His dream of playing Dublin was once just one of those unanswered prayers. But Garth Brooks is close to completing his mission as there’s only one night left of those gigs in Ireland – and so far every show has been different, the atmosphere electric.
Anyone wondering if there would be enough country fans to fill the estimated 410,000 seats was sure. Event organizers described it as “probably the greatest cultural event in Ireland in the history of music”.
And last night could have been Dublin, Ireland, population 1.2 million, Dublin, Texas, population 3,550 given all the Stetsons, cowboy boots and plaid shirts on the streets.
By early afternoon the transformation was underway: the train from Belfast, which pulled into Connolly Station just before 3pm, unleashed a flood of concert-goers with the ubiquitous hats and wheeled suitcases in tow.
Lindsey and Laura Peters and Paula Reid of Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh were looking forward to the performance of their lives. “We’re huge fans — I did the tour in Nashville,” Lindsey said.
Sisters Shakira, 20, and Annamaria Berry, 25, from New Ross, Co. Wexford, grew up listening to Brooks because their “aunts and uncles and everyone in the family are fans.”
“We love him, we just love him,” Shakira said. “He’s so handsome too – he’s country and western, he’s happy – he’s who we are.”
Brendan Geavey and Paddy Maughan arrived from Ballina, Co. Mayo with Kellie Maughan and Chloe Keary. When asked what she’s expecting, Chloe said, “I’m expecting an engagement,” before laughing, “I’m just crap.”
She bought the tickets for Brendan as a gift, she added.
Mary Casey and Andy Melville traveled from London. The hotels were expensive and they paid €570 for two nights. “But it’s worth it,” says Mary.
“He won’t come to England because he thinks they’re too dry,” said Andy.
“And he’s right,” Mary added.
Leopardstown’s Elizabeth Connors and Alannah Moorhouse – who have been listening to Garth since they were teenagers – were in for a brilliant night.
“My brother bought the tickets months ago – we’re just excited for it to finally happen,” Elizabeth said.
Given the controversy eight years ago over abandoned plans to hold Garth Brooks concerts in Croke Park, what did local residents think now?
Croke Park Residents Association PRO Colm Stephens said they had not changed their mind about the inappropriateness of holding more than two concerts a year at the venue.
“It’s like before – it’s like someone in your area opened a nightclub with 80,000 visitors,” he said.
He claimed concert-goers urinated on the street and in front yards.
“The Gardaí can’t be everywhere,” he said.
A neighbor with a disabled child was denied access to her street during the 9 p.m. concert, he said, adding that the Garda did not understand that traffic was only to stop after 10 p.m. for the end of the concert.
“She went to the nearest entrance and it got sorted out, but it’s all part of the myriad little annoying things that happened,” he said.
Personally, he said that while he was working on his house, he “got out of town” during concerts.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/over-400000-garth-brooks-fans-flooded-croke-park-this-week-now-the-end-is-in-sight-for-locals-41995829.html Over 400,000 Garth Brooks fans flocked to Croke Park this week, and locals are now seeing the end of it