Páirc Uí Chaoimh preparations ramping up for Sheeran concerts

Páirc Uí Chaoimh preparations ramping up for Sheeran concerts
Ed Sheeran will play three sold-out concerts at Páirc Uí Chaoimh this weekend. Pic: Larry Cummins

MORE than 200 contractors are hard at work at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, readying the state-of-the-art stadium for this weekend's concerts.

A special covering is being laid over the pitch to ensure that the turf is not damaged, with 120,000 people set to pass through the stadium over the coming days.

Crews are hard at work putting together the rigging and the stage, with dozens of speakers and other equipment currently being installed in a massive operation that started late last week.

Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions. Pic; Larry Cummins
Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions. Pic; Larry Cummins

Barriers and hoarding have been installed throughout the Centre Park Road and Marina areas, with access limited to residents over the coming days.

It is the first stadium concert in Cork since Bruce Springsteen in 2013, an event which was widely criticised after the fact due to issues exiting the stadium and accessing facilities on site.

However, organiser Peter Aiken dismissed fears of any such repeat, pointing to the vastly improved amenities at the redeveloped stadium.

He also described the huge operation that will be in place to ensure all goes to plan over the weekend.

"There are more than 200 involved at the moment, readying the stadium for the weekend. There will be 1,500 people involved on the day, including our team, gardaí, medical, service staff and everyone else," he said.

Speaking at a pre-concert launch event at the stadium, event controller Sophie Ridley issued advice to all those attending the concerts in the coming days.

Preparations at the Páirc are well under way. Pic; Larry Cummins
Preparations at the Páirc are well under way. Pic; Larry Cummins

"Security is our top priority," she said, noting that a full security plan has been prepared with the cooperation of residents and businesses. It includes a full medical staff, including doctors, ambulances, paramedics and volunteers from the Order of Malta, as well as gardaí, security personnel and search and rescue boats from Mallow Search & Rescue.

"Don't bring bags," Ms Ridley continued.

"In line with all stadiums in this country, people are asked not to bring bags. If you have to, make sure it is no bigger than A4 size as anything bigger will not be allowed in."

Ms Ridley also noted that bags will be subject to searches, potentially slowing down access for those who do have them.

Shiv Kelly of Aiken Promotions, Sgt Peter Murphy, Anglesea Street and Aisling Claffey of Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the event communications room at the concert site. Pic; Larry Cummins
Shiv Kelly of Aiken Promotions, Sgt Peter Murphy, Anglesea Street and Aisling Claffey of Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the event communications room at the concert site. Pic; Larry Cummins

"Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult who needs to stay with them for the duration," she said, advising those who look young to bring ID for entry.

A tag-a-child scheme will also be in operation for those bringing younger children.

White wristbands will be available at information tents and customer care points inside and outside the stadiums. It is advised to write a contact phone number or a seat number on these in case a child becomes separated from a parent.

"This will make it much easier to reunite people if necessary," Ms Ridley said.

"Finally, gates will open at 5pm and we would ask attendees to be mindful of our neighbours: we want to be invited back in the future. There will be no advance queuing," she said.

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