Irish New Year’s Traditions

Ireland is a country that has historically been involved in many mythological stories and great warriors. In addition, its residents are highly traditionalists, and this way of thinking has been transmitted from generation to generation. The arrival of a new year has always been a time of hope and excitement in Ireland.

Here are seven essential Irish New Year traditions to help you see in the start of another 12 months in true Celtic style.

  1. A centuries-old custom, the idea was to start the New Year with a clean slate, which meant having a spotlessly clean house.
  2. Another of the most common traditions by the Irish is to place large amounts of coal in the house as a sign that the new year will be very prosperous. 
  3. Another Irish superstition involves banging on the doors and walls of the family home with Christmas bread. This one is all about chasing bad luck out of the house and inviting good spirits in before the start of the new year.
  4. On New Year’s night, families across Ireland set a place at the dinner table for those lost the year before and the door off the latch. It’s about remembering those lost the year before.
  5. Those looking to meet their future husband or wife was advised to place springs of holly, ivy or mistletoe under their pillow. The idea was that they would dream of their future partner.
  6. At the stroke of midnight on 31st December, those seeking good luck in Ireland were recommended to enter their house through the front door and leave through the back.
  7. A simple yet enduring superstition involves which direction the wind might be blowing from. Should it come flying in from the west, then all of Ireland will be looking forward to a great year ahead. But say it comes from the east then something far worse could be on the cards – good luck for all of the UK, rather than Ireland.
The Custom House, Dublin’s iconic landmark, is the centre for NYF Dublin’s countdown and New Year’s Day celebrations this year | Photo: Allen Kiely / Failte Ireland

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