Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Gigantic Winterval Festival Programme Announced for 2023

Free-to-use image Pictured are the Viking Elves of Waterford ‘Huldufólk’ Leo McNicholas (age 9), Jonah Brennan age 5, Hugh and Jeff Cowman (age 5 and 2) as they count down to the opening of the City’s Winterval Festival on November 17th, 2023. The Festival will have over 40 events on offer including Deise Medieval where a real-life Viking Village will showcase how Ireland’s oldest city celebrated Yule, for details on this event and more see - Photo Patrick Browne.

Waterford will host its 11th annual Winterval Festival from November 17th to December 23rd. With a programme of over 40 events, festivities are set to officially begin with a gigantic Christmas Parade rolling through Waterford city on a 1km route from its Quayside to the top of John Robert’s Square.

The parade will see the arrival of Santa Claus where he will travel to the festival’s main stage for the switching on the City’s Christmas lights, marking the beginning of festivities in Ireland’s oldest City.

Winterval will host over 40 festive fun events with 20 of those on offer free of charge, in addition, some of the ticketed events will see proceeds donated to the charity organisations Tintean Housing Association and The Red Cross.

Picture: Patrick Browne

The family-friendly programme can enjoy one-off events including:

  • Jingle Bells Christmas Cycle
  • Christmas Tractor Parade
  • Blue Light Showcase with all of the emergency services
  • SuirCon Comic Conference
  • BuskAid
  • the Irish Doctor’s Choir presentation of Samson
  • Home Alone screened with a live score by the National Symphony Orchestra
  • The Armed Man at St John’s Church
  • the Lions Club Christmas Concert at the Cathedral

A brand new Viking Elf trail hunt is also on offer along with access to a Viking Yule Village by Deise Medieval where Waterford’s heritage takes prime position with a showcase of what Christmas was like in Waterford some 1100 years ago when it was founded by the Vikings.

Festivalgoers can hark back in time and enjoy the real-life smells, foods and experiences of Viking life during the festive season. There will also be storytelling sessions, a free music stage, a model circus and fairground exhibition and lots more.

The Winterval firm favourites will also be available across the city from the ice rink on the city’s Quayside to the vintage Ferris wheel at Arundel Square to the vintage carousel in John Robert’s Square.

In addition, there are some brand-new elements including a fantastical ‘Adventure of Narnia’ show which will be hosted at a mini Big Top in the heart of the City at Jenkin’s Lane.

The performance will leave audiences mesmerised with aerial displays, fire breathing and more as the magical story of Narnia is unveiled.

There will also be a brand new Lego exhibition and workshops, a 360 video booth, a Winterval Book of Love, Candlelight music sessions in the city’s 13th-century undercrofts, a Yuletide Festival at Christ Church Cathedral and more.

Santa will be taking centre stage at the festival in the city’s heart on Broad Street. He will be ensconced in his candy-filled Gingerbread House in the city centre for Winterval. The Winterval elves have been super busy and they will be ready to welcome boys and girls to visit Santa from November 17th.

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 and the Waterford Cultural Quarter Market featuring crafts from the city’s vibrant arts community.

There will also be a live choral stage each weekend in Waterford’s cultural quarter featuring a mix of choirs from all over the country serving as the perfect backdrop to the festival market.

Winterval is the biggest celebration of the festive season in Ireland and we are very proud to unveil a programme that is comparable with some of Europe’s biggest festive celebrations.

The festival is filled with delights at each turn in Waterford, from music to great food, crafts and things to do for all the family – it is just bursting with festive cheer. The full Winterval Festival programme is available to view and book online here.


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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