Sunday 17 February 2019

Dublin rings in 2019 with spectacular light show

The New Year’s Festival light show illuminates the Custom House, Dublin, to ring in 2019. Photo: Arthur Carron
The New Year’s Festival light show illuminates the Custom House, Dublin, to ring in 2019. Photo: Arthur Carron
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

The new year got off to the brightest of starts in Dublin as the skies around the city lit up with a spectacular display of fireworks and lasers.

The city centre had a carnival-like atmosphere as more than 25,000 people flocked to the New Year's Festival events, which began at 6pm and didn't end until after the countdown at midnight signalling the start of 2019.

Earlier yesterday, gardaí had warned there were no tickets left for the events and they had appealed to people not to travel to Custom House Quay without one.

A Garda ticket checkpoint and traffic management plan had been put in place to manage the live celebration events, and make sure everything ran smoothly on the night.

The Custom House in Dublin was the iconic backdrop for the three events which were billed as part of the festival.

Among those spotted enjoying the event was U2 frontman Bono, whose son Elijah is frontman with the band Inhaler, who were on the line-up for the 3Countdown concert last night.

Elijah Hewson, watched by his dad U2’s Bono, entertains the crowds as part of his group Inhaler at the festival
Elijah Hewson, watched by his dad U2’s Bono, entertains the crowds as part of his group Inhaler at the festival

He was spotted watching his son at the side of the stage.

Earlier in the evening children got to do their own new year countdown at 7pm as part of the 'Liffey Lights Midnight Moment' matinee show as the sky was lit up with a colourful display of pyrotechnics and laser beams.

The crowd was entertained with a spectacular display of drumming. The drummers and DJs were positioned on a pontoon floating on the water in front of the Custom House, which was built over a number of floors so that spectators could get a good look at what was happening.

The verdict on how it all went was "brilliant" from Joe Loughran, who travelled in to see the event from Churchtown in Dublin with his girls Aisling-Rose (7) and Saoirse (5). "It was very well done," he told the Irish Independent.

Elijah Hewson, watched by his dad U2’s Bono, entertains the crowds as part of his group Inhaler at the festival
Elijah Hewson, watched by his dad U2’s Bono, entertains the crowds as part of his group Inhaler at the festival

"It was the first time that we came in to see it, and the light show was very good," he said.

Mr Loughran added that "the weather was a big plus", as temperatures remained very pleasant in the city for the people attending the festival.

The live-streamed broadcast coverage of the celebrations showcased Dublin city to an audience of millions around the globe, while home audiences were able to view the countdown live on RTÉ last night.

And they came from near and far to attend the events in Dublin's city centre last night.

Aisling-Rose, Saoirse, and Joe Loughran from Churchtown. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Aisling-Rose, Saoirse, and Joe Loughran from Churchtown. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Camille Segond and Carmen Jansen Opdehaar from The Netherlands flew in especially to celebrate New Year's Eve in Dublin.

"Last year we went to London, and this year we are here, and we arrived late on Friday," said Carmen.

The combined draw of the second 'Liffey Lights' show at 11.30pm, and the 3Countdown concert - with a line up of Gavin James, Hudson Taylor, Wild Youth as well as Inhaler - was what the women had been looking forward to at the festival.

Linda and Joseph Crane arrived into Dublin from Washington State on Sunday.

"We are enjoying New Year's Eve in Dublin," they said as they brought their twins Keagan and Kenzie (5) and older daughter Kalia (7) to see the show.

Keagen Crane from Washington at the Dublin event. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Keagen Crane from Washington at the Dublin event. Photo: Justin Farrelly

The lights shows involved 24,000 kilowatts of power, 80 search light beams, 60 lasers, over 6km of cable, over 500 lights in total, and over one tonne of pyrotechnics, but it all went off with a blast.

In Dublin Port, captains of ships were asked to blow their horns at midnight to reignite an old tradition to see in the new year.

"It was an old tradition that the captains of the ships would blow the horns on the ships at 12 midnight and it kind of died out as a tradition," according to Ciara Sugrue, the head of festivals and events with Fáilte Ireland.

Andrew Morrison (4) from Naas welcomes 2019 at the New Year’s Festival in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Andrew Morrison (4) from Naas welcomes 2019 at the New Year’s Festival in Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly

And the eyes of the world were on Dublin last night.

Fáilte Ireland hosted 20 international media who arrived here to cover the event from as far afield as Canada and India.

It's all part of their plans to cement the city as a go-to destination for New Year's Eve, with plans to transform it into a three-day event next year.

Irish Independent

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