As Christmas decorations are well and truly alight across the country, we turned our attention to some you can eat too! Gingerbread House displays are one of the sweetest attractions (excuse the pun) to be enjoyed, so here is our list of the best.   

Gingerbread houses seem to have originated in Germany during the 16th Century. Gingerbread itself can be traced back even further to Greece and China. Apparently Queen Elizabeth I has been credited with the idea of decorating the cookies after she had some made to resemble the dignitaries visiting her court. Over time, some of these festivals came to be known as Gingerbread Fairs. 

However, the elaborate cookie-walled houses that we know and love were catapulted into popularity when the Brothers Grimm published the story of brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel. Unfortunately for this tasty treat, it's quite a dark tale to be associated with, in which (spoiler alert!) the main characters stumble upon a fantastic house deep in the forest made entirely of gingerbread and sweets; after being invited inside by the lovely elderly homeowner to eat as much as they like, events quickly take a turn for the worst and they not only find themselves as captives to a witch but also the ingredients for entrées, mains and dessert... we all no the rest of the story, which has a happier end for Hansel and Gretel than it does for the witch!

After the book was published, the rise in popularity of Gingerbread houses saw German bakers baking lots of ornamented houses and it became quickly associated with Christmas. this tradition made its way to America with immigration and the rest is history! 

We're delighted to see the tradition continued to such degree in hotels and restaurants, and homes, across the country. There’s nothing as appealing as a building made of biscuit, and nothing more fun than decorating it, so take a look below at some that we’ve found in Ireland’s hotelsthat are worth visiting... 

The Johnstown Estate, Enfield, Co. Meath

Pastry chef Weduge Fernando has created a gingerbread village full of wonder at The Johnstown Estate this year. The village includes a church, a school, houses, a railway and villagers and will be on show in the hotel’s atrium during the festive season.

Johnstown Estate's gingerbread village

Johnstown Estate's gingerbread village

The Shelbourne, Dublin

The pastry team at The Shelbourne have truly knocked it out of the park this year! On show at the iconic Dublin hotel is a series of gingerbread buildings, each with their own unique decorations, as well as two floating hot air balloons with gingerbread baskets.

Galway Bay Hotel, Galway

The Galway Bay Hotel has a fabulous gingerbread village on display for this festive season. Featuring Santa Claus, pretzel fences and chilly chimneys, this gingerbread village nearly looks too good to eat!

Sandymount Hotel, Dublin

Led by head chef Shane Doherty, Sandymount Hotel’s seasonal gingerbread scenes are insanely impressive. Showcasing a range of different biscuit buildings alongside Santas, snowmen and more, we can’t imagine the amount of work that must have gone into creating this gingerbread village.

Sandymount Hotels Gingerbread Village 2018. Visit the hotel this December & look at this amazing village created by our chefs Jackie, Filip, Silvio, Filipe, Karl & Javier, from the accommodation team; Katie, Food & Beverage team; Beata, Junior, Octavio, Luis, Front Desk team; Barabara & Valentina, Dave our Shuttle Bus Driver, Food & Beverage Manager Hemant. Led by Sandymount Hotel's Head Chef Shane Doherty #shgingerbreadvillage

Posted by Sandymount Hotel on Friday, 30 November 2018

Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, Fermanagh

Showcasing a classy festive display, the gingerbread village at the luxurious Lough Erne Resort is truly spectacular. Featuring a range of differently sized gingerbread buildings, this exhibit is certainly something to behold.

Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, Powerscourt, Wicklow

If you’ve never been to Powerscourt Hotel, there’s no need to trek down to Wicklow to check it out – you can just go onto Instagram to see the hotel recreated in biscuit! The pastry chefs at this hotel worked overtime to create some Christmas magic, producing a gingerbread hotel that looks to be roughly the size of your average sofa.

The Merrion Hotel, Dublin

Pastry chef Paul Kelly, of The Great Irish Bake Off fame, has reproduced The Merrion Hotel, plus a few festive visitors, just in time for this Christmas. 

Hopefully a few more crop around the country before Christmas! Let us know in the comments below if you've seen a gingerbread house that you think we should check out.