Tourism chiefs in Ireland want to attract the eyes of the world onto Dublin tonight when The Gathering is launched in some style.
The Irish capital will showcase itself as one of the world’s ‘must visit’ locations as the country seeks to welcome its Diaspora home in 2013.
The Gathering, which gets underway on Tuesday night, is intended to draw everyone of Irish extraction back home in a major initiative by the government and tourism bodies.
Rockabilly star Imelda May and rising Dublin band BellX1 will showcase their talents at a special open-air concert to ring in the New Year on College Green.
Up to 15,000 participants are expected to attend a torchlight procession followed by a fireworks display over the city.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar will be on hand to launch The Gathering and he wants Dublin to prove itself as a party capital.
Varadkar said: “Our hopes is that the celebrations in the capital will showcase Dublin as one the world’s go to cities for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“The events will mark the start of The Gathering 2013 and the Government particularly hopes Dublin will become one of the cities people visit for new year’s celebrations.”
As he prepares to greet 70 foreign journalists and introduce them to the Irish way to greet the New Year, Varadkar repeated his government’s commitment to The Gathering project.
The Minister for Tourism and Transport said: “The Gathering is one of the key projects I wanted to see through.”
The procession of light in Dublin will see families join with fire-breathers, stilt-walkers and street entertainers.
Organisers say the event to kick-off the Gathering will showcase Ireland and encourage tourists to visit.
Ciara Sugrue of Fáilte Ireland said: “As The Gathering starts, the New Year’s Eve festival is the perfect advertisement for visiting this country.
“We will be doing all we can to make sure that Ireland benefits as much as possible from all the colour, variety and energy of the event.”
Failte Ireland expects an extra 10,000 visitors to Dublin for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
An open invitation has been issued across the world for thousands more to visit Ireland this year as part of The Gathering.
American networks CNN and NBC will both be represented amongst the media organisations from across the world at the Dublin party.
Down in Cork, a New Year’s Day ceremonial 21-gun salute on Spike Island will mark the first day of the Gathering 2013 in the county, the first time such a salute will be fired from Cork Harbour in almost 30 years according to the Irish Times.