Dublin is a city that knows how to celebrate, so you know that one of the biggest nights of the year – New Year’s Eve – is bound to be filled with craic. Not only does Ireland’s capital more than deserve its reputation for good times, hearty stout, and friendly locals bursting with banter, the three-day New Years Festival packs in a program of events across the city catering to all ages and tastes. In a city where it’s said that more than half of its inhabitants are under 25 you can expect the partying to be abundant, but with spoken word events, historic walking tours, free classical concerts, and an evening of TED-style talks, there’s something on offer for every taste and pace.
Procession of Light
The events of News Year’s Eve began with the Procession of Light, where over 100 costumed performers, ranging from steam-punk neo-pagans to psychedelic angels, parade through the streets of Dublin, leading the candle-bearing masses on a journey through the old heart of the city.
Bodhrán World Record Attempt
The Procession ended at St. Stephen’s Green, where a crowd had gathered to break the World Record for the number of simultaneous Bodhrán (a traditional Irish drum) players. Along with over 1,500 other participants, we grabbed our drums and smashed the previous record of 980 players.
Also at the end of the Procession stood Luminosity, a projection-mapped visual display on the façade of Ivegah House, celebrating Irish heroes and culture in a dazzling video loop.
NYF Street Fest
For the main event of New Year’s Eve, there was the choice of two concerts – the Countdown Concert, featuring Fatboy Slim as the headline act, and the Street Fest starring three Irish bands – Le Galaxie, All Tvvins, and Wyvern Lingo. We opted for the Street Fest, soaking up some of the local musical vibes before seeking out some of that famous Irish hospitality in the warmth of a pub. Later on we ended up ringing in the New Year itself in an incredible cocktail bar, Peruke & Periwig.
Throughout the three days of the festival, live music is everywhere. From the intimate (and tricky to acquire tickets for) Ruby Sessions, to the First Contact Music Trails, featuring Irish performers across 15 venues, to the musicians scattered throughout the streets, the city is alive with music at News Year’s.
Alongside the musicians are a variety of circus performers, dancers, mime artists and other pop-up acts, meaning you can turn a corner and never know what you’re going to stumble across. A popular focal point of O’Connell Street, one of the main streets in Dublin, was the Team Fuinneamh drum, a 14ft drum which allowed up to 50 people to get involved in some hectic (and occasionally perfectly coordinated) beats.
NYF Poetry Slam
The Irish are famed for their lyricism and love of words, so where better to check out a poetry slam? The NYF Poetry Slam at the Workman’s Club featured some incredible poets, both home-grown and from overseas, hurling their intense, sometime hilarious, and sometimes dark, poems into the crowd. We were spellbound.
New Year’s Day, after the dust from the previous evening’s partying settled, we headed down to Proclamation, a TED-esque event in the incredible space of Christ Church Cathedral. Coinciding with the start of First Fortnight, a festival devoted to mental health, the event featured an amazing array of speakers and storytellers discussing subjects that turned around the ideas of mental wellbeing. After ending 2015 with a bang, it was a great way to start the year with some reflection and inspiration.
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