The cold was no match for the carnival atmosphere that swept through Dublin city, with hordes of party-goers ringing in the New Year.
Illuminating the streets for the thousands of revellers who had converged on the city, the breathtaking Procession of Light led the thrilled crowds around St Stephen’s Green and Grafton St from the early evening.
Elizabeth Iredale from Baldoyle brought her husband Patrick and three children, Liam (11), Maria (8) and David along to see the sparkling spectacle.
“It’s a really nice thing to do with the kids on New Year’s Eve,” she said. “We get to go out and enjoy the atmosphere in town and still be home when it begins to get a bit crazy.”
Meanwhile, Maria told the Independent.ie that her wish for 2016 is that “it’ll be sunnier”.
The New Year’s session truly got underway when over 1,500 determined drummers smashed the world record for the largest-ever assembly of bodhrán players.
Last year’s event succeeded in breaking the previous world record, when 980 people participated.
Cynthia Bonne from Ghent and Rachel Gerads from Amsterdam had their drums ready, but admitted they had never played musical instruments before.
“Cynthia made me,” confessed Rachel, as she brandished her bodhrán. Many attendees bought their €10 bodhráns this week, proceeds from which went to Focus Ireland.
“We are trying to do it the Irish way,” Rachel added. “We aren’t going to a fancy place. We are just hanging out here and celebrating.”
“We hope for a lot of love and happiness next year,” Rachel said. “If it is as great a year as 2015 was, I will be very satisfied.”
Ray Yeates, City Arts Officer with Dublin City Council, said the New Year’s Festival showcased what Dublin had to offer as tourists flocked to the city.
“From what I’ve heard from visitors, our cultural reputation is unique and is admired all around Europe,” he said.
Meanwhile, Orla Carroll of Fáilte Ireland said the New Year festivities had rejuvenated the annual celebration in the capital.
“Up to five years ago, the city centre was relatively quiet but tonight an anticipated 15,000 overseas visitors are in Dublin specifically for the New Year’s Festival,” she said.“Tonight the city is so lively and animated,” she added.
Right now, internationally-acclaimed acts Le Galaxie, All Tvvins and Wyvern Lingo kept a crowd of some 5,000 people entertained ahead of a clamorous countdown at the sold-out NYF Street Fest on St Stephen’s Green.
Ninon Sire and her boyfriend Benjamin Roret from Nantes, France, were first drawn to Ireland because of a joke about Benjamin’s red hair.
“Of course, we wanted to discover your country and your city too,” laughed Ninon.
“It’s a really beautiful place with really nice people, and nice pubs too,” she added. “We heard that it was really good for New Year’s Eve and that lots of things are happening. So why not come?”
But it wasn’t going to be too raucous for the pair, as they faced an early morning flight back home on New Year’s Day.
The Three Countdown Concert saw the 3Arena thronged as jubilant attendees welcomed The Coronas, Fatboy Slim, Kíla, Little Hours and Ryan Sheridan.
The star-studded bill attracted some famous faces too. Legendary goalkeeper Packie Bonner attended with his wife Ann, while models Nadia Forde and Sara Kavanagh also made an appearance.
Baz Ashmawy, Katherine Lynch and Yvonne Connolly also danced the night away at the glamorous event.
Kathryn Thomas and Keith Walsh hosted the evening, which continued on after the clock struck midnight.
Elsewhere in the capital, Lisa Hannigan, Booka Brass Band and Karl Spain were among an eclectic lineup of Irish acts that rang in 2016 at the Turning Pirate Mix Tape in Vicar Street.
There will be some relief from careless carousing this New Year’s Day, with an invitation to kick off resolutions with a 5K run in Phoenix Park.
Meanwhile, a series of 3D light projections will continue to adorn the façade of Iveagh House on St Stephen’s Green until midnight on January 1.
In Limerick city, The O’Malleys hosted a New Year concert of blues, folk and soul in Dolan’s Warehouse.
Electro-trad fiddler Daithí took to the stage alongside The Academic and Oh Boland in the Róisín Dubh in Galway, while Mick Flannery and his band played Cork Opera House.
Revellers in Dingle celebrated with a fireworks display, followed by a procession led by the Dingle Fife and Drum Band.
Meanwhile, Belfast toasted the New Year with a series of more retro events. Titanic Belfast hosted a James Bond-themed cocktail night, while The MAC regaled its guests with a Jazz Age-inspired speakeasy party.