Time has not affected the rapper’s popularity and fans are travelling from some 13 countries and paying for accommodation and exclusive tickets to see the artist that Slane Castle owner Henry Mountcharles called “a poet of his generation”.
“VIP tickets have been purchased by people travelling from America, Gibraltar, Italy, France, the UK, the Scandinavian countries, and even India. We have never had such a large number of nationalities before. Eminem clearly has massive appeal and I amreally looking forward to tomorrow’s show,” Mountcharles declared.
While the 80,000 fans can’t bank on the sun shining — the forecast is for some rain — there are intensive security measures in place to ensure the day passes off peacefully.
“Everybody, including VIP ticketholders, will be subject to at least three searches. We will also have metal detectors and special search tents. Nobody will enter the site without having a full and thorough search,” said Garda Superintendent Michael Devine.
Drink, drugs. or anything that could be used as a weapon, including an umbrella, will be taken.
“We have put in additional custody facilities and there is a special court sitting in Navan so we will deal swiftly with any eventualities that arrive,” Supt Devine said.
A large part of the security clampdown is focused on drink and, “if you arrive in Slane with a large amount of alcohol, whether you come by public or private transport, you will lose it. We will not tolerate people who arrive and are clearly intoxicated and also carrying more alcohol.”
Supt Devine, who has overseen security at the Slane concerts since 2006, said more than 800 gardaí will be on duty over the course of the event and traffic diversions will kick in from 7am tomorrow.
For Mountcharles, Eminem is not the only important person ‘returning’ to Slane. “It is 22 years since the fire gutted Slane Castle and it is poignant for me and my family that the week Eminem is coming here, we have also welcomed to the castle a painting that we fought to rescue on the night of the blaze,” he said.
The 19th century portrait of Henry Paget, the first marquess of Angelsey, was rescued by Mountcharles and fire-fighters from the main staircase hall on that fateful November night.
“There were two tears in the canvas as well as significant smoke damage. The restoration work was carried out by Siobhan Conyngham, my sister-in-law, and we now have returning to the castle a painting that met me every morning of my childhood as I came down the castle stairs,” he said.
“He was my great, great, great, great grandfather and was an extraordinary man. He led the charge of the heavy cavalry in the Battle of Waterloo and his daughter married the second Marquess Conyngham. We have two rooms named after him in the castle and he will now be looking down on Eminem as he, too, performs, both men having taken longer than usual to arrive.”