Dublin rings in New Year’s Eve with spectacular show

Abseilers and aerial dancers woo crowd of 5,000 as Dublin marks the countdown

Dublin's New Year's Festival continues with a spectacle of colour, light and acrobatics at the Custom House. Video: Ronan McGreevy


New Year’s Eve used to be a straightforward affair - a party somewhere, a countdown and then Auld Lang Syne.

It has not tended to mean watching a rowing boat being lifted out of the River Liffey and then being transported on a crane across to the roof of The Custom House.

Every year the New Year Festival Dublin puts on a more ambitious show. It started small with a torchlit procession through the streets of Dublin in years gone by, but nothing has surpassed the ambition of the performance staged by Fidget Feet outside the Custom House this New Year’s Eve.

Some 5,000 people queued patiently for entrance to the free event for which every ticket was snapped up well in advance. Others watched from across the River Liffey.

Spectators passed by a stall run by the Make a Wish Foundation, which offered them a chance to make a wish for the new year.

“To see the back of 2016,” would appear to be the most common sentiment.

The Custom House was turned into the biggest prop in Dublin for the event with drummers hanging precipitously from the roof.

A series of abseilers and aerial dancers emerged from the River Liffey and passed over the heads of the awestruck crowd.

The event culminated in two dancers spinning above the crowd like human Catherine Wheels.

It was an event for families especially those with young children that were too young to see in the New Year.

Jimmy Murray, his wife Antoinette and their three children along with other extended members of the family came from Cavan for the event and said it was well worth the journey.

“We’re going back to Cavan now to watch Mrs Brown’s Boys at 9.30pm,” Jimmy said. His daughter Ellen said her New Year’s ambition was simply “to make my own bed”.

Maria Corcoran and Peter Moran, as part of the Dublin Circus Project, were dressed as devils for the event with horns and a tail. What were their plans for New Year’s Eve? “Have a few drink and go back to hell,” said Peter.

Hanna Czebiolko and a friend arrived from Leeds via Poland. Dublin’s New Year’s Eve festival is attracting a large number of overseas visitors judging by the composition of the crowd.

“We feel there is so much to do and see here. There’s no time for everything,” she said.

She is going to the 3Countdown show at St Stephen’s Green South that was headlined by Walking on Cars, a band which has had a brilliant 2016 with their debut album Everything This Way becoming an international hit.

Dublin Gospel Choir and The Garda Band will host a free concert on New Year’s Day at 2pm at St Stephen’s Green.