Christmas at the Library

Christmas at Cork City Libraries

Christmas at the Library | An Nollaig sna Leabharlanna

We have a great line-up of online events and activities to help you celebrate this Christmas.  Take a look at our exhibitions, both online and on site.  Check out our recommended reads, enjoy some Christmas music and storytelling, enter a competition or take part in an arts and crafts workshop with all the family.  This year our Writer-in-Residence, Tina Pisco, is giving exclusive access to her book, A Carol’s Christmas.  We have something for everyone!

Events and activities will be added throughout December.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date.

Happy Christmas from all at Cork City Libraries


Window Exhibitions

On display from 1st week in December

Ballincollig Library – Christmas Books

At Ballincollig Library, we will create a window display of Christmas past and Christmas-themed books for adults and children of all ages.

Glanmire Library – Memorabilia of Christmases Past

At Glanmire Library, we will display memorabilia of Christmases in Cork throughout the years; this will include photographs and articles from Cork newspapers and a Christmas favourite, The Holly Bough.

Hollyhill Library – The 12 Favourite Children's Books of Christmas

At Hollyhill Library, we will present the “12 Favourite Children’s Books of Christmas” - revealing one of the 12 books each day in their window display, along with excerpts from the book.  A review of each book will appear on our blog each day.  To read more visit our blog.

(Note: both adult and children's book reviews appear on our blog. Parental supervision advised)

Frank O’Connor Library, Mayfield – Favourite Christmas Books with the Elf on the Shelf

At Mayfield Library we will feature Christmas book excerpts in our window display, with favourites from The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol and more. We will also feature Clarence, the Elf on the Shelf from last year, as named by the children of Mayfield! You can catch him if you come and look, but he will move every night during the Christmas season from one part of our window displays to another so do visit regularly to keep an eye on him!

Tory Top Library – Community Winter Wonderland

At Tory Top Library we would like to acknowledge all the projects accomplished by the various groups that use our Community Room such as the Ballyphehane/Togher Community  arts and crafts group and the Tory Top Library Painters to name a few.

These groups form a huge part of the library and bring great positivity particularly during this year.

We will showcase their work and share their talents with the community in Ballyphehane and surrounding areas with a window display of Christmas Stockings by the patchwork group, a Christmas tree decorated with beautiful crochet decorations and a display of Christmas scenes by the Tory Top Library Painters. It promises to be a unique winter wonderland display.

Winter Words on Windows

This year we are teaming up with Re-imagine Glow to bring you literary Christmas quotes from famous writers. These are available to view on our library windows throughout the city.  Be inspired this Christmas with the beautiful words of Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Tina Pisco and many more.

Online Exhibitions

The Christmas Editions

A light-hearted and nostalgic look at the Christmas editions of some popular magazines from the Reference Library archives. Featured titles include Ireland's Own, The RTÉ Guide, Which? magazine and more from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. View exhibition

Origins of Christmas Traditions

A look at some popular Christmas customs and their surprising beginnings. View exhibition

Christmas Memories with the Cork Folklore Project

Christmas Memories Exhibition

This exhibition recounts the memories of a group of Cork men and women from their childhoods at Christmas time.  Christmas Memories is a joint project of the Cork Folklore Project and Blackpool Library.

Christmas-Memories.pdf (size 6.1 MB)

Cork: A City Burned – A City Reborn

This Exhibition explains how the heightening tensions and deepening conflict set the stage for the catastrophic events which befell Cork City on the night of December 11, 1920. Featuring strong visual content – photos, maps and ads for the shops which were destroyed, the exhibition gives a comprehensive account of what was lost on that dreadful night.

cork_a_city_burned_a_city_reborn.pdf (size 13.4 MB)

Cork: A Library Burned – A Library Reborn

This sister exhibition of, A City Burned Exhibition, tells the story of the Library moving from its first location in Emmet Place to the elegant building on Anglesea St in 1905.

cork_a_library_burned_a_library_reborn.pdf (size 11.6 MB)

The Holly Bough Exhibition

The Holly Bough, published by the Evening Echo, has been a Cork institution since 1897.  Executive Librarian Richard Forest takes us on a tour of our Holly Bough Exhibition and tells the story of one of Cork’s favourite publications.


Christmas Competition for Adults - Thursday 10 December

Guess the gift the Library can give you for Christmas and be in with a chance to win!!

The first 20 correct answers will receive a prize!

Email with your answers

Christmas Gift Box

Recommended Reading

Christmas Reads for Adults

Library Assistant, Dr. Sorcha Fogarty brings you the best picks from BorrowBox to get you in the festive mood.

Visit our blog to find out more.

Christmas Music

Ceol Coolroe Trad Session

Join Ceol Coolroe for an evening around the fireside of traditional tunes and songs.

With local musicians Jimmy Morrison and Joe O’Sullivan

Music Recital at the Rory Gallagher Music Library

Join us for our first online music recital. Filmed in the Rory Gallagher Music Library

Presented by Philip Brennan

Watch Full Recital

Top Ten Christmas Playlist

Senior Library Assistant, Conor MacHale is back with another great playlist from Freegal - a music streaming service, free of charge for members of Cork City Libraries. Members have access to unlimited streaming of up to 16 million music tracks.

Visit our blog to read more.

Listen to the playlist.

