CORK city is open for business on Friday despite the massive security operation for the queen’s visit.
And the public has been invited to line the streets before noon to greet the British monarch and her husband Prince Phillip, who are due in the city around 2pm.
Up to 25,000 people are expected in the city on the day.
St Patrick’s Street will be closed to traffic from 10am for a giant street party and musical performances.
Two big screens will relay live images of the queen’s tour of the English Market.
Gardaí said the Daunt Square area will offer the best vantage point for anyone who would like to view the queen’s entourage entering the market’s Grand Parade entrance.
There will also be limited access to the Grand Parade.
Chief superintendent Mick Finn, who is overseeing the massive security operation, said thousands of gardaí, drawn from across the southern and eastern divisions, will be deployed on the ground.
He said a comprehensive policing and security plan has been prepared to cope with any eventuality.
“We will have a lot of personnel on the ground, and a lot you won’t see. But we want to welcome people in to the city,” he said. Traffic restrictions will be place from 10am and pedestrian restrictions from noon, and the chief superintendent urged people to:
nPlan their journeys in advance;
nAllow more time than usual for journeys;
nTo use public transport where possible.
“We want to reinforce the message that whatever restrictions are in place, we are doing our best to facilitate people,” he said.
“People will be able to get in to town, get to work, and drop kids to school, and Cork is open for business.”
Traffic restrictions at key junctions should be lifted by 5pm, he said.
Cork Business Association chief executive, Donal Healy, said despite the disruption, his members view the visit as “extremely positive” for the city, which will result in massive tourism spin-offs.
“It will be an historic day for the city. We are looking forward to a festive occasion and our members are actively encouraging people to come to the city on the day,” he said.
Several hundred school children from schools selected by lottery will line the South Mall as the royal cavalcade sweeps in to the city.
The children will wear blue, white and red T-shirts emblazoned with Welcome to Cork slogans.
The queen will be greeted on the Grand Parade with a performance from the band of the 1st Southern Brigade under the baton of Brian Prendergast, and a performance by the 70-strong Bodhrán Bookills from St Joseph’s National School.
She will spend about 20 minutes in the market greeting traders, before unveiling a commemorative plaque.
She will then depart for the Tyndall Institute where she will spend about 40 minutes greeting invited guests, including Cork twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, and their mother Angie.
Soprano Mary Hegarty will perform in the English Market after the queen’s visit, and people have been encouraged to visit the market afterwards.
The queen is expected to depart from Cork Airport at around 4.15pm.
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