Festive capital: Dublin begins three-day New Year’s party

Organisers intend to make event premier year-end celebration in Europe

A Procession of Light made its way from St Stephen's Green to Dublin Castle this evening as part of the New Year's Eve festivities in the capital.

 

Nobody could accuse the organisers of Dublin’s New Year’s Festival of lacking ambition.

The capital’s reputation as a party city did not traditionally extend to New Year’s Eve as witnessed by the drab show which heralded the millennium 15 years ago.

Now in its fourth year, the NYF Dublin has been extended to three days and aims to compete with Edinburgh, Berlin and other cities with well-established line-ups.

Better than Hogmanay, arguably the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve event? So said a Scottish journalist last year. “Dublin’s a vibrant city. Why can’t we take Hogmanay on,” asked Orla Carroll of Fáilte Ireland.

Good write-ups

The body is bringing 40 journalists into Dublin for this New Year’s Eve. A similar approach was taken last year and it appears to be working incrementally with good write-ups and word of mouth abroad.

About 12,000 additional overseas visitors are expected in Dublin, above and beyond what would normally arrive into the city at this time of year.

Last night the festival kicked off with a series of 3D projections on to the Axa Building in Wolfe Tone Square. Luminosity will run for the full three days. There will also be 3D projections on to the front of Trinity College Dublin and in Barnardos Square in Dame Street.

The New Year will be rung in at College Green with thousands of fans descending for the Three Countdown Concert, which has sold out. It features Kodaline and James Vincent McMorrow, who both had stellar years in 2014. About 1,200 tickets were sold to fans overseas.

Luminosity was launched at the count of five by the Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe. He was buoyed by the latest tourism figures which show overseas visitors spent €3.5 billion in Ireland this year, up €300 million on last year. The number of overseas visitors grew by 9 per cent to 7.3 million, the highest number since 2008.

The tourism industry is hoping for a further increase next year – as is the Minister.

“We have had a tremendously successful year, but we can’t be complacent. We have to keep coming up with new events to encourage people to come to Ireland,” he said.

Tourism aside, Mr Donohoe and the other members of the Government will not be to sorry to see the back of 2014 which has been a year to forget with Irish Water dominating the domestic agenda. “It’s been a difficult year for many,” he said.

Personal resolutions

As for personal resolutions, he wants to cycle more and finish a book of poetry by Paul Muldoon.

Dublin is the only major Irish city holding an outdoor New Year’s Eve event this year. Dingle will be illuminated by a fireworks display at midnight preceded by the Dingle Fife and Drum band which will have a procession around the town.

Meanwhile, Belfast’s Titanic Centre is hosting a White Star Ball, named after the company which owned the ill-fated liner.

The good news is that New Year’s Eve will be very mild for the time of year with temperatures of about 10 degrees. The bad news is that it will be wet in many places and New Year’s Day will start the same.

Next year’s festival, which heralds 2016, is already in the planning stage. Plans are afoot to mark the start of the centenary year of the Easter Rising with 3D historical projections on to various buildings associated with the Rising, including the GPO and the Four Courts.