The Gathering Ireland 2013, a year-long celebration of all things Irish, will kick off in style with the NYE Dublin Festival on the 31st of December 2012 and the 1st of January 2013.

Last year, thousands of people enjoyed the electric atmosphere and rocking line-up of the first ever NYE Dublin Countdown Concert in College Green Dublin. This year, organisers are planning an even bigger and better festival to celebrate the arrival of 2013, with sensational fireworks over Georgian Dublin, a torch-lit procession and a knock-out concert. The NYE Dublin Festival will be the first official Gathering of 2013.

Launching the festival, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar, said: “The New Year’s Eve Festival will be a great way of launching the Gathering 2013 – with a bang. This will be the biggest ever New Year’s Eve Festival in Ireland, and I’m sure it will be the best. I’m particularly excited by the torchlight procession, as we’re inviting people from home and abroad to take part. The fireworks display and the concert will see in the New Year, and it will be the perfect way to mark the start of the Gathering Ireland 2013.”

Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí said: “If there is one person who has to be in Dublin on New Year’s Eve, it is the Lord Mayor! What better way to see in the New Year than to participate in a major New Year’s Eve Fiesta? We look forward to building on last year’s successful event, and to ringing in the New Year with one and all and to many a ‘gathering’ in 2013.”

Developed by Fáilte Ireland, The Gathering Ireland 2013 is a year-long celebration of Ireland, Irish culture and Irish heritage, where communities throughout the country will showcase and share the very best of Irish culture. A programme of events, festivals and gatherings will take place throughout the country in 2013 and people from around the world will come together to celebrate all that’s great about Ireland. To date almost 1200 official Gatherings have been registered on the Gathering Ireland 2013 website.

Speaking today, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised: “This New Year’s Eve, we will officially fire the starting gun for The Gathering 2013 with a bang – and lots of colour, fireworks and festivity. Next year is our year and hopefully the global spotlight which traditionally marks year-end in cities such as London and New York will shine a bit brighter on Dublin as we kick-start 12 months of non-stop activity and set a marker for the year ahead.”

On New Year’s Eve, the streets of the city will be taken over by a stunning torch-lit procession featuring floats, torch bearers, fire breathers, stilt walkers and dancers. The Gathering Ireland provides the theme for the procession, titled The Journey Home, and people of all ages, from home and abroad - particularly those who have returned home for Christmas and the New Year - are invited to participate, with candles, lanterns or torches, following the brilliant procession through Dublin’s streets broad and narrow. People can register to be part of this unique event on nyedublin.ie.

The procession will culminate at the iconic St. Stephen’s Green, where a magnificent fireworks display will light up the city skyline. Huge crowds are expected to witness the spectacle, which marks the first time that St Stephen’s Green will be illuminated by fireworks.

The highlight of the night will be a spectacular open air countdown concert in College Green. Expected to attract more than 15,000 people, the historic setting will be transformed into an outdoor concert arena, with special stage effects and leading acts. Tickets for the Countdown Concert are available through nyedublin.ie and are priced €15 plus booking fee.

On New Year’s Day, families and friends are encouraged to continue the festivities at the ‘Big Brunch’ music and food celebration in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar.

For more details on the concert, the full festival programme and how to participate, visit www.nyedublin.ie or www.facebook.com/nyedublin


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