The Polar Express Clonakilty

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Santa is delighted to be coming back to Clonakilty this Christmas!

The West Cork Model Railway Village and Karl O’Connor Creative are going full steam ahead again this year with the return of the festive Christmas experience, The Polar Express.
Hop aboard the Choo Choo Road Train where families will have to help out as the train is powered by Christmas songs. Mrs Claus and the elves will be sharing in the fun this year. Children will enjoy a craft activity, see the action in the workshop, meet Dasher the talking reindeer, visit Santa in an authentic railway carriage and lots of other surprises along the way!
Twinkling lights and seasonal magic will fill the air as you explore the Villages of Light and see miniature West Cork as you’ve never seen it before. Follow the model trains and have fun trying out the remote control boats and mini diggers.
With the help of the Model Village staff and Karl O’Connor Creative, Santa plans to spread magic over Clonakilty this Christmas!

Tickets for The Polar Express Clonakilty are on sale now!


Booking Guidelines

• The experience will take 1 hour and 30 minutes, after which families are welcome to enjoy the Village of Lights, outdoor activities and cafe. We suggest planning a 2-hour visit; please keep this in mind when selecting your date and time.
• The ASD-friendly booking times are sold out but we are taking details of families that would like to be added to the waitlist and will be opening new time slots. Please email to be added to the waitlist.
• Please tick the wheelchair option if there is one or more in your party with a wheelchair. Please do not tick the wheelchair option for strollers and buggies


The Polar Express Clonakilty Booking Calendar

First, please choose the number of families you would like to book in, then add the number of adults and children who will be attending.




Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes, booking in advance is essential. As we are running on a limited number of days, we strongly recommend booking early. Tickets go on sale Wednesday 21st September.


Is there parking?

Yes, there is free parking for customers of the Model Village. The car park has car park attendants to ensure a smooth operation.


How long does the event last?

Groups start every 15 minutes. The experience will take 1 to 1.15 hours, after which families can explore The Village of Lights, outdoor activities and cafe. We suggest planning for a 2-hour visit; please keep this in mind when selecting your date and time.


What is the ASD-friendly booking time?

On Thursday, 15th December, we will be running ASD-friendly booking times from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Santa experience will be dialled down for sound, lighting, visuals and have smaller capacity numbers. The experience will run every 30-minute schedule instead of 15 minutes. Staff will be on hand to support family members with moving through the experience. This time is for anyone who would enjoy a less busy and less-stimulating visit. Bookings should be made with the specific ASD Polar Express Booking Calendar above.


Do we have time with Santa?

Yes, families will get lots of time with Santa and Mrs Claus! Santa’s train carriage will fit a maximum of 40 individuals, that’s about 8 families. Santa and Mrs Claus will engage with families together and have time to chat with each family individually too.


Will children receive a present?

Yes, children will receive a present as part of the experience. Children can choose their present from a wide range of toys in Santa’s Toy Workshop.


Can we get a professional photo with Santa?

Families can pose for a professional Christmas photo. Santa has lots of families and children to see, so we’re delighted that Envisage Photography is helping Santa to create three magical green screen backdrops. Before the event starts, three photographs will be taken of Santa around the Model Village, and the team at Envisage will use green screen technology to snap the family photos in front of these backdrops.


Is the event different by day and by night?

The event will feel different by day and night, and we think there are great positives to both! The train carriage decorations and the Model Village diggers and boats will be best in the daytime. The Magical Village of Lights and Christmas lighting around the site will be best at dusk and night-time.


Will there be food and drinks available to purchase?

There will be tea, coffee, hot chocolate, refreshments and snacks available on site. For more substantial items for lunch and dinner, we suggest looking at the many great eateries in Clonakilty town, which is under 10 minutes walk from the Model Village.


Is the event indoor or outdoors?

The experience takes place both indoors and outdoors. We advise rain-appropriate clothing and shoes. Dress warmly in layers, hats, and rain gear when necessary.


Will there be bathrooms available?

Yes, we provide bathrooms, wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and changing facilities.


Is the event wheelchair accessible?

The event is wheelchair accessible – the two Christmas carriages have ramps and operate with a one-way system. We provide wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, and the road-train can accommodate one wheelchair per journey. The Village of Lights and all areas of the Model Village are wheelchair friendly.


We are visiting Clonakilty, is there accommodation available?

We have partnered with the Clonakilty Park Hotel to offer a festive family getaway experience. Visit their website Clonakilty Park Hotel for all the details.


Can I reschedule my booking?

Yes, you can reschedule your booking, but only to an available timeslot – please contact us at with the details. We will do our best to accommodate you but cannot guarantee it.


If the event cannot proceed, will I be refunded?

Yes, you will be fully refunded if the event cannot go ahead. If the event cannot proceed for a particular day or days, for example, due to an extreme weather event with code red, you will receive a full refund.


Can I cancel my booking?

We have a no-refund policy for cancellations. You can, however, freely transfer/give the booking to someone else as long as the attendee number stays the same. If you decide not to show, email bookings@modelvillage as there may be a family waiting list for your booked time – thank you!


I need to add an extra child/adult to our booking. How can I do this?

If you need to add more individuals to your booking, please email, and we will endeavour to accommodate you.


I am having trouble booking online.

First, please check that you are using Google Chrome, Safari or Opera as your browser. Internet Explorer is no longer supported by many operating systems. If the issue persists, please try on your mobile device. If you continue to have trouble, please call us on 0238833224 or email


Covid-19 Guidelines
We are operating in line with the Failte Ireland Safety Charter and will follow all government guidelines during the event. If this event is cancelled, you will be issued a full refund.