Canadian rocker Brian Adams started the party rolling in Killarney’s Fitzgerald Stadium on Friday night, treating the 25,000-strong crowd to the highlights of his glittering career.
On Saturday, the beautiful Corr sisters (don’t forget brother Jim) had them dancing on the pitch and in the stands with their own brand of feel-good rock.
Add ageing rocker Kris Kristofferson and 1980’s stadium band Simple Minds to the mix and it’s easy to see why more than 50,000 people flocked to the unofficial capital of the Kingdom for the weekend.
The third annual Summerfest is worth an estimated e10 million to the local economy. Every hotel and guesthouse bed was booked out, with private householders asked to take in overflow crowds, some of whom also went to neighbouring towns such as Kenmare and Killorglin for accommodation.
Others just pitched their tents wherever they could and soaked up the festive atmosphere in the bustling streets and bars.
“The weekend was a great success and we even managed to avoid the rain for the concerts. Killarney was throbbing,” said Summerfest spokesperson Laura Murtagh.
Gardaí reported a relatively trouble-free weekend, with a total of seven arrests for drink driving and seven public order offences up to last evening. In Galway, it was more of a pilgrimage than a concert, with 10,000 fans packing Pearse Stadium to pay homage to music legend Bob Dylan.
Disappoint he didn’t. The last time such reverence was given to a single individual in Galway was in 1979 when the Pope declared: “Young people of Ireland, I love you.”
Last night was a different kind of lovefest. Dylan had the whole of Salthill in his hands. Even those who suffered his no-show in Millstreet earlier this year were in forgiving mood.
Bob Crosby from Arkansas was just about on the right side of ecstatic.
“It’s been 25 years since I first started attending Bob Dylan concerts, and in some circles that makes me just a beginner,” he said.
“His Bobness never disappoints. He, like, stretches the boundaries, man. It’s what makes him so great.”