Writer-in-Residence - Read A Carol's Christmas by Tina Pisco

Read A Carol's Christmas by Tina Pisco, Cork City Libraries Writer-in-Residence 

(Note: This book is written for Adults)

A Carol's Christmas book cover

Many years ago, in the time before the Before Time, I was ready to jump from the short story to the novel, but did not have a clue how to go about it. I can’t remember how I landed on the idea that writing a modern version of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol was the launch pad I needed. I do remember I felt that those pesky problems of structure and pace would be easier to tackle if I followed Dickens’ template. I was also inspired by reading that Dickens had written the novella in six weeks motivated by financial necessity.  My younger self was impatient to finish a longer work, and financial necessity seemed as good a reason to write as any higher calling.

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published on December 19, 1842 and sold out by Christmas Eve. It was reprinted 13 times by 1844. (Well done Mr Dickens!) My version was not published for nearly twenty years. However, it did get me a publishing contract, and my first agent. It became my calling card until I wrote my first full length novel: Only a Paper Moon (Poolbeg).

A Carol’s Christmas finally found a home in my first collection of short stories Sunrise Sunset and other fictions (Fish 2016). It was wonderfully fitting, as Clem Cairns, the publisher, was the one who had encouraged me to write it all those years ago as we sat in his garden in Durrus, overlooking the Atlantic. When we decided to include it in the collection, I dusted it off, rewrote bits, updated the technology, and slightly altered the ending to reflect my 21st Century family. I changed very little. Though the years have passed, the things that were important to me then are still important to me now though many, many things in my life are different.

I hope you enjoy reading A Carol’s Christmas and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Library Calendar 2021 - Free

Cork City Libraries calendar 2021 highlights the devastation visited on the city on the night of 10 December 1920, through images courtesy of Cork Public Museum and Mercier Press.

Library Calendars are available in all branches of Cork City Libraries, limited to 2 calendars per person.

As a special gift to the people of Cork this year, all calendars are free of charge.

Plan C For Christmas - Newsletter

Read all about it in our Community Newsletter - Plan C For Christmas

plan_c_for_christmas_newsletter.pdf (size 2.1 MB)


Christmas Kids Library

Happy Christmas from Santa

Santa wishes you and your family a Happy Christmas.


Santa’s Storytime 

Join Santa as he reads from his favourite story The Night Before Christmas.

Santa Reads Your Stories  

Santa reads some of the stories children have sent to him.

Traditional Stories for Christmas and Winter with Patrick Ryan

Enjoy an eclectic mix of stories, one Irish, the others European, but all have the common theme of Christmas and winter. Age 4-8 years

Watch Full Playlist

Céiliúradh na Nollag | A Celebration of Christmas

As part of our online Christmas festival, listen to Gaeilgeoir and singer Samantha Mulcahy Ryan and her rendition of some traditional Irish songs, Christmas carols and poetry, all as Gaeilge. Featuring festive favourites such as Oíche Chiúin, Rudolph An Fia Rua, and the beautiful and uniquely Irish Don Oíche Úd I mBeithil.

Watch full playlist

Éist le Gaeilgeoir agus amhránaí Samantha Ní Mhaolchathaigh Uí Riain mar chuid dár bhFéile Nollag ar line. Tá amhráin traidisiúnta, carúil Nollag agus filíocht le cloisteáil cur i gcás Oíche Chiúin, Rudolf an Fia Rua agus an t-amhrán álainn Don OÍche Úd I mBeithil gan ach cuid acu a lua. Bain sult as.

Irish Christmas Tales with Paddy O’Brien as Gaeilge

Paddy will relate three traditional Irish stories, all as Gaeilge,

Don Nollaig, inseoidh Pádraig trí scéalta traidisiúnta Gaelach. Táid ar fáil ar ár leathanach baile don Leabharlann Leanaí

Watch full playlist


Colouring Competition for Kids

This year we are running a colouring competition to design your own Christmas tree. Submissions can be emailed in to and will feature on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Prizes will be awarded in 2 categories ages 4 –7 and ages 8 – 12 and winners will receive a library goody bag.

Closing date: Thursday 31 December

Christmas Card Competition for Kids

Blackpool Kids Library is running a competition to design your own Christmas Card.

Take a photo of your Christmas card and submit by emailing to

Prizes will be awarded in 2 categories ages 4 –7 and ages 8 – 12 and winners will receive a prize.

Closing date: Thursday 31 December

Recommended Reads

Top Ten BorrowBox Picks for Kids and Teens

Librarian, Nicola Lyons, brings you a list of cosy winter reads from BorrowBox to keep you entertained during the long winter evenings. 

Visit our blog to read more.

(Note: both adult and children's book reviews appear on our blog. Parental supervision advised)

Blackpool Library’s Top 10 Christmas Books for Children

At Blackpool Library we will display some of the best Christmas books for children for you to browse and borrow.

The 12 Favourite Children's Books of Christmas

Hollyhill Library Staff present, “Our 12 Favourite Children’s Books of Christmas!” Join us from Wednesday December 02, as we will reveal, in no particular order, books we recommend reading this Christmas.

A review of each book will appear on our blog each day.  To read more visit our blog.

(Note: both adult and children's book reviews appear on our blog. Parental supervision advised)

Fairies in the Library

Follow the Fairies

Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to see what our resident library fairies have been up to throughout the month.

Christmas Arts and Crafts

Christmas Arts and Crafts with Angela Newman

Learn how to make some great Christmas decorations for your home or to give as gifts this Christmas in this 3 part series.  Two more projects to be viewed on 07 and 14 December.