5 Irish Christmas Traditions you Really Should Know

Tomorrow is our final day at City Language School. When classes end at our city centre campus tomorrow afternoon, we will be calling it a wrap for 2022. Many of our students will jump on planes and head back home to their loved ones to spend Christmas and New Year’s, but many others will stay in Ireland and spend the festive season with friends or their adopted Irish families. With that in mind, we thought it only fair to give those who are staying some tips and advice around some Christmas traditions that they might see as they are out and about in Dublin or elsewhere in the country.

Twelve Pubs of Christmas

We have all been there. Settling down for a nice cosy pint after a spate of shopping when suddenly our relaxation is interrupted by a large group of men kitted out in the most garish Christmas jumpers and adorned with Santa hats that are just about staying on their heads. Participants of the so-called Twelve Pubs of Christmas are easy to detect; not just because of their attire but also because of their more than cheerful demeanour. If you engage in conversation, be prepared for a full rundown of the itinerary. If you decide to join one, best of luck.


On occasion, the Twelve Pubs participants come armed with mistletoe. Tradition has it that if you find yourself under mistletoe (often hanging over a door) you are supposed to kiss the person you are talking to. You are of course entitled to refuse the kiss but tradition states that this will bring you bad luck. Depending on who you meet, you might just take your chances.

Christmas Swim and/or Walk

For years now, natives of coastal areas around Dublin, such as Sutton and Dun Laoghaire, have taken it upon themselves to get up early on Christmas Day and go for a swim. Indeed, the swim at the Forty-Foot pier in Dun Laoghaire is so famous that it usually features on the news. A far gentler tradition is the Christmas walk. Don’t be surprised if you’re at your adopted family’s house and they all suddenly get up and go for ‘the walk’ in the local park or up the mountains and reminisce over Christmasses past.

Picture courtesy of the Journal.ie Read full article here


Particularly popular in the southwest of Ireland, Wren Day, is a uniquely Irish celebration held on December 26th. The tradition consists of hunting a wren, which in reality they don’t really do anymore, and putting it on top of a decorated pole. Crowds then gather to celebrate the wren by dressing up in masks, straw suits, and colourful clothing. They form music bands and parade through towns and villages. Those taking part are called the wrenboys.

Bono (and others on Grafton Street)

Busking has long been a part of life on Grafton Street and Christmas is a mega busy time for those who actually make thier living by busking. Many famous Irish singers and songwriters actually started out on Grafton Street and traditionally many of them turn up to busk in front of hundreds of revellers for charity on Christmas Eve. If you’re hanging out on Christmas Eve, your best bet is to stay around the Stephen’s Green end of Grafton Street and you’ll have a good chance of spotting them…well hearing them anyway.

Your Language School in Dublin City Centre

City Language School is right in the heart of Dublin City Centre. Dublin is the proud and vibrant capital of Ireland and with its cosmopolitan and modern feel, it has repeatedly been voted Europe’s friendliest city by Trip Advisor. Dublin boasts strong links with literature, music, dance and storytelling. As you walk through the streets of Temple Bar, you can absorb the musical tradition which spills onto the streets from the many bars and restaurants; truly a city of enormous beauty! Dublin is surrounded by breath-taking natural scenery that will leave you with lifelong memories. It is perfectly located on the eastern coastline of Ireland and is a convenient gateway to the rest of Europe.

We are conveniently located in the heart of Dublin on Dame Street, giving you easy access to the whole city of Dublin as well as bus and tram lines for you to get around.