Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Ireland’s Christmas festival Winterval is celebrating 10 years

30/11/2012. Free To Use Image. Santa arrived in true Waterford style today; he was delivered to the city by sailing up the River Suir on a 40-foot Viking Longboat to open the city’s Winterval Festival. Waterford has not seen a Viking Longship on its waterways for over a thousand years. Pictured at Santa Grotto is Santa are young vikings Dearbhla Doyle, Alex Maguire, Aoibhin Cashman, Joel Maguire, Taillte Doyle. Picture: Patrick Browne November 30, 2012. Viking Longboat Delivers Santa to Waterford A 40-foot Viking Longboat sailed up the River Suir in Waterford today (Friday, November 30) for the first time in over a thousand years; the ship will deliver Santa Claus to the city to officially open the Winterval Festival. The Viking Longboat weighs over one ton and was built in Waterford over a period of 18 months. The longboat is based on an 11th century Viking ship found in Denmark. Similar ships timbers were discovered during the excavations of Waterford city, which took place between 1986 and 1992. The much-anticipated Winterval, Ireland’s Christmas festival will be officially declared open by Santa as he arrives on the Marina at the Plaza on the city’s quayside at 3pm. Setting sail from the North Pole earlier in the week Santa will be assisted by a crew ofWaterford Vikings who will row the boat to the city centre, here he will be met by his hardworking Winterval elves and some wonderful yuletide Vikings and once ashore Santa will be guided to his Grotto at Winterval, and take up residence at the historic undercrofts of the Medieval Museum in the Viking Triangle. The Winterval festival takes place from November 30 to December 23 and offers a trail of over 20 festive events to locals and visitors with 13 events offering free admission. Commenting on the festival opening chairperson of Winterval Barry Monaghan said, “We are thrilled to be officially opening Winterval today. We have seen the festival capture the imagination of people since we a

Waterford is set to host the 10th annual Winterval Festival from November 18th to December 23rd 2022 celebrating its biggest programme of events yet. A total of 38 events will be on with 25 of those available free of charge.

Fun for all of the family

Winterval firm favourites will be hosted across Waterford City including the ice rink on the city’s quayside, the vintage Ferris wheel at Arundel Square, a vintage carousel and the Waterford Eye is also back as is a reimagined Winterval Mini Express Train.

In addition, there are some brand new elements including a virtual ride in Santa’s sleigh plus a Wizard and Dragon interactive exhibition which offers the thrill of seeing fictitious characters brought to life through simulations, gigantic animatronics and visuals.

The Winterval light show will be projected onto a purpose-built Winterval Castle placed as the entry point and will take place every half hour.

Santa will be taking centre stage at the festival in the heart of the city on Broad Street. He will be ensconced in Santa’s Central Station where a band of merry elves will lead little ones to the door of Santa’s magical cabin and families can meander through Santa’s city centre installation, taking pictures with photo scenes along the way.

A nighttime image of the Winterval festival with a lit-up carousel and a train in the square.
Picture: Patrick Browne

There will be live music on stage each weekend in Waterford’s cultural quarter featuring a mix of community and professional acts serving as the perfect backdrop to the festival market.

The Winterval Christmas market will be set out in a series of attractive wooden chalets through the spine of Ireland’s oldest city into the cultural quarter – spanning the Viking city from George’s Street to Hanover Street and onto Gladstone Street and all in the midst of the Winterval family fun attractions.

The market will connect with Waterford Crafts at Garter Lane Gallery, all-encompassing a variety of over 100 food, drinks crafts and gift producers and creators.

Waterford’s heritage takes prime position with Déise Medieval will host a traditional Viking Settlement where festivalgoers can hark back in time and enjoy the real-life smells, foods and experiences of Viking life during the festival season back when Waterford was first established as Ireland’s oldest City.

Brand new and novel elements include an opportunity for visitors to book a date for their doggie with Santa Paws plus the Gerbola Circus will be hosting a festive circus show each weekend.

The full Winterval Festival programme is available to view and book online.


I'm a freelance content creator, author, and journalist who has a strong desire to share interesting content about Irish people and things about Ireland at home and abroad. I am constantly curious.

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