centre for the duration of the Glow festival. Larger than life toy soldiers will guard a fort which hides this enchanted village. As visitors step into the Christmas fairytale, they will be greeted by magical faery inhabitants as they wander around a faery woodland where the Spirit of Christmas lives. The woodland will be filled with faery houses, magical forest creatures, a Christmas throne and sleigh, a magical well, and the charm of childhood imagination brought to life. Make sure you peek through the windows in the faery village hall to see a magical world where geese come to life in the fountain, snowflakes fall and faeries fly.

Original traditional Irish music has also been composed for Tír na Nollaig so that visitors truly feel transported to magical place. Not only that, but kids will be able to post their letter to the North Pole, sprinkled with magical faery dust to ensure their wishes come true. Open from 4pm-8pm for the four weekends in the run up to Christmas, the journey through the park will take approximately 20 minutes.

If you are looking to seek that special gift or stocking filler, look no further than the festival’s authentic indoor Crafts Market, the Craft Exhibition and Fair by Cork Craft and Design at the stunning Triskel Christchurch. There will be a variety of crafts for sale for all budgets including jewellery, art, children’s toys, fashion accessories and rustic trinkets.

Cork is renowned as the culinary capital of Ireland, so there’s no better place to sample tasty tidbits from local food producers than at the Glow Christmas Food Market on the Grand Parade, or at the nearby permanent famous food market, The English Market. From crepes and gourmet sausages to locally produced spiced beef, poultry, cheese, vegetables, breads, and fresh organic herbs, there’s something to tantalise all taste buds. This outdoor food court also has a seating area so you can relax and take in the atmosphere. Make sure you also savour some of Cork’s fantastic restaurants during your stay.

From high street shops, boutiques and quirky gift shops, there’s something special about Christmas shopping in Cork. Everything is within a few minutes’ walk as it’s a very compact city, the locals are renowned from their friendliness, and the city has the many individually owned shops, which means you have a better chance of finding something unique.