Three fes­ti­vals ev­ery week for a year. Mark Gra­ham runs down some New Year peren­ni­als

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN& GAMES - ❙❙❙ ayearoffes­ti­valsinire­land.com

THE CRI­TE­RIA I use to qual­ify some­thing as a fes­ti­val are loose at best, but loose is good and in that spirit the New Year’s Day Swim at the 40 Foot is just as le­git­i­mate as the an­nual pig race in Bailiebor­ough; it’s just a bit colder and in­volves cru­elty to hu­mans in­stead.

The 40 Foot in Dún Laoghaire is the set­ting for The Big Dip, an an­nual New Year’s Day swim that at­tracts a par­tic­u­lar type of head-a-ball – loons such as the lady coming out of the water who told me “it’s lovely!” last year. You were fool­ing no one, you bloody liar. Even with the over-ex­posed sun-hard­ened skin on her like a Tu­nisian hand­bag, there is no way you could de­scribe the water as be­ing lovely, un­less you’re half pen­guin, half po­lar bear. It was fu*$kin’ freezin’. Word!

At places like the 40 Foot, there’s of­ten a fella with a ther­mome­ter on a rope who’ll shout things like “half a de­gree up from yes­ter­day” or “17


A WALTZER NEW YEAR’S DAY bungeed and even risked go­ing for pints at the Bal­li­nasloe Horse Fair, but spinny things that most eightyear-olds would hop onto at the drop of a hat, fill me with dread. I view Fun­der­land as an ex­treme sport. I took a spin on the waltzers there last New Year’s Day and got that feel­ing, you know the one, when you’re so locked that the room won’t stop spin­ning, so you have to throw your leg out of the bed and put your foot on the floor just to make sure that the house isn’t tum­bling down a hill. That’s what it felt like, and that my friend, isn’t a nice feel­ing.

Even though a day out at the car­ni­val is pretty ex­pen­sive (70 odd quid for a fam­ily of four), it works out a good deal cheaper to have that feel­ing in­duced by a spin on the waltzers, than by spend­ing a for­tune down the lo­cal. I got the big­gest whitener since Tintin ended up on the Pri­mal Scream tour bus with Bobby Gille­spe. It’s of­fi­cial, I am a wus. Those hurdy gur­dys were much more fun as a garsún.

So if it’s a fes­ti­val and a bit of fun you’re af­ter, Dublin is look­ing good for a swing, a swim and a spin. Tell the carnies they smell like cab­bage and they’ll spin the waltzers ex­tra hard.

Safe trav­els, don’t die. de­grees up from this time last year” let­ting you know that he’s sad enough to keep records of this kind of thing. The dope with the ther­mome­ter on a rope told me “it’s 8 to­day”, as I was shiv­er­ing back to my towel. 8 what? I didn’t need his as­sis­tance, I knew ex­actly what tem­per­a­ture it was – COLD!!! Joyce had it sussed when he de­scribed a sum­mer visit to the same spot: “The sea, the snot green sea, the scro­tumtight­en­ing sea.”

But for all my giv­ing out and shiv­er­ing, there is some­thing life af­firm­ing and en­er­gis­ing about this kind of tor­ture and that’s why you might want to con­sider it as a cure if you are hit­ting the New Year’s Eve Fes­ti­val in Das Kap­i­tal. Fire­works on Stephen’s Green, Peo­ple Pro­ces­sion of Light, Brunch in Meet­ing House Square on New Year’s Day and the Count­down Con­cert on Col­lege Green are what NYE has to of­fer Lif­fey side. The con­cert features Imelda May and Bell X1. Even though the city will be men­tal, the streets mobbed, the pave­ments lined with up­chuck, Imelda play­ing out­doors in the ol’ town is bound to be a lit­tle spe­cial. Tick­ets are rea­son­able at ¤20, get­ting them at this stage in the game might be the prob­lem. Imelda might put your name on what must be a gar­gan­tuan guestlist. If you feel like slot­ting in an­other fes­ti­val of sorts (slap of the dodgy fes­ti­val yard­stick), the carnies are back in town. I’ve parachuted,

FFFFForty Foot of mad­ness

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