Killarney vintners are applying for special early opening times on Sunday morning, for the first time, as the town prepares to welcome 100,000 visitors in what is expected to be one of the busiest weekends of the year.
The early exemption is to facilitate the Munster football final encounter between Clare and Kerry minors and Cork and Kerry seniors at Fitzgerald’s stadium. Killarney’s bonanza game comes as the Pairc Uí Chaoimh reopening was postponed two weeks ago.
The town is also hosting the country’s biggest single one-day fundraising charity event, the 34th Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle.
Ten thousand cyclists will set out on Saturday from Killarney around the 180km Ring of Kerry; This is followed on Sunday by the Munster Final clash at Fitzgerald stadium.
Around 50 pubs are involved in today’s vintners’ application at Killarney District Court to allow them open from 10am on Sunday instead of 12.30. Gardaí are not expected to object.
Five to six late-night venues are also seeking special late night exemptions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, at a cost of €410 per pub per night. Solicitor, Dan O’Connor, said the historic Sunday exemption is being applied for because of the early time of the Kerry- Clare minor match at noon and because of the huge crowds already in the town. The senior game is taking place at 2pm to facilitate TV coverage, Mr O’Connor said.
Gardaí expect at least 30,000 people for the match alone and say thousands will also come to Killarney to accompany the cyclists. At least 100,000 people will pass through the town this weekend.
Killarney Garda Sergeant Dermot O’Connell said the Garda Air Support helicopter from Dublin is being called into Killarney on Saturday afternoon “specifically” for the steep descent from Moll’s Gap on the N72 which is the area of greatest risk for tired cyclists.
On Saturday, road closures on the Ring of Kerry N71/N71 and the Killarney town area, as well as Sneem to Moll’s Gap R568 will be staggered from 5am to 8pm to allow the cyclists pass. On Sunday, there will be a complete ban on parking in roads and residential areas around the Fitzgerald stadium from 9am as an emergency corridor. A number of car parks, including the Killarney Rugby grounds, will open off the N22 Cord-Killarney bypass; and on the approach roads from Tralee/ Limerick and from Killorglin and Dingle.
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