The ultimate guide to New Year's Eve & New Year's Day in Dublin

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Nicola BradyNicola Brady is a travel writer based in Dublin. She writes regularly for the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and Condé Nast Traveller, and has contributed to books on Dublin and Ireland for DK Eyewitness.
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A shot of Customs House from the River Liffey at the New Years Festival
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Dublin is a city that’s made for New Year’s Eve. There’s something going on everywhere, the pubs are full of life and people race around town to hug their loved ones at midnight.

This year, Dublin’s New Year’s Festival is back in fine style, bringing huge bands, interactive art and festive cheer to North Wall Quay. Elsewhere, the city is buzzing with club nights, indie gigs and parties, with a shindig to suit any musical taste. The celebrations don’t stop at midnight, either – there’s plenty to keep you occupied on New Year’s Day, whether you want to fill your lungs with fresh air or take in some classical music.

Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it in Dublin. Here’s how to wave goodbye to 2022 and see in the New Year in style.

New Year’s Festival Dublin

Get your party shoes on, because Dublin’s New Year’s Festival is back and better than ever. From its location on North Wall Quay, NYF Dublin Festival Village will be a hive of activity, with live music across four stages, loads of street entertainment and a variety of food trucks too. Even better, there will be two opportunities to ring in the New Year – one in the afternoon, and one at night.

If you have kids (or you can’t stay awake past 10pm) then the family-friendly celebration is just the ticket – it has all the fun of New Year’s Eve, but with an earlier finishing time. Midnight Moment – Matinee kicks off at 4pm with music from Gavin James, Lyra and Brad Heidi, before a spectacular visual and musical display leads into the countdown to “midnight.” It’s the ideal compromise – you get to ring in the New Year but leave soon after the event wraps up at 7pm, ready for an early bedtime. Tickets start at €7.90 (from €14.90 for families) and can be booked here.

Media captionCountdown to midnight at Dublin's New Year's Festival.
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When it’s time to see in the New Year for real, your masters of ceremony will be none other than Westlife, who are headlining the main event for the first time. “It’s gonna be one hell of a party,” they promise – and we believe them.  Gavin James and Lyra will be returning to the Festival Village, alongside live DJs who’ll pump up the crowd until the big countdown. Tickets cost €34.90 including booking fee, and are available here.

The fun continues the following day, when the festival’s New Year’s Day Celebration moves over to Meeting House Square in Temple Bar for more live music and street performances. If you want to make the most of the new start, you can tie your New Year’s resolutions to the special Resolution Tree, to solidify your intentions for 2023. This free event starts at noon and runs for the afternoon, so you can pop in whenever suits.

Elsewhere in the city…

As you might expect, there’s plenty else going on in Dublin this New Year’s Eve. Parties, gigs and club nights are back in full swing, so you can put on your dancing shoes and see out the year on a high. If you fancy kicking off 2023 at a gig, head to Whelan’s, where two top Irish bands, Sprints and Thumper, will be playing for the evening. In the Workman’s Club, And So I Watch You From Afar will be taking to the stage for a night of instrumental post-rock, followed by a party in the bar upstairs. 

Media captionCatch a New Year's Eve gig.

Dancing in the New Year

If you’re after more of a disco vibe, the LGBTQ+ club night Mother will be in Lost Lane for an evening of DJ sets from Rocky T Delgado, Ruth Kavanagh and Ghostboy. There’s a New Year’s Eve party in Fitzsimons in Temple Bar, and a night of Afrobeats from DJ Ahmed just over the River Liffey in The Grand Social. In Pygmalion on South William Street, Alexis Taylor will be doing a Hot Chip DJ set, and around the corner in Bow Lane Social, DJ Wax from RTE 2FM will be spinning the tunes all night long. Over at Rascals Brewery in Inchicore, there will be DJs on the decks, alongside a menu of woodfired pizzas and, of course, their very own beer.

Media captionHave a dance and a bite to eat at Rascals Brewing on New Year's Eve.

Cultural Vibes

Things will be a little more sedate at the National Concert Hall, where the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will be joined by the conductor David Brophy and the singer-actors John Owen-Jones and Juliette Crosbie, for a night of songs from well-loved musicals. You’ll countdown to midnight with a glass of complimentary bubbles before a group rendition of Auld Lang Syne that will hit every grace note just perfectly. There will also be an afternoon concert the following day, when Gavan Ring and Sinéad Campbell-Wallace join the National Symphony Orchestra for the NSO New Year's Day Celebration

Media captionVisit the National Concert Hall this New Year's Eve.

New Year’s Day

If you’re dealing with a slightly fuzzy head or simply want to kick off 2023 with virtue, a big long walk is always a good idea on New Year’s Day. You’ll see loads of Dubliners out for a bracing stroll along the cliffs at Howth Head, following the narrow path along the headland as the waves crash below. The trails at Ticknock are a popular choice too, the tracks weaving through the trees leading to epic views of the city and coastline.

Media captionHead out on a walk to clear your head on New Year's Day.

If you really want to blow off the cobwebs, join the people who mark the start of the year with a swim (or a lightning fast dip) at the Forty Foot. This year, there’s a brand new swimming spot just around the corner. The Dún Laoghaire Baths reopen to the public on December 13, and while the pool itself is yet to be complete, you can swim from the jetty that juts into the sea towards Sandycove.

Though New Year’s Day is a bank holiday, there are plenty of museums and galleries open around the city. The three branches of the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, Decorative Arts & History and Natural History – are all open from 1-6pm on January 1, with free admission to all. You can head into the Little Museum of Dublin for a quirky look back at the capital over the past century, from James Joyce to a whole room dedicated to U2. Tours are also running at Kilmainham Gaol, and you can wander around IMMA afterwards to catch the free Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now exhibit before it closes on January 8. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is also open, and you could team it up with a visit to the Jeanie Johnston just a few minutes’ walk away.

Media captionVisit the Little Museum of Dublin on New Year's Day.

Discover Dublin’s cosy pubs

If you’re looking for a laidback bar to celebrate the New Year or a peaceful pint on January 1, check out our guide to Dublin’s cosiest pubs.