Glow has become a firm favourite for families across Cork. Photos: Cathal Noonan

Christmas is back, and so is Cork!

It only takes a brisk walk through the city centre these days to know that Cork retail is making a dramatic comeback.

With new shops and well-known brands popping up all over the place and plenty more to come in the new year, this Christmas should feel a lot more familiar to those of us who love to come to the city for our festive shopping.

In many places, where once stood ugly ‘to let’ signs, now fly snazzy and exciting ‘coming soon’ posters of all shapes and sizes. Cork’s coming back!

On Patrick’s Street, quality outdoor clothing and leisure brand The North Face plans to have its new store open just in time for Christmas shopping, right beside to the new Dune London footwear store which opened recently in the former Vision Express premises.

Another great addition to the city’s retail offering was Dubray Books which opened late last year and is still going strong. The beautiful 2 story bookshop is sure to be a hotspot for Christmas cosiness again this year.

Once the shopping is done, no Christmas is the same in Cork city without a wander through the always fabulous Glow Christmas Market, complete with its towering ferris wheel and array of stalls and live music. Glow opens on 26 November this year and runs all the way until 9 January.

Another unmissable event taking place this Christmas is the Magic Nights By The Lee - A Winter Solstice series which follows on from the hugely popular Magic Nights By the Lee series last summer.

The Christmas series will run from 21-23 December in Fitzgerald’s Park and will feature 3 nights of outdoor music, comedy and entertainment, all hosted by the hilariously irreverent Cian Austin Jesus, half of RTÉ Junior’s ‘The Body Brothers’, and acrobatic comic duo, The Lords of Strut. Shows take place each night from 6-8.30pm and booking is essential. To book, visit

Then there’s the pantos! This year The Everyman will be donning its glass slippers for “Cork’s favourite panto” ‘Cinderella’, running from 3 December to 15 January. In Cork Opera House, audiences will be kept wide awake by this year’s panto ‘Sleeping Beauty’, running from 1 December to 22 January.

Don’t worry, we’ll be going into far more detail on the pantos later in this feature. Oh, and keep an eye out for the decidedly more adult orientated Improv Panto too!

Don’t forget to support and shop local this year when you can.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!