Galway will be painted ‘Ed’ this weekend as an expected 60,000 fans flock to the city to see Ed Sheeran perform at Pearse Stadium. Construction crews are this morning (Thursday ) putting the finishing touches to the mammoth stage on the pitch at Salthill.
100 gardai will patrol the resort on each of the two days, with additional members being brought in from the county areas to back up their city colleagues. Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday gigs, the second leg on the Divide singer’s Irish tour, went on sale back in July and sold out within a matter of hours Gardai and concert organisers Aiken Promotions are asking revellers not bring bags to the venue which opens on the show days at 5pm in order to limit queuing.
Concert goers who do not have bags will be fast-tracked into the venue as strict security checks will be in operation. For those who do intend on taking a bag, it needs to be less than A4 size and will be searched.No bags larger than A4 size will be allowed into the venue. Early queuing will not be permitted in the streets around the stadium.
Under 18s must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian attending the event who will remain with them and take full responsibility for them throughout the duration of the event.
Free TAG-A-KID safety wristbands will be available at all the customer care points both outside and inside the venue. Parents/guardians attending with young children are encouraged to avail of these white wristbands which have a space for parent/guardian to write a contact number.The purpose of these wristbands is to help reunite lost children with parent/guardian should a child become separated from his/her parent/guardian within the venue.
The concerts will be the first time Sheeran (27 ) has returned to the city since he shot the video to his hit singer Galway Girl in April last year. On that occasion, hundreds of Sheeran fanatics thronged the streets of the city in the hope they might catch a glimpse of the star.
Tickets for Sheeran’s Irish tour dates have been subject to strict anti-tout rule and promoters have said that anyone attending these gigs will have to provide booking confirmation, credit card or photopcopy, and a valid form of ID. These rules have been put in place to try to stop people reselling tickets online for extortionate prices. However, despite the strict anti-tout rules, tickets for Sheeran’s Irish gigs have popped up on the ticket reselling sites Viagogo and eBay at inflated prices.
Salthill in lockdown
Gardai are strongly advising concert goers to plan their approach to Pearse Stadium, allowing sufficient travel time to and from the venue as Salthill will experience a 53-hour lockdown which will see access restricted only to cars with permits, and just residents and visitors with passes will be allowed into the inner cordon around the stadium.
Some 2,000 residents will be affected by the lockdown that will be in place from Friday evening (7pm ) until midnight on Sunday. The cordon perimeter which is 5km long, will see eight points where non-residents can access a one-way traffic system which will operate throughout the lockdown, from Dr Mannix Road and Threadneedle Road junction to the Dalysfort Road Junction, and from there to the prom and the Rockbarton Road and Dr Mannix Road Junction to Rockbarton North junction.
The area will be monitored by the Galway City Council’s parking enforcement and illegally parked cars may be clamped or towed away. It is expected there will be traffic and parking delays and the use of public transport and car pooling is strongly recommended.
Bus Eireann will be running an extended service from AIB Eyre Square to the Aquarium in Salthill before, during, and after the concert. Regular Irish rail services will be available during the concerts and will transport patrons to Ceannt Station, Galway city centre. A late night service from Galway to Athlone will run on both nights and will depart Ceannt Station at 00.15am, it will service all stations along the route. A shuttle bus service will also operate from AIB Eyre Square to the Aquarium in Salthill with taxi drop off and collection being located on Seapoint Promenade.
Private coach drop off and post event collection will be located on Bishop O’Donnell Road. Signs will be in place to direct patrons to and from the concert venue. Those travelling to Salthill by car are being asked to use car parks on the outer perimeter. Main parking for the concert is located at St Mary’s College with entrance via the St Mary’s road.
Additional 24 hour parking facilities will be available at Jurys Hotel; Harbour Hotel; Eyre Square Centre; The Galmont Hotel; Fairgreen Car Park; Park rite, Hynes Yard Car Park; Bowling Green, Newtownsmith; The Greyhound Track, College Road; Galway Cathedral Car Park; Market Street; Dyke Road (Black Box theatre ); Claude Toft Park; Seapoint Promenade; and Mill Street short term Car Park.
The concerts will also see undercover gardai in the crowds in order to stomp out any anti-social behaviour. One hundred gardai will be drafted in from county areas with 70 stationed outside the venue and 30 inside the stadium.