HURRICANE-force winds battered the country last night with forecasters warning of a "very unsettled" spell ahead.
A 131kph gust of wind was recorded at Belmullet, Co Mayo, which equates to a Category 1 Hurricane force wind.
Met Eireann has forecast strong winds and rain up to New Year's Day. Last night, some 5,000 householders, mainly in the West, were without power due to high winds. ESB Networks said most of them were in Mayo and other parts of Connacht.
Falling trees were mainly responsible for the outages and although repair crews were working hard, the 5,000 homes won't have power restored until this morning. Some Irish Ferries services have also been disrupted as a result of the bad weather, with the Rosslare to Pembroke ferry being cancelled for today.
The company's fast ferry services from Dublin to Holyhead have also been cancelled today, but cruise ferry sailings from Dublin to Holyhead were still operating. Forecasters have predicted "very unsettled weather for the rest of December and over the New Year".
It will be cold on New Year's Eve night, with showers, especially in the west and north, where some may be wintry on higher ground.
New Year's Day will be "cold, bright with sunny spells and some scattered showers in the morning, dying away and becoming mostly dry".
But there were some indications "for drier, milder conditions after the turn of the year".
Organisers of the NYE Dublin Festival will be hoping for clear weather on New Year's Eve.
RTE will be streaming live worldwide coverage of New Year's Eve Live -- The Gathering from a purpose-built studio in College Green from 10.30pm.