Irish taking a more muted approach to E-day celebrations


Celebrations in the Republic to mark the launch of the euro seem set to be low-key compared to those of some of our euro zone neighbours.

Athens boasts a "Euro Monument", a structure of 21,000 neon tubes placed in its central Syntagma Square, which will be lit to celebrate the euro's circulation.

Meanwhile, the northern Italian city of Bologna is planning an unusual party to greet both the new year and the new currency.

In the city's main square, home to one of the world's oldest universities, citizens traditionally burn a giant puppet known as "Il Vecchione" (the big old man), representing the year that's past.

This year, though, Bologna will bid farewell to 2001 by burning a huge reproduction of Italy's retiring currency in the shape of a 100-lire coin.

The Irish Central Bank, however, has no plans to bid a fond farewell to the punt by setting it on fire.

Instead, the bank's governor, Mr Maurice O'Connell, will meet the chairman of the Euro Changeover Board of Ireland, Mr Philip Hamell, and the Minister for Finance, Mr McCreevy, today for a euro celebration event.

The three will gather at 12.30 p.m. at St Stephen's Green in Dublin to join with the citizens of Dublin to celebrate the euro.

"Happy Euro" cards, euro chocolates and pens will be handed out, along with information on the new currency.

Tomorrow, the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, plans a shopping trip to O'Neill's newsagents in his Drumcondra constituency to spend a few euro.

But aside from that, it's just business as usual. ON Thursday January 3rd,

The Irish Times' website,, will host an online euro Q&A session. From 11 a.m. on Thursday, January 3rd, Irish Times' experts will be online to answer your queries on the introduction of the euro. Readers can access the Q&A session live at