THE DUBLIN DIARIES

NEW YEARS EVE IN DUBLIN

I said years ago that I wanted to spend New Years Eve in as many different countries as I could. Some times it just can’t pan out that way for one reason or another and even if I have done it in Budapest, Australia, Fiji, Amsterdam and New Zealand, I have skipped a few, but this year I managed to make it away. I’d looked at Barcelona, Berlin and Prague. I’d also looked at Belfast, because of the riots the flights were cheap and I thought it’d be quite exciting even if it might be a bit hairy. In the end I decided to go to Dublin along with my friend Dave and I couldn’t have made a better choice. We flew over on the eve of the New Year from Manchester. We got to the airport with a bit of time to spare and squeezed in a glass of champagne before we headed to the departure gate. Our flight was delayed by an hour and we weren’t surprised really because the biggest storm came across, the skies were black and the heavens opened.

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The flight over was great, there’s nothing better than climbing above the clouds and seeing the sunset from that height. Imagine what it’s like doing a skydive at sunset, that’s on the ‘must do’ list, added to the rest of the list, it’s getting to be a pretty long one!

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We arrived in Dublin to a much better sky, jumped in a cab and headed to our hotel. The hotel was about a 20 minute walk into town, and was comfortable enough. With time to spare before heading out to meet Rach & Andy who’d flown over at 6am we went off in search of some more champagne. It’s a bit unfortunate that I’ve acquired a pocket crippling taste for the stuff, that and it doesn’t seem to give me a hangover! We tracked some down in probably the weirdest Tesco I have ever been into, in the Phibsboro part of town, it had an enormous bouncer on the door and looked like a back street knock off shop. We got stocked up, mainly with the idea that most places would shut after the clock had chimed twelve, we were partying all night and didn’t want to go short!

We met up with Rachel & Andy in a fantastic pub close to the centre of town, the first of the many superb pubs with under cover beer gardens. The atmosphere was already starting to buzz. I was just getting into my second glass of prosecco when the banging started outside. Fireworks, and it was only 8pm. This all kicked off at St. Stephens Green, I ran out into the street to watch the spectacle, I couldn’t believe there was fireworks so early, and they were amazing. Enormous explosions of electric flowers and beams of light. This was when I realised that the pocket camera I had with me was going to be useless, the camera from that point on was dubbed ‘shit cam’. I didn’t get it out of my bag for the rest of the trip, utterly hopeless at night photography. I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t get any shots, everything was so amazing, but my memory of it all is vivid thankfully and it panned out to be an event I’ll never forget.

We made our way to the Gathering Festival near Temple Bar. I’d got this idea that it was all going to be in the middle of a field somewhere, most festivals I’ve been to have! But this was such a well-staged event, even if we did get our miniature bottles of prosecco confiscated on the gates! One thing with champagne, it’s just too fizzy to cane in one go… and if I can’t do it! I didn’t think we’d get away with it really, but it was worth a go! Once we were in, the fun was already underway. The stage was set up with a cracking sound system. The music was a mix of traditional Irish ramped up with electronica, all songs you knew. Imelda May was absolutely fantastic, what a belting voice she’s got. I did a TV ad for one of her albums a while ago, and although it wasn’t the sort of album I’d normally buy, I remember not being able to stop tapping my feet to the music when I was doing the graphics. Also playing were Paul Brady, Bell X1, Damien Brady, Damien Dempsey, Bressie  and Riverdance. Gigantic 3D visuals illuminated onto the façade of Trinity College in front of us. The crown there were brilliant, everybody was on such a great vibe, bouncing around the square. There was a massive countdown into the New Year and we were all utterly steaming and rocking by that point. The whole event was just as good as my Millennium New Year in Amsterdam, Dublin YOU ROCK!

The party wasn’t over. For the next few days we didn’t stop really. Rach & Andy left the next day, but Dave and me sampled Dublin life to its full capacity over the next four days. On New Years Day there was ‘The Big Brunch’, basically the whole of Dublin was still partying, we couldn’t really believe it. Even in Amsterdam, if there was anything going on the next day, I never saw it. Not so in fair Dublin. There was a hilarious Vintage Tea Dance outside at one of the many squares. We learned how to do the Charleston. There was also burlesque performers, contortionists, cancan and jitterbug dancers. At that point there The Swinging Blue Cats were playing, I’m not adverse to a bit of that sound, I like most live music to be honest. All of this got us in the mood for another night of it, and we partied on.

We didn’t stop until we came home, it’s amazing we managed to fit in so much in between all the partying really, but we did. We went to The Natural History Museum, which is called the ‘Dead Zoo’ in Ireland, which was a right eye opener. We went to The National Gallery; I always like to fit one in where ever I go if there is one. We went to Phoenix Park, and we went for a quick whizz to see where the gigantic Guinness brewery was, and the Jameson distillery. We went through Medieval Dublin and saw some beautiful things. I ate man sized portions of Irish stew in every flavour they come in, and I think they serve some of the best white wines I’ve ever had the pleasure of quaffing in every pub in the city; unlike the stuff that makes you squint and squirm as soon as it hits your taste buds, most familiar with a lot of pubs in England.

We covered most of Dublin main centre on foot as well, having a poke about here and there. Luckily I did take my Olympus camera with me, even if I did only get it out on the last day for a wander around. It’s always a bit harder when you’re with friends, taking photographs, because for one it’s not fair on the other person if you drag them around for the purpose of taking photographs and it’s not the same as shooting on your own. Another reason is, I like to take my time, and I like to get down the dirty back streets, which often aren’t all that appealing to anyone other than me! Anyway, I did take a few photographs, some of which are here. I have to say, that camera, it really is a little gem. It shoots in 35mm, but it’s a digital camera, and it’s as light as a feather. The night shots were all hand held, I really love the grainy quality of the photographs, it’s like I was using a film camera, not a digital one which I totally love. I’m looking forward to having some fun with that this year, a lot. Here’s some of the shots from the last day.

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I hope you all had a fantastic New Year and I hope 2013 is a year filled with fun and laughter for every one of you. Unless anything bonkers happens in the next few weeks which deserves a place on here, the next adventure will be coming in about three weeks time when I’ll be in Thailand, first stop Koh Samui. To say I’m excited would be the understatement of the century. Bottoms up everyone…

Oh, and if you’re thinking about Dublin for New Year, don’t think it, do it!  http://www.nyedublin.ie/

Until the next time…

Love & Light

Captain Over & Out X

2KZOOM1

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