There’s a famous ballad that reminisces about Dublin in the ‘Rare ‘Oul Times’ and if you’ve ever wanted to experience the Irish capital at its rarefied best, then the New Year is right up there as one of the top dates to visit.
The legendary charm and hospitality of the Irish reaches new heights around New Year, and in the capital you are guaranteed unforgettable craic, good humour, great parties and tons to see and do.
Traditionally Dubliners ring in the New Year at the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral, which is over 1,000 years old and holds the world record for the largest number of bells that are rung in a full circle.
Just before midnight on 31 December friendly crowds gather outside the cathedral to hear the tolling of the bells, one of the city’s favourite sounds.
The tradition is for the bell ringers to carry out a peal of 16 rings at midnight.
The old year is rung out until just before midnight, while the ringing of the New Year goes on past midnight for exactly 45 seconds, chiming in with the sirens of the boats in the harbour also welcoming the New Year.
Christ Church is one of Dublin´s most famous landmarks and is located in the city centre so it is easy to find.
This year a new edge to the city’s celebrations has been introduced with NYE Dublin, a three-day festival (30 December 2011 to 1 January 2012) in the city centre – the perfect tie-in with a New Year Dublin city break.
There will be a major outdoor concert at College Green featuring pyrotechnics, special effects and music from well-known Irish artists and a countdown into the New Year.
By day, the festival will include food markets, kids fun zones, a range of events for families and children, including a ‘Rattle ‘n Roll’ school, circus entertainment and outdoor movies.
By night a number of mini festival hubs will be dotted around the city centre featuring comedy, theatre, entertainment in the build up to the 31 December celebrations.
Dublin’s unique artistic and literary offering will also be integrated into the festival through a specially devised Culture Trail.
Guinness Storehouse New Year Party
One of the hottest tickets in the festival will be the epic Dublin New Year Party at the Guinness Storehouse. It’ll feature top quality Irish bands, amazing hospitality and the inspirational venue of Ireland’s number one tourist attraction.
The Guinness Storehouse is a former fermentation plant in the legendary St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, now home to a seven-storey experience that traces the story of the ‘black stuff’ from its beginnings 250 years ago until the present day.
Visitors can experience every aspect of the brewing process that’s as old and unique as the cobbled streets outside.
The highlight of a Storehouse visit is the Gravity Bar, where you can enjoy 360-degree panoramic views across Dublin while savouring a complimentary pint of Guinness.
As part of the festival Dublin NYE will be putting on a special evening with the Dublin Gospel Choir also at Christ Church Cathedral.
The choir has shared the stage with musical heavyweights such as Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, John Legend, Damien Rice and The Chieftains.
While revellers gather outside for the time-honoured bell tolling, inside, the choir will rock, thrill and inspire the audience.
The choir will perform again in the cathedral on New Year’s Day.
If you like a few drinks, great conversation and live music on New Years’ Eve, Dublin´s pubs and clubs are just the ticket.
For live bands, check out the likes of Whelan´s, the Olympia Theatre and Vicar St.
If you’re into traditional Irish music, head for Dublin’s popular pubs such as the Brazen Head and Oliver St John Gogartys – you’ll need to get in early because they’ll be packed.
With its pulsating nightlife, many believe Temple Bar is the place in Dublin on New Year’s Eve.
This is one of the oldest parts of Dublin and the capital’s cultural quarter.
It’s chock-full of arts and entertainment venues set within beautiful narrow cobbled streets.
At midnight revellers pour onto the streets to celebrate the coming New Year to the sound of firecrackers, not to mention the resonance of their own joyful ‘craic’.
Dublin’s hotels tend to put on more formal affairs at New Year, with some going for the romance and luxury of black tie balls.
Traditional Irish dancing along with a gala dinner is another popular way to spend New Year’s Eve for many city visitors.
Once into the New Year there is still plenty to see and do in Dublin.
Ireland’s biggest winter experience, the 7UP Winter Wonderland, in town from 1 December 2011, continues until 8 January 2012.
Enjoy a skate around Ireland’s largest covered ice rink, a Continental market, thrilling rides, heated indoor bars and cafes and the spectacular ‘Mission Space’, a brand new 80m-high ride never before seen in Ireland or the UK.
The Irish know how to have a good time, and once the New Year celebrations are rounded off it’s soon time to get stuck into a fresh timetable of entertainment, culture and music.
And how appropriate is it that traditional Irish music and culture kicks off the Emerald Isle’s festival calendar in January?
From 25 to 29 January 2012 Dublin will be alive with Tradfest, Ireland’s premier celebration of Irish music and culture.
This will be TradFest’s seventh year and is set to be the biggest and best yet.
The heart of the capital will quite literally transformed into a trad lover’s paradise, with the cream of traditional entertainers from around the globe filling the streets with ‘craic agus ceol’ – ‘music and craic’.
As part of the 2012 festival the world-famous and quintessential Irish band The Dubliners will celebrate their 50th anniversary with a concert that will feature some very special guests.
English folk singer Ralph Mc Tell is also part of the line up and other highlights will include intimate recitals in Dublin’s iconic City Hall, over 200 free performances in pubs throughout Temple Bar, children’s entertainment, street theatre and storytelling.
There’ll also be two free outdoor stages, cultural workshops, master classes and showcases of traditional Irish musicianship.
If it’s time for something new, a new start, a new experience, a new memory, perhaps a new tradition or a New Year’s resolution, visit Dublin. It’ll be right behind you providing ‘Rare ‘Oul Times’.