I’ve written before about how much I love visiting Europe in the winter time. It is purely magical; slightly chillier and mostly off-season, it feels more special than during touristy times. And then there are the Christmas markets. We have been to the Christmas market in Vienna, but being this is only Galway’s second year doing such a market, this is our first time visiting one here in Ireland.
Christmas markets are very popular in Germany and Austria, and there is certainly reason for this. They bring the most festive foods, drinks, and wares into one central, outdoor location. When you’re bundled up drinking a hot mulled wine while browsing the different stalls, the cold suddenly doesn’t matter. This past Friday afternoon after lunch and a walk, we made our way to the Galway Christmas market. Located in the center of town, Eyre Square, the market completely delighted us, and we will be returning again and again on our visit to Ireland.
The weather in Galway has certainly not been very nice over the past few days, but we got lucky on the afternoon the market opened with a respite from the rain and winds. First things first. I had to get a hot buttered rum from the Winter Warmer truck, just because I could. I don’t get what the big deal is with public drinking in America. We probably have a lot more dangerous activities that are legal. A hot cup of mulled wine or rum while listening to Christmas music and browsing stalls is harmless, and a great way to warm up!
The rum was so delicious, buttery and sweet and definitely hit the spot.
Of course, if you don’t like rum, you can have a hot port, a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau, or another wintry beverage.
The Christmas market features all sorts of food, like freshly made sweet or savory crepes.
It also offers plants of all types, with lots of seasonal flowers and greenery for holiday decorating.
A beer garden makes up a large part of the market and provides the perfect place to rest after an afternoon of shopping.
The markets serve as a great way to stimulate the local economy. Many, if not most, of the vendors featured some sort of local ingredient or craftsperson.
Seaweed is available in huge abundance in Ireland, and it is a popular beauty treatment both over-the-counter and in spas. The carrageenan is also sold to America to thicken sauces and dressings.
In addition to the market stalls, food, and drink, the Christmas market also features a few fun carnival rides for kids of all ages, making it a fun place for a day out for the family.
The Christmas markets in Europe embody the warmth and spirit of the season. They provide festive and often inexpensive treats and make the month of December something really special, giving people that boost to get outside, mix and mingle, and enjoy life, one of my favorite parts about visiting Europe.
Have you ever been to a Christmas market?