Winterval Christmas Festival To Start In Waterford City On November 19

By Dave Simpson
Winterval Christmas Festival To Start In Waterford City On November 19

A Christmas festival called Winterval will start in Waterford city on November 19.


A statement about the festival said, Winterval, "Ireland's largest Christmas festival returns to Waterford this November and December for its 9th year with its biggest and most festive nineteen-day programme of events for all ages. Brought to you by Waterford City and County Council, this winter’s festival integrates the old and the new, with festival favourites that everyone knows and loves and a new mix of exciting programming to elevate Winterval to a whole new level.

"Ireland's oldest city of Waterford will be transformed into Ireland's largest Christmas festival, running from Friday November 19th until Thursday December 23rd over the first 4 weekends (Nov 19-21, Nov 26-28, Dec 3-5, Dec 10-12) and then a final weeklong run (Dec 17-23). Look forward to a round-trip non-stop journey to a world of Christmas celebration including Ireland’s largest Christmas tree measuring over 50ft tall, 5 citywide themed Festive City Quarters, the brand new Ar Ais Le Chéile fun-filled Irish living language area for families, the p-awesome Petstival zone filled with doggie delights and pet programming, the hands-on Kids Lab-Land STEAM and science hub, festive food and craft markets, live music and arts performance, and a plethora of free and ticketed entertainment for kids and adults, families and friends and even furry four-legged friends alike.  Promoting Christmas values of togetherness, family and joy, the theme of Winterval 2021 is 'Celebrate Together' and marks the gathering back together of families, friends and communities to create magical experiences and lifelong memories for them to cherish at the heart of Ireland’s oldest city.

"Five fun-filled Festive City Quarters, this year’s themed Winterval festival destination areas, will be spread across Waterford city for festival-goers to visit and revisit across the 5 week 19 day festival run and include the Continental Christmas Market Quarter (John Roberts Square / Broad Street / Michael’s Street), Elfstival Festival Family Quarter (Arundel Square), The Ever-Greenway Quarter (The Apple Market), Christmas Cultural Quarter (O’Connell Street) and the much-anticipated Winterval Wonder-Events Quarter (The Viking Triangle).

"Soak up the Christmas atmosphere and yuletide spirit at the Continental Christmas Market Quarter. Take your family photo with the spectacular and sparkly Ireland’s Largest Christmas Tree which measures over 50ft tall at the centre of Waterford’s Broad Street. Support the Waterford Rotary Club Memorial Christmas Tree Appeal and purchase a special memorial bow to remember a loved one and raise much-needed funds for Waterford Hospice and Solas Cancer Support Centre at Ireland’s largest Christmas tree. Whirl around the colourful Vintage Funfair including the festival’s Golden Gallopers Antique Carousel and browse the European styled christmas craft and food stalls and support local, regional and national producers, makers and creators this festive season. Pop along to the Polish Christmas, sample the unique tastes and smells of a Polish Christmas and browse the traditional crafts with Waterford’s Polish community. Visit this year's Rogues Winter Market who are partnering with Waterford Hungarian Cultural Organisation to bring local artisan crafts, jewellery, kitted and vintage goods along with all the festive Hungarian treats and more that you'll just adore. It wouldn't be Christmas in Waterford without the Waterford Eye! Do not miss out on taking a spin on this iconic 32 meter high big wheel and seeing Ireland's oldest city from new heights. Arrange to meet your friends and family at The Rapid Cabs Meeting Point at the centre of the Continental Christmas Market and create magical memories together at Winterval.


"Little and big kids (and grown ups that are still kids at heart) can look forward to the Elfstival Festival Family Quarter proudly sponsored by Make sure to visit Elfstival’s Giant Elf and post your special letters in Santa's Giant Postbox. Whirl and twirl on the children’s amusements rides, indulge in some tasty treats and of course make sure to book in to meet Santa at his grotto and tell him your christmas wishes at VIPSANTA at the city's Old Postal Sorting Centre on The Quays. Santa, and his team of trusty Elves, are making the journey from the North Pole to the wonderful Waterford Winterval this festive season and every child who visits will be gifted a beautiful book, 'The Adventures of Johnny Magory', written by award-winning Irish author Emma-Jean Leeson. You can also visit the exciting land of Johnny MaGory on the festival's opening weekend and let your little one's imagination run wild and free while learning all about Irish heritage and wildlife in Johnny Magory's Explorer Tent and 1972 VW Kombi bus. Families can have even more fun exploring by venturing off on the Johnny Magory QR Code Nature Trail hidden throughout Elfstival Festival Family Quarter.

"Get ready to go green at the beautifully dressed The Ever-Greenway Quarter proudly sponsored by the Southern Regional Assembly. at the city's lively Apple Market. Support local at the weekly Saturday Farmer's Market here; Dust off your dancing shoes and get ready to kick back to live music at the Apple Market Sunday Sessions celebrating and supporting live artists and musicians, which takes place at the Apple Market every Sunday of the Winterval festival (excluding Dec 5th). Across multiple Festive City Quarters, including The Ever-Greenway, from Dec 10th - 18th you can also support the Waterford Lions Club Christmas Appeal to raise funds for local charitable organisations also such as St. Vincent De Paul, River Rescue, Deise Men's Shed and many more.

