Saturday 23 February 2019

City lights up early to greet 2018

Families flock to the capital as music, stunts and acrobatics keep everyone entertained ahead of the countdown to a happy new year

Members of Flyboard Ireland in performance during Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee at the Customs House
Members of Flyboard Ireland in performance during Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee at the Customs House
Jacob and Marcus Kiernan with Conor and Molly O'Driscoll
Mark, Sophie and Leah Maculey at the New Year Festival matinee in Dublin

New Year celebrations were in full swing across the nation last night, with Dublin hosting one of the biggest - and earliest - events to usher in 2018.

There were two countdowns to the New Year in the capital, with large crowds attending the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment outside the Customs House on George's Quay.

A special countdown at the same venue earlier in the evening, at 7pm, was organised to appeal to families with young children and was entitled the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee.


The two events were fully- booked, all-ticket affairs and featured aerial, aquatic and street acrobats.

The acrobats spiralled through the night sky attached to giant helium balloons.

Flyboarders performed aquatic and aerial stunts on the river in front of an enthralled city centre crowd.

Those enjoying the event included Dublin couple Hugh McGuinness (48), an engineering lecturer, and his partner, artist Geraldine O'Neill (46).

They brought their children, MacDara (5), Siun (11) and Fiach (16), from their home on the North Circular Road to witness the night-time spectacle.

"We're delighted to be here. We've been so looking forward to the event," said Geraldine.

Paul Kiernan (41) travelled from Sallins, Co Kildare, with sons Marcus (4) and Jacob (8) for the event, along with family friends Catherine and David O'Driscoll and their children, Molly (9) and Conor (12), who travelled from Ardkeen in Waterford.

"It's a great idea having an earlier countdown for the children," said Catherine (42).

French couple Quentin Magnier (20) and Melissa Girard (21) travelled from Perpignan to ring in the new year in Dublin.

"Dublin is famous for parties, so we're very glad to be here," said Quentin.

Artist Donna Cooney attended from nearby Clontarf with her eight-year-old son, Sam.

"We love coming into the city for the big New Year events. It's great to celebrate with big groups of people," said Donna.

"Here's hoping for a peaceful 2018 for everyone and that families who need homes will get them."

A family group enjoying the event were Cyril and Aisling Carey with four-year-old twins CJ and Annabelle. They travelled from Shercock, Co Cavan, with Aisling's parents, Sean and Anna Clarke.

"We booked into a city centre hotel last January to be sure we'd be here to enjoy it," said Cyril (34).

Later, the quayside venue featured music all the way to midnight and beyond, with a countdown concert on a special stage with headliners Kodaline and special guests Hudson Taylor and Keywest.

From midnight, Dublin's Spire beamed a light show into the sky, which was visible for miles. It will continue tonight until midnight.


Crowds also gathered at Christchurch Cathedral to hear the bell-ringers perform their much-loved tradition of ringing in the New Year.

The Everyman Theatre in Cork hosted a midnight celebration with singer Jack Lukeman.

In Galway, there were a number of New Year's Eve balls. A Masquerade Party was held at The House Hotel with prizes for the best masks.

Nightspots and hotels in Waterford hosted several celebration parties as part of the ongoing Winterval Festival in the city.

In Limerick, fears of flooding with the arrival of Storm Dylan led to the cancellation of some events, now rescheduled for the St Patrick's Day Festival.

One of the biggest events in Kilkenny was the New Year's Eve Charity Ball at the Springhill Court Hotel.

In Dingle, Co Kerry, there were big celebrations in the streets followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the harbour.

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