herald

Sunday 19 January 2020

Roaring 20s kick off with a festival of light on Liffey as delighted Dubs party

Adrienne McDermott and her daughter Eve (10)
Adrienne McDermott and her daughter Eve (10)

Meteoric images of hurtling comets, shooting stars and spiralling galaxies shone on the Custom House last night as a spectacular live 20-piece orchestra heralded in a brand new decade.

Some 45,000 people lined the banks of the Liffey for the annual New Year's Festival to bid farewell to a tumultuous 2019 and ring in 2020.

Floating along the Liffey on a purpose-built multi level stage, the musicians played for the crowds beneath a canopy of fireworks. Aqua beams, lasers and a fabulous pyrotechnic show illuminated the night sky for the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment while Walking on Cars headlined the countdown concert.

Carnival

Earlier, a matinee performance of the light show allowed children to enjoy the festivities and still be tucked up in bed by midnight.

There was a carnival atmosphere as children sat on their parents' shoulders to enjoy as a choreographed celestial display was mapped onto the walls and buildings along the river.

Some 24,000 kilowatts of power, 80 searchlight beams, 60 lasers, over 6km of cable, and more than 500 lights were used for the festival's 'solar symphony'.

Tony Rock's shoulders served as the lofty perch from which his granddaughter Serena (4) enjoyed the show.

Lights and lasers during the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee at the Custom House.
Lights and lasers during the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee at the Custom House.

Tony, from Clonsilla, said he was taken aback by the show put on for the children, all of it free to attend. "It was fabulous today. It was great for the kids," he said. "It's a great alternative for them to come in that bit early and enjoy the entertainment. The lights and the city looks fantastic.

"I look forward to ringing in the New Year - hoping for security and health and maybe a little bit of a more balanced society, with a bit of forward thinking from the Government in that regard - to bring those who have less into the fold a bit more and make our society that bit more equal," he said.

Meanwhile, Diana O'Reilly, who celebrated the arrival of the New Year with a glass of champagne with her friend Kathy Hassle, may well spend next New Year's Eve on the other side of the world.

After being made redundant in 2019, Diana, from Greystones, Co Wicklow, said 2020 is her year to travel the world.

"It's so fun in town this year. It's great around town, especially with the lights and everything, it's lovely.

"2019 was a good year but it was a long year as well so I'm glad it's over," she added.

Tradition

Meanwhile, Carla Frias (13) and her family travelled from Spain to ring in the New Year in Dublin after seeing YouTube videos of the celebrations here.

In a Spanish tradition, at 11pm, when clocks struck midnight in her native country, Carla ate 12 grapes with her mother Laura, sister Alexandra (17) and father Txomin.

"It has been better than our expectations. The weather has been amazing. We thought it was going to rain, but it didn't."

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