ROCK star Dolores O'Riordan popped the cork on a night of dazzling celebrations in her native Limerick City to kick-start its honorary role as Ireland's first ever National City of Culture.
The Cranberries star received a real Munster roar as she performed a gig in front of 2,500 lucky revellers in front of St Mary's Cathedral, built in 1168 on the banks of the River Shannon where the Vikings once landed.
The New Year's Eve night sky was set on fire with a fireworks extravaganza, and a movie written by local actor and playwright Mike Finn was beamed out across the facades of buildings along the banks of the River Shannon.
Irish rockers The Coronas, Derry star SOAK and local talent Leading Armies, warmed the spirits of the thousands who braved a cold and wet New Year's Eve night.
It's hoped the celebrations will set the tone for the next 365 days which Finance Minister and Limerick TD Michael Noonan said would leave a lasting positive legacy for the city.
Earlier in the evening, around 50 performers from Music Generation Limerick emerged on to a makeshift platform at Arthur's Quay Park overlooking the raging River Shannon, to perform the City of Culture song.
The streets were illuminated like a fairyland with hundreds of Chinese lanterns, glowing floats, and fairy lights.
The historic bells of St Mary's Cathedral were rung at midnight, marking the New Year, and announcing Limerick's new role as City of Culture 2014.
Meanwhile, thousands gathered in the capital for a dizzying fireworks show, a parade of lanterns, and a star-studded concert to welcome the New Year last night. Dublin's streets were illuminated yesterday afternoon as hundreds of dancers and street performers thrilled the crowds during the People's Procession of Light to mark the closing of The Gathering 2013.
The procession wound from College Green to St Stephen's Green with bands, aerial-acrobats and stilt-walkers entertaining the crowds.
The colourful parade ended with a jaw-dropping acrobatic show at the Green as two performers dangled from a crane high above the crowd.
The Three NYE Dublin Countdown Concert at College Green kicked off at 8.30pm headlined by British ska band Madness, and also featured girl-band MKS (Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan), formally known as the Sugababes.
Ahead of the celebrations, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said he wanted the capital's New Year's Eve bash to rival those held in other major cities.
"Dublin is very much on the map in terms of tourism events. We have great sporting events and St Patrick's Day Festival in March but we want to add to that and make New Year's a big time in Dublin," he said.
David Raleigh and Fiona Ellis