There are loads of fun filled options to help you welcome 2013 right across the country. And the celebrations are even more special with New Year’s Eve marking the start of The Gathering Ireland 2013, a year-long celebration of all things Irish, which will kick off in style at the NYE Dublin Festival.
So whether you are looking for a night of revelry with friends, a romantic break for two or some fun time with the family, there are no end of options. Let’s get this party started – with www.discoverireland.ie/newyear as your party planner!
Gather together at NYE Dublin
NYE Dublin, the capital’s spectacular New Year’s Eve festival, is back with a bang this year to mark the launch of The Gathering Ireland 2013. This festival is THE event in which to say goodbye to the old and celebrate the arrival of the new, with two days of family focused entertainment across seven festival zones around the city.
One of the highlights – and the only ticketed event - is the Countdown Concert at College Green, where revellers from home and abroad will gather with friends and family for the country’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. Headline acts include BellX1 and Imelda May.
But that’s only part of it. Celebrations start earlier in the day with an atmospheric torch-lit procession weaving its way through the city’s darkened streets - an event that’s perfect for families with children who will be tucked up in bed long before the bells toll midnight!
Then the skyline over St Stephen’s Green will be transformed by a riotous blaze of colour as a magnificent fireworks spectacle lights up the city in anticipation of midnight.
Catch the bells at Christ Church
For many Dubs the ringing in of the New Year with the bells of Christ Church Cathedral is a great annual tradition. The historic church, which is over 1000 years old, holds the record for the largest number of bells rung in a full circle. Join the good humoured crowds as they gather to hear the bell ringers carry out a peal of 16 rings on the stroke of midnight. The ringing goes on for just 45 seconds but the memory will last a lifetime, augmented by the sirens of the boats in Dublin harbour, also doing their best to herald in the New Year.
For an extra special experience, The Christ Church Cathedral New Year's Eve Gala Concert is with Dublin Gospel Choir is not to be missed. Doors open at 8.30pm and the concert begins at 9pm. Tickets cost €45 per person and includes a post-concert champagne reception followed by a private gathering on the Cathedral grounds to ring in the New Year by the world famous Cathedral Bells.
Celebrate the Kerry way!
If you want to escape the bright lights of Dublin head to Co. Kerry for some special New Year’s events. Portmagee, a tiny village on the Iveragh Peninsula, will come alive on New Year’s Eve for the annual re-enactment of a traditional “Old Year” custom. There will be a street parade of flaming turf torches, the departure of the feeble “Old Man”, and the arrival of a boisterous and energetic “New Man”. The event dates back to 1727 when a French ship arrived at the pier on New Year’s Eve and the crew enacted such a scene. The locals have been celebrating the New Year in the same fashion ever since.
Dingle is a destination that’s fun any time of year but not to be missed on New Year’s Eve when locals and visitors alike take to the streets in celebration. There will be a stunning fireworks display over Dingle Harbour and a projected digital New Year’s countdown clock so everybody can join the fun together. The Dingle Fife and Drum band keeping spirits high.
New Year’s Eve is being marked at the INEC venue in beautiful Killarney with a concert with acts including Aslan, the Saw Doctors and Something Happens. And what better way to enjoy New Year’s Day than with long walks through Killarney National Park to clear off the cobwebs. Or let the horses take the strain on a jaunting car instead!
Salute the last sunset at Achill
Achill Island is one of the westernmost points in Europe and a very special place to see the final sunset of the year, with its spectacular landscape and thunderous Atlantic waves. Once you’ve said your goodbyes to 2012, enjoy the island’s pipe band tradition. Many villages here have their own band and on the stroke of midnight the entire island comes alive to the beat of their drums. Follow up with the annual New Year’s Day swim, a bracing way to welcome in 2013!
Walk your way into 2013!
See out the old year and welcome the new with a walking break in a stunning part of Ireland. Gather a group of family or friends and take to the hills –and ring in the New Year together afterwards with a glass in hand in front of a roaring fire, or better again in a charming rural pub! While there are stunning walks all around the country, you can walk your way into 2013 at the Westport’s New Year’s Walking Festival (December 28th - January 1st). Led by experienced guides, you get to hike the mountains of Mayo and cycle the famous Greenway route from Achill to Westport, before retiring to some of the county’s legendary pubs.
Make a resolution to check in!
Why not spoil yourself and make a resolution to take advantage of some great New Year hotel deals. Relax after the hectic Christmas season and lap up laid-on entertainment and great food. Many hotels are putting on New Year’s Eve Gala Dinners, with special events to keep the kids happy too! There is some amazing value out there with prices to suit all pockets.
Alternatively you can book self-catering accommodation and ring in the New Year in a lovely part of Ireland with family or friends. There are loads of great options available in some of Ireland’s most scenic locations, ranging from large country estates in which to host country house parties for big gatherings, to small thatched cottages perfect for couples looking for a romantic, quiet getaway. Check out offers at www.discoverireland.ie/special-offers