"Do not miss the Christmas Cultural Quarter proudly sponsored by SE2 showcasing the creativity, culture and diversity synonymous with Waterford's vibrant Cultural Quarter. Enjoy delicious food and creative craft offerings from Waterford's new communities over the 5 week event. Grab your friends and gather at the Cultural Quarter for the Eats N Beats weekend, the international street food and music 2 day festival within Winterval that runs on Sat Dec 4th and Sun Dec 5th. Tuck into a smorgasbord of savoury and sweet international dishes, treats and tastes and dance, laugh and enjoy the live performances on the Eats N Beats Live Music and Performance Stage all weekend long! Highlights include music from Conor Clancy Band, Richie Hayes, brass band ensembles and choirs, comedy from Totally Wired, magic and street performance from Jack Wise and many more.  The Cultural Quarter are continuing the live music showcase on Saturday's Dec 11th and Dec 18th with their Winterval Stage at the Cultural Quarter, two spectacular live music and performance concerts for all to enjoy with african drumming from Shikaka, heavy rock covers from Road Dogs, hip hop reggae and swing from No Roots and more live music from Dave O’Sullivan Band, No Hot Ashes, Midnight Blind, Brand New Cadillac, Dunlovly, Harmania, Francis Long, Understarling and dance performances from Synergy.

"The Christmas Cultural Quarter is also home to the celebrated Garter Lane Theatre where Michael Grant and Pádraig Ó Gríofa present A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, an immortal classic that never fades and promises to fill the theatre with a traditional Christmas atmosphere bringing heart-warming joy in this timeless uplifting story. The annual Waterford Crafts Christmas Craft Fair is back for its 37th year in Garter Lane Arts Centre where you can explore the finest range of unique high-quality handmade gifts, produced by over 40 local craftspeople, all under one roof.

"At this year's Winterval, we are unveiling a spectacular brand new fun-filled festive area for families set in the city's historic Viking Triangle, the Winterval Wonder-Events Quarter proudly sponsored by Bausch + Lomb. Families can look forward to not only visiting this hero-events zone but revisiting this family-friendly quarter every weekend across the 5 week Winterval run and experiencing the new weekly programming on offer. The Winterval Wonder-Events Quarter proudly sponsored by Bausch + Lomb is home to the Winterval Wonder-Events Marquee which hosts the festival’s hero events including Petstival, Ar Ais Le Chéile, Kids Lab-Land, WAMA-palooza and The Winter Palace.


"Paws Everything and visit the brand new paw-some pet wellness zone Petstival in association with festival charity partner's DSPCA and Waterford Animal Welfare, running Sat Nov 20th and Sat Nov 21st. Treat your pooch to a doggie day out where they can take part in some fun, games and test their agility skills with the DSPCA Dog Training Team who will also be there to help with dog training advice.  The Customs Dog Unit will be joining us where you can meet some of the real life Doggie Detectives and see the important work they do and how they do it with live demos! Have your dog or new puppy microchipped with a DSPCA Vet who will also be giving advice on any pet health issues. Afterwards treat them to a Puppachino and some FREE Dentalife Dog Treats kindly sponsored by Purina. Those who are looking to add a furry friend to the family, will have the op-paw-tunity to meet dogs who are looking for forever homes in the Waterford Animal Welfare Doggy Adoption Parade. You'll be barking glad you joined us!

"Join us at Ar Ais Le Chéile from Fri Nov 26th - Sun Nov 28th, Winterval's new action-packed hero event celebrating Irish as a living language and the wonderful culture and heritage of Waterford's Gaeltacht na nDéise. Ar Ais le Chéile is presented in conjunction with Waterford City & County Council’s Irish Office, Glór na nGael and Plan Teanga na nDéise. There will be rí-rá agus ruaille buaille for all the chlann with poetry, music, storytelling and even circus shows and workshops; trad music and sean-nós singing concerts and sessions and a Pop-Up Gaeltacht or two. Families will get their Gaeilge flowing and have spórt agus spraoi with a busy programme of events from Glór na nGael and there will be plenty of cúpla focal, craic agus comhrá across the weekend. Book in early and don’t miss out on the Glór na nDéise Gala Concert for an evening of traditional music and song with Cór Fear na nDéise, the male voice choir from the Ring Gaeltacht, and traditional musicians and seannós dancer with Féile John Dwyer. Enjoy so much more at Ar Ais Le Chéile at the Wonder- Events Marquee, celebrating Irish as a living language.

