Portmagee Rings in 2023
Portmagee always provides a very special celebration when ringing in the new year. Over the past 2 years, the little fishing village has had to change the way the celebrations operate due to Covid-19. However this year the New Year celebrations were back in full swing here in Portmagee with people from all over the world coming to visit and join in the fun!
This unique celebration goes all the way back to 1727 when a boat flying a French flag landed in Portmagee port. That night as locals were going to bed they heard an eerie sound coming from the pier. At first they thought it was the Banshee (a female spirit who’s wailing is said to warn of a death in the family.) The sound began to come closer to the village and then the locals noticed crew from the French boat holding torches and marching through the village. The group was lead by a piper and the group were surrounding a man who seemed to be staggering.
The group proceeded through the village and once they returned to the top of the pier a shot silenced the village as they watched the old man lay still on the roadside appearing to be dead. After a minute the locals watched on as a new man appeared from the darkness in a white trousers, a long coat, and a top hat. The new man repeated the same route as the old man lead by the group of men holding torches and the piper.
The new man gave a speech to the group of locals to explain that what they had witnessed informing them the old man symbolized the year gone by and that come midnight he was no more. The new man symbolized all that was new and the youth of the year had just begun.
Every year the locals of Portmagee come together to reenact this scene in celebration of the new year ahead.