New Year's Eve is a long awaited event for everyone and Ireland celebrates this special night in true style. Some festivals focus on fireworks and rocking concerts while others keep things more traditional in their city-wide celebration. Regardless, each and every event is a feast for the senses and showcases Ireland's unique culture and traditions.
Without a doubt, when visitors ask the Irish where they should celebrate New Year's Eve, most will tell them to head to Dublin. This capital city hosts the biggest celebration in Ireland and may truly be among the best. The night starts off with a parade of fire, literally. The streets are illuminated by torch bearers, stilt walkers, floats, dancers and fire breathers that walk through the main streets of the entire city. While the parade is flowing through town every pub, tavern and restaurant door is open as revellers do a pub crawl of their own length. In the city's parks, visitors will be able to watch Ireland's top bands perform for the countdown party free of charge, but as midnight approaches, the crowd moves to the streets to see the several different fireworks displays that are shot off of big hotels and light up the city's unique architecture to hail in the new year. The party in Dublin certainly doesn't call it quits after new year is rung in though, it continues well into the morning hours with drinking, food and general cheer.
Limerick has been topping its own grandeur with every New Year's Eve celebration for years. After being crowned the City of Culture in 2014 by the United Kingdom, this year's celebration is set to be its best ever with the locals eager to impress. This year, Limerick has already booked hundreds of professional performers and community groups to keep the city well entertained during the New Year's Eve parade that will be acting out an epic story of new beginnings. While the parade will light up the city, the city becomes a glowing beacon in the night with the local tradition of carrying lanterns through the streets. After the parade, visitors should hold off on the pubs and head to the city square to enjoy concerts by big names like Maverick Sabre, The Cranberries and The Strypes before the firework display at midnight. Afterwards, it is time to enjoy a long night of drinking in one of Ireland's most friendly and lyrical cities. Visitors should brush up on their Irish drinking songs beforehand though.
No one knows how to throw a party quite like those Galwegians out in the west of Ireland. While Dublin hosts the biggest celebration, most locals tend to head out to Galway for their New Year's Eve merriment, which is hardly surprising given Galway's party town reputation. A celebration in this city should be started at sun down by watching the sun set over that famous Galway Bay, but the bulk of the night will be spent in the many pubs and nightclubs in the Spanish Quarter. There are official fireworks displays in Eyre Square as well as a few small parades, but the bulk of the celebration in Galway lies in the pubs. Every pub in the city is jam packed on New Year's Eve, but within even the most foreign of visitors will find a family, and a very drunk one at that. An Irish New Year's Eve is essentially the same in all of their cities, a very big party with copious amounts of alcohol.
For something completely different and a celebration that is more in touch with Ireland's roots, New Year's Eve revellers will want to head down to the small town of Meath. Meath has the usual New Year's Eve celebration of parades, fireworks and ample drinking in town, but out at Dunderry Park, visitors can experience something different. The organization Shamanism Ireland hosts a complete sacred circle event in the park where visitors can share all their hopes and desires for the coming year with like-minded individuals. This isn't the wildest party in Ireland, but it is a great opportunity to see a piece of old culture that is dead outside of Shamanism Ireland and a few other similar culture preserving groups. Throughout the night, visitors will be invited to watch or join drum circles, chanting, dancing and arrow breaking to help build up the crowd energy for the Firewalk. The ritual Firewalk is just as it sounds, but most visitors don't have the courage to walk, hop or run across a bed of hot coals. After the Firewalk is complete, the brave souls are celebrated with fireworks at midnight as well as the release of Chinese lanterns and a trance dance party.
Have you ever rung in the new year in Ireland?
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