About 10,000 socialist protesters have marched through Dublin in opposition to government plans to unveil Ireland's sixth straight austerity budget.
The capital's major boulevard, O'Connell Street, was filled in both directions with marchers on Saturday, some donning ghostly white masks and Santa hats.
"The government can't be given a free hand to cut whatever they like. You have to be willing to get out on the streets and do something," said Lizzy Stringer, a 26-year-old school assistant who marched in a hand-made protest suit emblazoned with words summarising the personal despair behind Ireland's debt crisis: hunger, depression, suicide.
The parade mixed darker themes with gallows humour.
A rider on horseback in white mask and black cape depicting Death led the parade, while the horse had a "no to austerity" banner round its neck.
On placards Irish leaders were portrayed as serpents, with pleas to Saint Patrick to return and banish them from Ireland.
Marchers donned Santa hats, some bearing the slogan "No no no!" rather than ho ho ho, and warned that the government wanted to play Grinch and steal Christmas.
Ireland faces more protests in the buildup to the December 5 budget, when the government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny is committed to unveiling a further 3.5 billion euro ($A4.38 billion) in spending cuts and tax hikes of 4.6 million ($A5.75 million).
Ireland already has pledged to keep imposing annual cuts and tax hikes through at least 2015 as part of its austerity program, begun in 2009, to combat yawning deficits and fund a colossally expensive bank rescue program.
Ireland's long-booming economy plunged in 2008 as credit-fuelled property speculation collapsed, forcing Ireland to nationalise five of its six banks.
Ireland faced the risk of national bankruptcy in 2010 when it was forced to negotiate an international bailout.
The last of the (euro) 67.5 billion borrowed from European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund is scheduled to be spent next year.
Cuts and tax hikes already have reduced people's average net pay by around 15 per cent. Unemployment sits near a 17-year high of 14.8 per cent.