Traffic problems resolved ahead of Slane
PERFORMERS at Slane may argue that the only way to travel there and back is by helicopter.
But there is some optimism for the 80,000 fans who will make their way to the iconic venue by road this weekend.
Gardai and organisers said yesterday they are "confident" a new system will ensure the traffic chaos of previous years will not be repeated.
The 30th anniversary event -- headlined by Kings of Leon -- takes place in Meath on Saturday.
And there have been changes in access to both the village and concert site this year because of the problems experienced after the 2009 gig.
That gig, headlined by Oasis, was heavily criticised, with some fans having to wait until the early hours of the morning -- after walking for miles -- before getting on a bus.
Garda Superintendent Michael Devine said yesterday he is "confident" the new plans will prevent a recurrence of the problems patrons had getting to their cars and buses on the N2, south of Slane, that night.
The new traffic plan bans all private vehicles from the N2, the main Dublin to Derry road that runs through the small village.
"There will only be public transport on the N2," Supt Devine said.
"Access to that transport should be much better than in the past. There will be no parking on the Dublin road, south of Slane, either and I'd ask people coming in private cars to use the M1."
All buses will operate on a one way system, which will see groups of 12 buses lined up in two rows after the concert.
The dropping off point for bus passengers will be the same as the pick-up point -- just south of Slane village.
"Heretofore we had thousands of people trying to make their way back to the buses, now the buses are coming to the patrons," Supt Devine said.
Lord Henry Mountcharles said there were "very serious difficulties" after the 2009 concert and the new one-way system, including a turning facility for buses, "will significantly improve" on what was there in the past.
Organiser Michael Slattery of MCD said the plan was devised with input from with Dublin Bus, Meath County Council and gardai.
Lord Mountcharles said there were also "physical changes at the top of the site to avoid congestion" in the natural amphitheatre.
"I have seen Kings of Leon live and there is a special synchronicity and magic here this year too because they say that Thin Lizzy are one of the bands that inspired them, as indeed did The Rolling Stones, so they are part of a true Slane tradition," he added.
Tickets for this year's concert sold out in 40 minutes -- a record matched by U2 and Robbie Williams.
Gates open at 1pm and the first band will take to the stage at 1.30pm.