Let's spice up NYE with some good imports


There’s little to do in most Irish towns on New Year’s Eve except go drinking, writes UNA MULLALLY

By the time you’re attempting to sing Auld Lang Syne this Monday night, you probably will have regretted most of your evening plans.

Every year, gaudy flyers, posters and Facebook event invites suggest parties being the closest you can get to the post-Oscar Vanity Fair bash but are in reality a cross between the tail end of a bad wedding and a teenage disco. Less Chateau Marmont, more Chateau Morto.

No matter how hard anyone tries, the problem is there’s very little to do on nights such as New Year’s Eve in towns and cities across Ireland apart from go drinking. We’re too broke to have Olympic-level fireworks igniting the nation’s sky. We can’t afford Rihanna to host a shopping centre party.

And we don’t actually have many New Year’s Eve traditions of our own, apart from playing “vomit hopscotch” along our streets.

Egg and spoon race

New Year’s Eve events are a preoccupation of cities. Most smart people just sit at home and watch news anchors and presenters in their going out clothes yell “five, four, three, two, one” with all the enthusiasm of a father watching their seven-year-old come second last in an egg and spoon race. But no, in our cities it’s meant to be “an occasion”.

Tourist boards evoke the DRTVAI (Denny Rasher Television Ad Ideal), all woolly-jumpered Colin Farrell lookalikes sitting around smiling and toasting creamy pints of stout, squeeze boxes at the ready, salty chips in the rain and the way she might look at ya.

But do a little reality check on Ireland at midnight and you’ll see young lads giving the finger to oncoming cars as they fall across the road into chippers, and young women teetering on their heels like tipsy, tanned velociraptors weeping over some injustice that happened earlier in the night.

Foreign traditions

The basis of most enterprises in Ireland involves discovering something that works well elsewhere, and then ripping it off. Why shouldn’t that work for NYE? Perhaps we should adopt some foreign traditions and pass them off as our own.

In Denmark, people smash crockery on each other’s doors. Please inform your neighbours before trying this one. In several South American countries, citizens don colourful underwear to bring them various types of luck. Wearing yellow knickers means you are wishing for money. Are you listening, Michael Noonan?

In Ecuador, people gather with pictures representing things they don’t want in the new year and set them alight. If you see a large poster of Craig Doyle burning in Donnybrook on Monday, then you’ll know what’s up.

But, behold! During the week an email dropped into my inbox reminding me of tickets I had requested for Dublin’s New Year’s Eve concert.

On College Green, a load of musicians and sinewy people from Riverdance will entertain the masses and hopefully ringfence visitors into an area where they won’t have to witness mass drunkenness.

The hooley will coincide with the kick-off of the Gathering, and cynicism aside, I’m all for it.

If Dublin wants to invent itself as a New Year’s Eve destination, then a free public concert is a good place to start. Just watch out for the hopscotch.