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A Sensory Friendly Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….or so the song goes. In reality, the extra noise, flashing lights and loud music that accompany many seasonal events can prove challenging for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Thankfully many venues are recognising these difficulties.  Here are a few inspiring and sensory friendly Christmas events that have caught our eye.

Autism Friendly Trips to Santa.

The Aillwee Caves in Co.Clare is renowned for their unique Santa experience in surreal surroundings. Thursday 21st December is Sensory Day in Santa’s workshop.  Find out more information here.

Elftown in Galway has three floors of Christmas Magic to enthrall children big and small. They will open one hour earlier on both 15th and 16th of December for a special sensory morning. Find out more here.

The Santa Train Experience at Amber Springs, Gorey in Co.Wexford has a special sensory train on Saturday 2nd December. All aboard the Santa Express here

The Santa Experience in association with Dunnes Stores has three locations to meet Santa and find out who’s on his nice list. There is an autism-friendly session planned for Thursday 7th December, for Dublin, visit here, for Limerick visit here. And finally for Cork visit here!

The Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross, Co.Monaghan has been partly taken over by Santa and his elves. On Saturday 9th, they will have a sensory friendly afternoon.  Great staff and a relaxed atmosphere should ensure a happy experience for all.  Find out more here.

Mr and Mrs Claus will be holding court in Palmerstown House Estate in Co Kildare for the festive season. Special autism-friendly slots for the Christmas train and to meet the man in red himself are available on both Sat 2nd and Thurs 21st December. Find out more here.

Westport House in Co Mayo also has a special Sensory Santa evening planned for Thursday 7th December. As per their policy for all guests with disabilities, for each child with autism, a free ticket is available for a carer or helper. This is sure to be a magical evening. More information here.

Relaxed Pantomimes

As traditional as a tin of Roses, the pantomime is a highlight of the festive series for many children. However, with strobe lighting and general mayhem, they are often not the best place for someone with a spectrum disorder.  Here are a few productions that have specific relaxed shows at a more controlled decibel level that everyone can enjoy. Now altogether – He’s behind you….

A star-studded Cinderella in University Concert Hall in Limerick has Samantha Mumba, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Daryl Cronin and a superb cast ready to wow. A special sensory show takes place on Friday the 5th of December. Find out more here.

This year the Theatre Royal in Waterford are staging Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They will have a specific sensory performance on Thursday 7th December.  Booking must be made directly through the box office only. Find out more here.

Take a trip down the rabbit hole in Draíocht, Blanchardstown on Wednesday 10th January for their relaxed production of Alice in Wonderland. Find out more here. And for a visual preview of the venue, they have created this super video to accompany their performances here.

The Helix in Dublin is performing Beauty and the Beast this year. With softer acoustics and warmer lights, this sensory friendly show is sure to delight. It takes place on Tuesday 19th December. Find out more here.

Cinderella shall indeed go to the Ball this year in Ennis, Co.Clare. Glór theatre has a relaxed performance planned for Friday 22nd Dec. Find out more here.

A Donegal based Nutcracker will enchant at An Griánan in Letterkenny. With comedy, dance and drama, this show has something for everyone. Saturday 16th December sees a relaxed performance which is suitable for all. Find out more about the show here and about what a relaxed performance entails here.

All of the above events require booking in advance. And as places are limited please book early to avoid disappointment.  We have ensured all this information is correct at time of publishing but always check before you travel.

Source: – highlights sensory friendly events throughout the year, you can receive alerts should such events happening in your area.

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