A fiery start to bring in the New Year
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Walking Aid, Wheelchair, Powerchair
Great experience, which is free to attend , run totally by volunteers A traditional ceremony to bring in the New Year, it is supposed to ward off any bad spirits for the New Year coming in. Fantastic Firework Display at the end We planned ahead via their Facebook page. Designated area for wheelchair / less abled attendees ., you need to arrive early as space is limited ( they had 10,000 visitors this year)Well marshalled by volunteers, great atmosphere , and very friendly and hospitable local people. The crowds gather a good 3 hours before the ceremony starts, and it’s freezing , so wrap up well and wear old clothes! Found it a bit scary being just a couple of feet from the fireballs themselves, but great to be part of it.
Transport & Parking
No designated parking, in fact my companions had to park nearly a mile away after dropping me and my companion at the drop off point, so realistically you need a group of at least 3 of you, including a fit and able driver ,if attending. The local area is supported by public transport.
We planned ahead and were advised to contact a Marshall at the drop off point. ( they approached us and gave assistance right away) We were escorted to a designated viewing area to observe the ceremony, the Marshalls moved any barriers and guided us over a route avoiding bumps and drop downs. The viewing area is quite an area to walk from the drop off point, and there is nowhere to stop for a rest , quite a lot of people who did walk had mobility aids that incorporated a seat.They allow space for one companion in the designated area.
There was toilets available, and plenty of Marshall’s on site to ask directions. Unsure if an accessible toilet was available, and the sheer crowds would have made it difficult to go looking, so not reviewed
The marshalls were fantastic, they were all local volunteers. They went out of their way to ensure that we had a good experience. We had one at all times in our section, she was amazing ,sadly I didn’t catch her name. She went round as all regularly to ensure we were ok , and jollied us along to cheer for the individual fireball-swingers during the ceremony. They also made sure that our view was kept clear at all times , moving on any stragglers in front of our section. The event was also well attended by first aiders and a paramedic, who regularly patrolled up and down the crowds
Anything else you wish to tell us?
Really is a great experience , to see this tradition carried on . The local people were so welcoming and helpful, with complete strangers and even the fire- ball swingers stopping to talk to us and wishing us a Happy New Year. It is a long time in the cold, there is a Pipe Band and a Dancing Display which starts before the ceremony, we arrived at 9.30pm and it was getting busy then, so wrap up really well and take a blanket.The fireball ceremony doesn’t start till the Bells at New Year.You can get hot drinks etc , some people had their own flasks. Also you are quite close to the fireballs( the marshalls carry fire blankets), there is smoke and a lot of sparks which get blown over the spectators. So wear older clothes. Only downside was that the crowds were so large we never got to see the final part of the ceremony where they throw the fireballs into the sea ( these are retrieved and used again next year)