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Tens of thousands celebrate New Year’s Eve as Westlife ring in 2023 in Dublin

Despite the weather, over 18,000 people were expected to attend the New Year’s Festival in Dublin on the North Wall Quay on Saturday night.

Westlife and the audience pictured ringing in 2023.Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

Gavin James and the audience pictured ringing in 2023 with New Year’s Festival Dublin, Ireland’s biggest New Year Celebration. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour for New Year. Photo: Reuters / Jaimi Joy© REUTERS

Amy DonohoeIndependent.ie

Thousands of people around Ireland gathered to ring in 2023 for the first New Year’s celebrations since 2019.

Despite the weather, over 18,000 people were expected to attend the New Year’s Festival in Dublin on the North Wall Quay on Saturday night.

Around the globe, the New Year celebrations have already taken place in places such as New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

Australia celebrated its first restriction-free New Year's Eve after two years of Covid disruptions, as the world began bidding farewell to a year marked for many by the war in Ukraine, economic stresses and the effects of global warming.

Sydney, one of the world's first major cities to welcome in the New Year, did so with a typically dazzling fireworks display, which for the first time featured a rainbow waterfall off the famous Harbour Bridge.

"This New Year's Eve we are saying Sydney is back as we kick off festivities around the world and bring in the New Year with a bang," said Clover Moore, lord mayor of the city, ahead of the events.

Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour for New Year. Photo: Reuters / Jaimi Joy© REUTERS

Lockdowns at the end of 2020 and a surge in Omicron cases at the end of 2021 led to crowd restrictions and reduced festivities in Australia. However, curbs on celebrations were lifted this year after Australia, like many countries around the world, re-opened its borders and removed social distancing restrictions.

In China, rigorous Covid restrictions were lifted only this month in the government's reversal of its "zero-Covid" policy, a switch that has led to soaring infections and meant some people were in no mood to celebrate.

In the city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began three years ago, tens of thousands of people gathered to celebrate amid a heavy security presence.

In Shanghai, many thronged the historic riverside walkway, the Bund.

Days after Hong Kong lifted limits on group gatherings, tens of thousands of people gathered near the city's Victoria Harbour for a countdown. Lights beamed from some of the city's biggest harboufront buildings.

Malaysia's government cancelled its New Year countdown and fireworks event at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur after flooding across the nation displaced tens of thousands of people and a landslide killed 31 people this month.

Meanwhile Europe is bidding farewell to a year that saw a major war erupt after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, with no end in sight to the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin devoted his annual New Year's address to rallying the Russian people behind his troops fighting in Ukraine.

Paris was set to stage its first New Year fireworks since 2019. A 10-minute firework show was set to kick off at midnight, with 500,000 people expected to gather on the Champs-Elysees avenue to watch.

Like many places, the Czech capital Prague was feeling the pinch economically and so was not holding a fireworks display.

And in Ireland, thousands of revellers are gathering to ring in the New Year in Dublin.

Westlife took to the stage at 10.30pm with Gavin James and Lyra performing beforehand. Concert goers were greeted by a string of street performers before having the chance to get their hands on some food and drink along the way.

Gavin James and the audience pictured ringing in 2023 with New Year’s Festival Dublin, Ireland’s biggest New Year Celebration. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

Other events in Dublin included traditional Bluegrass tunes at the Cobblestone, Can Can Wonderland at 37 Dawson Street, comedy club the Craic Den in Workman’s and a Masquerade Party at The Camden.

In Cork, a boat party took place on The Spirit of Doolan and a New Year’s Eve Gala Ball at the Metropole Hotel.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Zamparelli rang in 2023 on the New Year’s Eve Party at 10.15pm on RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player.

Ash, Tom Grennan, Lyra, 60s icon Donovan and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra performed, and Marty Morrissey presented from North Wall Quay.

Dublin’s New Year’s Festival, which runs across New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, is expected to draw 40,000 visitors to the capital city, generating over €7m for local businesses across the two days, Fáilte Ireland has confirmed.

Part of Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Winter in Dublin’ programme, the New Year’s Festival aims to establish Dublin as “a must-visit destination to celebrate New Year’s Eve” and is an important driver for tourism businesses during the shoulder season.

The celebrations on New Year’s Day continue in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar on New Year’s Day with performances by Liam Ó Maonlaí, Cormac Begley, Clare Sands, Lorraine Nash and The Pride Of Plains Marching Band.

The two-day festival is aimed at encouraging domestic and international visitors to explore Dublin City, with music and entertainment events that are suitable for all the family running across the weekend.

Minister Catherine Martin said the return of Fáilte Ireland’s New Year’s Festival this year “will encourage thousands of domestic and international visitors to come and explore the capital city over the festive season and experience the best of Irish music and entertainment.”

“Festivals and events are important drivers for tourism throughout the year, but particularly during the winter months,” Minister Martin said.

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals at Fáilte Ireland said the New Year’s Festival is “back in full swing this year, with a truly world-class line up of music, entertainment, and fun for all the family”.

“Creating new and exciting reasons to visit is a crucial part of supporting tourism businesses during the shoulder season and Fáilte Ireland has developed the New Year’s Festival to position Dublin as a must-visit destination to ring in the New Year,” Ms Sugrue said.

Conor O’Kane, General Manager, Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane said this year’s event was the ”biggest yet” and “has a very positive effect on bookings and footfall for businesses in the Docklands and throughout the city centre.”

New Year’s Festival Dublin New Year’s Eve events are ticketed and will be accessible to ticket holders only. Any remaining tickets are available at nyfdublin.com

Traffic restrictions will be in place across the weekend and can be accessed on Dublin City Council’s website.


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