"Discover the exciting world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) at Kids Lab-Land with CALMAST Waterford Institute of Technology's STEM Engagement centre, running Sat Dec 4th and Sun Dec 5th. Discover the science and engineering of Christmas and unleash your creativity with three fun filled hands-on STEAM workshops. Explore the science of polymers making Santa's Slime, learn about electricity making your own light-up Christmas card or become an engineer making a moving Christmas scene! Become the ultimate master LEGO builder with Bricks 4 Kidz; At Bricks 4 Kidz, kids will learn the basics of STEM and practice critical thinking, problem-solving and organisational skills - all while making cool LEGO creations! Workshops include Space Exploration & The Rocket, Exploring the Moon - The Lunar Rover and even Spiders and Kangaroos - and many more to book in and enjoy!

"Dance, drum, jump and join in at WAMA-palooza on Sat Dec 11th and Sun Dec 12th, the family live performance and creative festival within Winterval. Waterford Academy of Music & Arts and TheatreBox host this action-packed 2 day feast for the senses, with performances, art and music workshops as well as lively and energetic shows. Find your rhythm with drumming workshops and showcases, join in on the ukulele interactive ensembles and find your inner Picasso at the art and craft classes so much more.

"Bishops Palace Cafe in conjunction with Blackwater Distillery are delighted to bring you The Winter Palace - a week of festive food and drink in the Wonder-Events Marquee at Constitution Square from Dec 17th to 23rd. Admission is priced at €15 per person and will include a festive tipple and a Waterford Blaa filled with Irish Turkey and Ham with Mulled wine and Cranberry Cabbage or a Cheese and Ham Antipasto (vegetarian options also available). To drink choose from a selection of hot and cold cocktails like a warm Barry's Tea Gin Punch or a Hot Velvet Cap Whiskey and many more. Once inside The Winter Palace you can swoon to Old Time Christmas Songs and Carols and delight in the wonder of the sparkling Christmas Lights and Festive Atmosphere. There will also be an array of other Christmas offerings like Marshmallow Snowmen, Spiced Hot Chocolate and plenty of Speciality Coffee and Winter Warmers to keep the cold outside.


"In addition to the Winterval Wonder-Events Marquee, this Quarter also includes the all-time fan favourite Winterval Express Train at the House of Waterford Crystal, Hobby Horses by John Connolly, former Master Blower the House of Waterford Crystal, family funfair rides and delicious market stalls. The House of Waterford Crystal and Blackwater Distillery are delighted to present Around The World In A Whiskey Glass, a wonderful evening of whiskey discovery to kick-start the Christmas festivities! The House of Waterford Crystal will also be presenting their Annual Winter Music Series which will begin on Saturday 20th November and will run every Saturday and Sunday until the 23rd of December. Waterford's Winter Music Series 2021 will showcase a vast range of homegrown musical talent from jazz trios, traditional Christmas carolers and classical guitar and harp, there will be something for everyone! Take in the Christmas atmosphere as you listen and browse the stunning displays.

"The magic of Winterval also extends outside Waterford city centre. Let your little one get excited about Christmas this year by having a once in a lifetime exclusive family flight with Santa in his helicopter at Fly with Santa From Waterford Airport with Adventure 001. Now in its sixth year, The Enchanted Garden Winter Light Festival at Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens Tramore has firmly established itself as one of the leading Winter Light Festivals in Ireland and a truly magical experience for all age groups. These unique Japanese Gardens are lit at night by a sea of twinkling lights, animal sculptures, dramatic tree and foliage lighting all creating a magical winter wonderland that will mesmerize visitors young and old."

Additional Information

The statement about the festival added, "Make a holiday out of your Winterval adventures with a staycation in Waterford city. Waterford offers a plethora of accommodation options for families, friends and couples ranging from family-run hotels to home-from-home B&Bs and guesthouses, all of which can be found at  Overlooking the stunning River Suir, one of Ireland’s three sister rivers, the Darrer family of Dooley's Hotel have been welcoming guests for three generations and have over 70 years of exceptional service. Dooley's Hotel offers large spacious rooms perfect for family stays, free wifi and a lively hotel bar and well-known restaurant perfect to kick off your Winterval adventures. The Tower Hotel look forward to welcoming guests for Winterval. Why not visit The Tower Hotel's Pier 37 Bar & Grill for a hot chocolate or coffee, a quick bite to eat, or relaxed dinner after a busy day out and about or unwind in our Leisure Centre.  The Tower Hotel also offers a range of family rooms and free parking. The Fitzwilton Hotel is a boutique style hotel in the heart of Waterford City, offering complimentary onsite parking and free wifi to guests. Make the most out of Ireland’s biggest Christmas festival and book into Dooley's Hotel, Tower Hotel, Fitzwilton Hotel or any of the city's wonderful hotels for a family break, group holiday or romantic stay. Why not leave the car at home and visit Winterval and Waterford this festive season with Expressway, Bus Éireann's premium coach service with multiple routes connecting Waterford with every corner of Ireland. Dooley's Hotel is located directly opposite the bus station on the city's historic Merchants Quayside."

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.