U2 and Slane Castle gear up for 20-year reunion

Friday 24 August 2001 22.31

Final preparations are being made in Slane tonight for one of the most eagerly awaited U2 concerts in years. A massive operation is underway to bring the estimated 80,000 fans to and from the venue safely tomorrow.

Twenty years ago, U2 played support to Thin Lizzy at Slane Castle. The sloping lawns form a natural amphitheatre, and have been host to annual rock concerts ever since. Tomorrow's gig, and the second next Saturday, promise to be among the best.

On a sad note, the concert will likely be one of the most emotional for lead singer Bono, whose father died during the week after a long illness. The rest of the band joined Bono and other mourners today at the Church of the Assumption in Howth to pay their respects.

Back at Howth, organisers have been working 14-hour days to ensure the concert, which sold out in just 45 minutes, all runs smoothly. The stage is much smaller than those of previous extravaganzas, such as Popmart and Zooropa, but the crowd will be just as large, and just as hungry.

A spokesman for promoters MCD said that 150,000 hot dogs and 200,000 hamburgers will be consumed. He added that the site would require enough electricity to run the town of Navan for the day.

The Gardaí and Slane Castle resident, Lord Henry Mountcharles, are asking punters to treat Slane with respect and look after themselves.

"If you've got a forged ticket, don't bother coming near the place, you won't get in. Please respect the locality and the people of Slane, and most importantly, look at the beauties of the River Boyne, but don't go near it," said Lord Mountcharles.

He added that the event was about rock music, entertainment, and everything good in life, and said that he was looking forward to a successful event.

While wishing everyone a good time, Gardaí have reminded concert goers not to drink to excess, or take illegal drugs, and to stay away from the dangerous River Boyne in order to prevent a repeat of previous years' tragedies.