Gardai in Cork have praised all those who attended matches in the newly revamped Pairc Ui Chaoimh this weekend for their support after an extremely successful opening weekend for the venue.
The City welcomed more than 64,000 fans who flocked to the stadium across the two days, to see Clare take on Tipperary and Waterford versus Wexford in two All Ireland Quarter Finals, the first of the Pairc's high-profile matches.
Fears raised over parking and congestion in the City ahead of the events were quashed by well-managed efforts from both the Gardaí and the public.
Just one vehicle was towed and a handful of tickets were handed out across the two days, according to Garda Inspector Finbarr O'Sullivan of Anglesea Street.
"We really must compliment all the supporters, who complied with the directions given out. We were all very impressed with attendees."
No more than 10 tickets were issued across the two days to drivers who had parked illegally.
This was largely due to supporters arriving to the City early and walking to the venue, Inspector O'Sullivan added.
"We really are very appreciative and very impressed with the public."
Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald said this matches this weekend helped to showcase the wide choice of events Cork has to offer.
"Although hard luck to our own Cork footballers after their gallant display in Limerick this weekend. They wore their jerseys with pride and they can be proud of their record."
The Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan also brought music to the city centre this weekend, as up to 18,000 people attended performances across the City as 4,000 participants took part in the event.
“A big thing for a lot of people who attended were the facilities in the City, they were blown away by them,” vice-chairperson of the Munster Fleadh Damien O’Mahoney said.
“With provincial Fleadhs, venues are often far away and the convenience of having the competition venues so central, that blew people away.”
Performers also loved playing in the Cork Institute of Technology's School of Music, he added.
Cork City was the first City centre to host the event, bringing hopes it may be chosen as a host for an All Ireland Fleadh after an incredibly successful weekend.
“The reaction was very positive, which means down the line for the All Ireland Fleadh, Cork is in with a chance. These events usually attract between 350,000 and 400,000 people and Cork’s chances for an All Ireland have taken a leap forward.”
423 swimmers took to the Lee for the 12th annual Vibes & Scribes Lee Swim, it’s most successful year to date.
Getting underway at the North Mall, the 2km swim saw competitors travel under the bridges of Cork on their way to the finish line at the Clayton Hotel.
Spectators cheered swimmers along from the quay walls, with prizegiving and a barbeque held then at Lapp’s Quay.
“It was a brilliant year, just fantastic,” Lee Swim Pro Angela Harris said.
“There was an incredible atmosphere, especially with the Fleadh and the GAA supporters around.”
The Lee Swim dates back to 1914 and was relaunched in 2005 as the Vibes & Scribes Lee Swim, and has been held annually ever since. “Joe Donnelly has been instrumental in this,” Angela said.
“Nearly 5,500 people have completed a Lee Swim since it was brought back in 2005 and its getting bigger every year.” Today, the Vibes & Scribes Lee Swim is ranked as one of the top 100 open swims in Europe, she added.
"Fantastic; electric; second to none," was how some fans described the atmosphere in the new stadium to us as they exited.
Tipp fan Sarah O'Dwyer told the Evening Echo the new stadium was fantastic and that she was looking forward to attending many more matches in the grounds in the future.
"We found parking fine, although we left very early and parked at the Blackrock hurling club," she said.
"We always park there going to games. It's ideal and no hassle getting to and from the stadium."
"In saying that, my father left about an hour after me and had a one-hour tailback at the Dunkettle Interchange to get through the tunnel."
Business was booming in many of the City's pubs after the matches, as fans flocked to celebrate or commiserate.
Manager of Goldbergs Eoghan Connelly said the atmosphere during the weekend had been superb.
"I think the whole City thrives from it," he said.
"The Wexford and Waterford crowd are brilliant altogether and Saturday was brilliant as well."
The matches at the Pairc helped create a good buzz around the City, he added.
"Because we haven't had it for a few years and it's huge. Hopefully, we'll have more later on in the Summer."
The fears of residents in the surrounding areas of Pairc Ui Chaoimh over parking and congestion were appeased by traffic management plans put in place for the weekend, according to Councillor Terry Shannon.
"I really must commend the County board for coming on board with the plan as well as the City Council and its outside staff and traffic wardens."
"This is how it needs to be moving forward, we can't take our foot off the peddle. A traffic management plan is needed as well for club matches, not just the big days."
Signage in the surrounding areas including times and dates of upcoming matches would also be helpful for residents, he added.
Labour local area representative for Peter Horgan also commended the work of Gardai, city traffic wardens and volunteers for making the events this weekend a success.
"I've spoken with a number of residents throughout the weekend and they were very happy at the flow and management of traffic matters. That the Gardai were out in force ticketing and towing where necessary brought a peace of mind to those who live in the suburb of the stadium."
"I hope this weekend will be a blueprint for future events in Pairc Ui Chaoimh that will designate Cork as a venue of events that benefit visitors and residents alike."