Ireland welcomed the New Year with a host of celebrations across the country with Limerick City leading proceedings kick starting its honorary role as Ireland’s first ever National City of Culture.
Local rock star native Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries wowed her Munster audience of almost 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 Cranberries were joined by fellow rockers The Coronas, Derry star SOAK and local talent Leading Armies.
Celebrations continued throughout New Year’s Eve with a dazzling fireworks display, 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.
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 of Limerick 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, in Dublin the streets were illuminated 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 which attracted a significant number of people who made Ireland Vacations over the past 12 months.
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 New Years Eve Dublin Countdown Concert at College Green was headlined by British ska band Madness, and also featured girl-band MKS (Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan), formally known as the Sugababes. The concert was presented by Irish MTV star Laura Whitmore together with TV personalities Daithi O Se and Sinead Kennedy.