DESPITE forecasts of high winds, Dingle's New Year's Eve celebrations took place in near perfect conditions as thousands of people thronged Main Street and the Mall to bear witness to the last seconds of 2013 and the dawn of a new year.
Earlier in the evening, at approximately 10pm, crowds packed the Marina in Dingle to watch a thrilling fireworks display light up the night sky. Funded by local businesses, the fireworks display has become something of a Dingle tradition since the turn of the millennium and the strategy of hosting it a little earlier than midnight to allow families with young children to attend continues to be a popular one as the faces of little ones lit up, mirroring the fantastic display which illuminated the night sky.
The action then moved over town as the crowds began to gather outside O'Flaherty's Pub on Bridge Street and shortly before midnight the Dingle Fife and Drum Band emerged ready to march around town to the Mall Bridge.
Off they took with much gusto followed by hoards of eager followers as the band made their way to the bottom of Main Street where a digital projection, designed by Fergal Flannery and beamed on the gable of a house by David O'Donoghue, saw the last seconds of 2013 disappear into the night.
The dawn of 2014 also marked a new beginning for projection designer and artist Fergal Flannery (the son of Dingle Oceanworld Director Kevin Flannery) who got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend Denise and as the clock struck twelve. She said yes!
Despite thousands taking to the streets, little or no incidents were reported with Dingle Business Chamber, local volunteers and stewards, Dingle Fife and Drum Band and all those involved in the New Year's Eve celebrations credited for the orderly manner and the immense effort they put in in hosting such a large event which was enjoyed by young and old.
"This was our 14th year hosting the fireworks and it was certainly one of the best in Ireland," said Mayor of Kerry Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald who was also present at the Mall for the New Year's countdown.
"Great credit is due to everyone involved, including the local businesses who funded the fireworks display, the Dingle Business Chamber, stewards and volunteers and the Dingle Fife and Drum Band for their efforts in staging another great New Year's Eve celebration in Dingle. It was great to see so many people in town supporting the events and the atmosphere was absolutely brilliant," he said.