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Ireland's biggest winter festival announces 2019 programme

By Brian Dillon

October 17, 2019 at 3:39pm


We're really looking forward to walking in this winter wonderland.

For the eighth year in a row, Winterval will be returning to Waterford. And this year, it will feature over 60 free and ticketed events and is set to attract a whopping 500,000 visitors.

Dubbing itself as 'Ireland's Christmas Capital', the festival will kick off on November 23 at 4.15pm when Mayor of Waterford City, Cllr. John Pratt and Santa himself switch on the city lights.

And after that, there will be loads of highlights during this magical festival.

This year, the festival will include a brand-new interactive Wizards and Dragons exhibition for its 2019 festival featuring animatronic dragons. It will actually be the first time the exhibition will be held in Ireland.

The programme also includes an outdoor cinema on Saturdays and Sundays, where festive favourites like The Polar Express and It's A Wonderful Life will be shown.

Also on the programme is Winterval On Ice, a 600sqm ice rink located at the new location of Bolton Street Car Park.

Visitors will also have the chance to journey through the heart of Winterval on the Winterval Express Train and Horse Drawn Sleigh.

And of course, the festival will also see the return of the iconic big wheel (AKA the Waterford Eye) as well as Santa's enchanting grotto.

The Winterval Christmas Markets and pop-up shops will arrive at Arundel and Cathedral Squares, while the Garter Lane Christmas Craft Fair will appear at Garter Lane Arts Centre.

Other events on the roster include free concerts, street performances and fairground rides, as well as a series of charitable events.

Festival Director Tommie Ryan said:

"Christmas is all about magic, and what is more magical than mythical creatures and some wonderful wizardry.

"We always want to ensure all children can enjoy a visit to Santa and so, have created a dedicated autism-friendly and sensory evening on Thursday, 12 December."

For the full list of events, head to


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