Leah Fairman By Leah Fairman

| 16 November 2023

A Donegal December in 5 Events

Though lots of emphasis is placed on summer holidays, there’s something magical about the Irish countryside during colder months too. And amidst the bustle of preparing for Christmas, it can be nice to get away – even for a long weekend – and take a moment to relax in the unmistakable surroundings of a crisp Irish winter. Need to get some work done while you’re away? No problem – there are hundreds of Connected Hubs dotted around the country, meaning you can pop in to send emails or attend meetings, before rejoining your family winter adventure!  

This month’s destination spotlight is on Donegal, an enchanting county in the north-west known for its haunting landscapes. Wild and windswept, it was voted one of the top 10 regions to visit in 2024 by Lonely Planet. Tempted to make the trip? You won’t be disappointed. Here are five events taking place across the county this festive season that you can work into your itinerary!  


1 Christmas Panto: Beauty & the Beast, Ballyshannon 

The Abbey Arts Centre in the charming south Donegal town of Ballyshannon hosts its annual panto (oh yes it does!) from December 9th – 16th. This year, they’ve opted for that Disney classic, Beauty & the Beast, with tickets priced at €15. Of course, mums and dads can soak up that glorious Rory Gallagher energy around the town, or take a trip to the nearby coastline, before and after the show!  

Nearby hub: ACL Co Work & Train, Ballyshannon  


2 Murder Mystery, Lifford Old Courthouse 

This one’s for the grown-ups! Two fun murder mysteries take place on December 9th and 15th at the Old Courthouse in Lifford, a small town with a big heart on the Donegal / Down border. Run in association with the talented Lifford Players, guests will be treated to a wine reception and delicious four-course meal by the enigmatic Lord Slackbladder, before delving into the evening’s mystery! Tickets are priced €40.  

Nearby hub: The Base Enterprise Centre, Stranorlar 


3 Christmas Craft Fair, Letterkenny 

Letterkenny’s famous theatre, An Grianán, host their annual Christmas craft and art fair on December 2nd. Perfect for a spot of Christmas shopping, local stallholders will be showing their wares; expect ceramics, pottery, fashion, jewellery and art. Letterkenny is a fantastic base from which to explore the furthermost regions of north Donegal; the county’s jutting peninsulas offer fabulous views out to the North Atlantic.    

Nearby hub: gteic @ An Tearmann 


4 Santa Express, Oakfield Park, Raphoe   

Next, to the historic heritage town of Raphoe, nestled in the scenic Laggan Valley. The Santa Express runs in local Oakfield Park for the duration of the festive season. Little ones can expect arts and crafts, games and even an igloo ice kingdom as they await their visit to the Big Man! During your visit, be sure to check out the ruins of Raphoe Castle (dating back to the 1600s) and the ancient Beltony Stone Circle.   

Nearby hub: Enterprise Fund Business Centre, Letterkenny  


5 Wild Ireland Sanctuary 

Located in an ancient Celtic rainforest in Burnfoot on the stunning Inishowen Peninsula, Wild Ireland offers visitors an opportunity to step back in time. Wolves, bears and wild boar live freely at this sanctuary, which is all about conservation, education and rescue. Throughout December, the team runs a special Christmas experience, whereby little ones get to enjoy these amazing animals before meeting Santa and the elves.  

Nearby hub: ii – inishowen innovation, Buncrana  


Those are just some of the fabulous festivities taking place around Donegal this December. But remember, no matter where your adventure takes you, there are hubs at every turn! What’s more, you can reserve a desk in just a couple of clicks using our online booking system 


Cover image [Errigal, via Ireland’s Content Pool]  


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