There’s a long list of reasons to visit Dublin. It’s full of surprises, with quaint cobbled streets and modern trams, quiet landscaped parks and bohemian quarters, hippy markets that would put Camden to shame and bags of tourist attractions. The Guinness brewery tour is a must, as is the cheerful Viking duck tour. Above all it’s a small city with a big heart and bags of personality.

So if you fancy extending your stay – and who wouldn’t? – make sure you check out some of the big events coming to Dublin in the New Year.

If you’re a music lover, don’t miss the dulcet tones of singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran as he charms the crowds at Dublin’s O2 Arena in January. Famous for his unruly mop of orange locks and a diverse style that somehow combines soul, folk and rap, catch Ed as he makes heart-wrenchingly beautiful sounds with his guitar, rich vocals and timeless lyrics.

Another big name to grace the O2 Arena stage in January is Two Door Cinema Club. The local lads from Bangor and Donaghadee in County Down have only been a band since 2007, but have wasted no time in making themselves heard. This popular indie rock outfit has shot to mainstream success, snatching Irish Album of the Year in 2010 for debut album Tourist History, and claiming the No.1 spot for second album Beacon in the Irish Albums Chart. Catch them on 19th January at the O2 Arena.

If you’re planning to make a night or two of it, you’ll find a number of accommodation options throughout the city from budget-friendly Travelodge hotels and airport digs to swanky four and five-star residences.

Another major highlight in Dublin’s New Year calendar is the Heineken Cup tie, which sees local club Leinster battle it out against Llanelli Scarletts on the rugby field. This is set to be a hard-fought match and promises plenty of atmosphere, both during and after the game, when the cheer will no doubt spill out into the local bars and pubs.

If you’re heading to the game, it’s well worth arranging a stopover. Check out the Dublin Rathmines hotel – it’s just a couple of miles from the stadium on the southern fringes of the city, with easy access to the major road networks. If you’re planning to drive, for big ties such as Leinster vs Scarletts it’s often worth parking a short distance from the ground and travelling the rest of the way on foot, as this makes getting away after the game much easier.

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