Ring in the New Year in Dublin on your next winter break
Winter is a special time to visit Dublin, with Christmas markets filling the city with festive charm in December, while quieter January and February are great for crowd-free sightseeing -- plus many of Dublin's main attractions are indoors, too!
But it's the extravagant New Year's Festival that's the crowning glory of the city's winter months. Set against the backdrop of The Custom House on the banks of the Liffey, this fun-filled event includes family-focused activities in the early evening, meaning you've got plenty of time to grab a bite to eat while enjoying the festival atmosphere.
At 8pm, the Countdown Concert (ticketed) kicks off with a host of acts, including performances from Walking On Cars, Ash, Aimee and Lisa McHugh. The free Liffey Lights Midnight Moment -- a spectacular lights and pyrotechnics display, which is mapped onto The Custom House and accompanied by a 20-piece orchestra -- rings in the new year.
And the fun doesn't stop there -- on New Year's Day, Temple Bar will be hosting an afternoon of live music, including the free family-friendly New Year's Day Concert from 3.30pm, which will feature performances from Kíla and special guests Wyvern Lingo, Brian Deady and Luz.
We've negotiated an exclusive 20% off the 2019 Countdown Concert tickets. Prices start at 66.20€ for a pair of tickets -- click here to buy your tickets.
And when you're not partying into the early hours, the colder winter weather in Dublin is the perfect excuse to hole up in a cosy pub for the afternoon in front of a crackling fire, or book yourself a candlelit table at one of the city's top restaurants and take your time over a 7-course tasting menu.
If you're looking to spend the evening with Dubliners, though, keep your time in the Temple Bar area brief and take a short walk down to Wexford/Camden St -- that's where the locals go. Not only will you find plenty of old-fashioned Irish craic and toe-tapping music, but it's also rumoured to be where the best Guinness is served.
There are plenty of other ways to meet some of the friendliest locals in the world, as well. The Little Museum is home to an award-winning civic initiative called City of a Thousand Welcomes, where (for free) you can sign up to be paired with a Dubliner, who will give your great advice on their favourite parts of the city and beyond.
Dublin must-dos include The Guinness Storehouse, arguably the world’s most famous brewery, where you can sample a pint of the black stuff from its top-floor bar with panoramic views. Also, be sure to visit picturesque Dublin Castle, wander the cobbled stones of Trinity College and take a step back in time to the 18th century as you explore one of Ireland's greatest cultural treasures -- The Book of Kells.
If you feel like you've seen enough of the city sights for the day, there's plenty to explore out of town. The picturesque seaside towns of Dalkey, Dun Laoghaire, Malahide and Howth are all short journeys by bus or train from central Dublin, and offer a taste of fresh Irish air, rugged coastal views, blood-pumping hiking routes and harbourfront restaurants serving freshly caught seafood.