Global celebrations greet New Year

Thursday 31 December 2009 22.55
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New Year - Fireworks at Dromoland Castle - (Pic: David Crimmins)
New Year - Fireworks at Dromoland Castle - (Pic: David Crimmins)
China - New Year celebrations
China - New Year celebrations
Sydney - Spectacular fireworks display
Sydney - Spectacular fireworks display
Auckland - Has already welcomed the New Year
Auckland - Has already welcomed the New Year

New Year celebrations are under way around the world.

Auckland, New Zealand, was the first major city to see in the New Year where fireworks burst into the sky as the clock struck midnight.

In Australia, around 1.5 million people gathered around the harbour for a fireworks display on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Celebrations here are more low-key, but Dublin was treated to a spectacular display at Guinness' St James's Brewery as the 250th anniversary was brought to an end.

A 60-second live television spectacle featured a 42 metre long recreation of Arthur’s famous signature in pyrotechnics across the east facing wall of Guinness Storehouse, followed by a fireworks show from the rooftop of the building.

Paris's Eiffel Tower was transformed into a multicoloured light show, while in Berlin more than 1m revellers gathered on the boulevard leading to the Brandenburg Gate.

Celebrations in Britain centre on the London Eye, the giant wheel across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

The economic downturn has put a dampener on celebrations in Belfast, with the City Council saying it will not be staging celebrations tonight as it could not justify the cost.

A downpour of confetti was to mark midnight at New York's traditional mass celebration in Times Square in the heart of Manhattan.

Around 500,000 revellers were expected to crowd Hong Kong's harbour front to watch 9,000 fireworks.

However in Thailand, police banned fireworks after a New Year's Eve blaze at a Bangkok nightclub a year ago killed 65 revellers.

In the Philippines, shaken by natural disasters in recent months, nearly 50,000 villagers were likely to spend the first few months of 2010 in evacuation centres amid concerns the Mayon volcano could erupt at any time.

For the first time in more than 350 years, New Year's Eve coincided with a lunar eclipse which was visible in all areas of Ireland with clear skies between 7pm and 8pm this evening.

This eclipse of the Moon is partial, so only 8% of the Moon will be covered by Earth's shadow.

The eclipse was at its height at 7.22pm.

Happy New Year from RTÉ.ie