Three-night stand turns Páirc Uí Chaoimh into Ed’s Castle on the Lee

Ed Sheeran on stage at Cork's Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

We love a bit of Ed. Actually, scrap that — we love a lot of Ed.

The sun beamed down on the third and final night of Sheeran’s three-night stand at Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with fans left delighted thanks to a man who can seem to do no wrong.

Vicky Phelan, who has thrown the spotlight on the cervical smear scandal in recent weeks, revealed on Twitter that her daughter, a huge Sheeran fan, was due to meet her hero as she
attended one of the concerts over the weekend.

She was just one of the tens of thousands of people who packed out the three shows to leave with a smile on her face as the Grammy award winner rattled off his hits.

At least 120,000 people attended all three concerts on Leeside, with both Saturday and Sunday shows a complete sell-out.

As the city basked in the afterglow of a huge feelgood factor, gardaí reported that there had been “no problems whatsoever”.

A Garda spokesman in the city said: “The weather also helped — it turned up trumps for us.”

Leeside was buzzing with anticipation even before Friday night’s first concert and Cork Chamber said it had brought millions of euro into the city.

Cork Chamber president Bill O’Connell said the atmosphere around the city had been “fantastic”.

“It started really on Thursday when you saw the infrastructure being put in place,” he said.

It shows up the city for what it can do and what it can offer — hopefully it is the first of many.

“Every hotel room was sold out, B&Bs were doing a wonderful trade, the bars were going well — it ticked every box.”

However, there were some grumbles.

While access into the venue seemed to operate well, some gig-goers complained that if they stayed until the end of the concert, by the time they trekked back into the city centre, the last buses to outlying areas such as Ballincollig, Carrigaline, and Blarney had already gone.

On a more serious note, it was confirmed that on Saturday night a 19-year-old woman was hospitalised after falling through the roof of a commercial premises close to Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

It is thought the woman might have got onto the roof of the building on Monahan Rd to catch a view of the concert when she fell shortly after 9pm. She was taken to Cork University Hospital but it is understood her injuries were minor.

Away from that, however, it was good vibes only. Every chip and ice cream van on the route to the stadium was playing one of Sheeran’s hits and one house had a homemade sign outside offering use of the toilet for a fiver.

A group from Mallow, Co Cork, arriving at the concert via Monahan Rd. Picture: Larry Cummins
A group from Mallow, Co Cork, arriving at the concert via Monahan Rd. Picture: Larry Cummins

Fans travelled from near and far, among them 10-year-old Matteo Formisano, attending his first big concert with his mother, Katherine, and Eithne and Evan McGuckian. The quartet had travelled in from Watergrasshill and said they were confirmed fans of everyone’s favourite redhead.

“It’s a great boost to the city, there’s a lovely atmosphere,” Eithne said. “We want more. Bring on the Events Centre.”

It was Matteo’s big gig debut and he seemed excited, while Katherine said: “He was joking they are escorting their mums.”

Breda Ross and Mary Walsh from Wexford were also making their debut at an Ed concert.

“The songs, the music, the personality — we love him,” Breda said. “He has a Wexford granny as well.”

Breda joked that she’d had her photograph taken with the main man earlier in the day, but Mary revealed it was a cardboard cut-out.

“My son thought it was real anyway,” Breda joked.

Trevor O’Driscoll from Carrigaline was accompanying his six-year-old daughter Abbie to last night’s concert but said his wife had already caught last Friday’s show. As for Abbie, “she loves Ed — she watches him on YouTube all the time.”

Support acts Beoga, Jamie Lawson, and Ann Marie keep the crowd going as more and more people poured in ahead of the main event.

Ed Sheeran has opened proceedings on Friday by wearing a Cork GAA jersey — fitting attire given his surroundings — and the love-in continued over the weekend.

As the sun dipped shortly after he took to the stage to a rapturous reception, those watching the last hurrah for this run of gigs would probably use one of his hit songs to sum it up: Perfect.

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