CHRISTMAS IS a special time of year wherever you are in the world, but there’s something extra special about seeing in the festive season in Ireland.
From unique traditions to extra-special additions to the usual turkey with all the trimmings, here are 12 reasons why there’s nothing quite like Christmas in Ireland.
12. It all starts with the The Late Late Toy Show on RTE
It’s essential viewing and the only place to find out the year’s must-have toy.
11. There's Culchie Day in early December
That one day when people from the country head to Dublin for hectic Christmas shopping.
10. Fairytale of New York is the best Christmas song of all time.
No December is complete without multiple listens and at least one drunken sing-song.
9. There’s no such thing as Santa.
In Ireland we call him Santy and he’s 100% real.
8. You don’t leave mince pies out for him either.
He prefers something stronger: ideally a can of Guinness.
7. Christmas Eve wouldn’t be the same without midnight mass.
Except it doesn’t start at midnight. More like nine o’clock.
6. The pubs are all shut on Christmas Day.
So, make sure you stock up early to beat the mad rush on Christmas Eve.
5. No Christmas is complete without the RTE TV Guide.
Plan out the Christmas Day viewing in advance to avoid arguments.
4. Candles in every window of every house.
Inspired by the story of Mary and Joseph, families everywhere light candles.
It’s about letting the lost and lonely know your home is open to them.
3. Irish spiced beef is a traditional culinary treat
A familiar favourite that’s a great accompaniment to the traditional turkey.
2. The only way to improve on a trifle: make it an Irish Sherry Trifle.
No expense should be spared either: copious amounts of quality Irish Sherry are a must.
1. It's not St Stephen's Day, it's Wren Day
Men dress up in old clothes and paint their faces to become 'The Wren Boys'.
They go door to door singing, dancing and playing music, collecting money to “bury the wren”.
It's a lot more fun than it sounds, honest. Like trick or treat but Irish.