The lights and decorations come earlier every year but, as much as it seems like Christmas is becoming a start-stop affair like some seasonal traffic lights, there are some places where Christmas still feels authentic.
There’s an instant atmospheric shift when you walk through the gates of the Abbey Grounds, and while this is true of most events held there, the change is most notable as you wander under the twinkling lights of the Wicklow Christmas Market.
A makeshift market town has been fahsioned from cosy wooden cabins, fairy lights, and a whole host of stalls selling everything from Christmas decorations to gifts and delicious treats.
Our first call of action was to warm up with a coffee and a hot chocolate, which we happily nursed as we wandered through the Christmas Wonderland winding through pop-up streets.
Every now and then, one of the Christmas Market elves could be seen assisting a child on their way to meet Santa Claus, and while we didn’t have the honour of meeting him ourselves – the buzz around his Santa Express was undeniable. There were smiles all around as lucky children got to hop on the Santa Express, operated by everyone’s favourite elf, Oribel, and embark on a Christmas adventure on their way to meet the big man himself.
So, unable to contain our jealousy for much longer, we moved onwards through the market, taking in the huge selection of handmade gifts and decorations on display as appropriately Christmassy music filled our ears.
Then we heard someone shout a sequence of words that would seal our fate for the next twenty minutes.
“Man, the aplacas are over here!”
It was time to see the alpacas, and we weren’t disappointed.
Not to be confused with a llama (alpacas are much better), the alpaca is a species of South American camelid most likely to be found in Peru, Chile, and more recently – Wicklow Town. And not only were our fuzzy friends quite happy to pose for photographs taken by their adoring public, we also learned that there were award-winners and Supreme Champions among their ranks. We were in the presence of alpaca royalty, thanks to K2alpacas.
With free entry for all and plenty to do throughout the day, The Wicklow Christmas Market once again proved to be an all-round festive experience for the whole family and one that will inspire memories for years to come.
Have you had a chance to visit yet? The Wicklow Christmas Market will be open again on the 30th of November, the 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th of December from 12pm to 6pm. So you still have time to take in the festive energy and pick up everything you’ll need for the Christmas period.
You won’t want to miss it.
For more information, visit wicklowchristmasmarket.com.