City is put on lockdown for last leg of historic trip
THE biggest security operation in Cork history takes place today as over 1,000 extra gardai are deployed on the city streets to ensure the final leg of Queen Elizabeth's visit concludes without a hitch.
Armed gardai sealed off parts of the city centre last night while rapid-response officers patrolled derelict buildings, sewer entrances, rooftops and even channels of the River Lee.
Officials urged people to attend the city centre celebration -- but to leave their cars at home.
Musicians and street entertainers will create a festival atmosphere among the expected attendance of more than 25,000.
Cork Business Association president Donal Healy said traders were open for business and wanted to see people in the city centre.
Meanwhile, Mary Mulcahy, the longest continuously working trader at the 18th Century English Market, will be one of those to formally greet the monarch.
There will be fairly widespread disruption to traffic and holidaymakers travelling to and from Cork Airport today have been warned to give themselves extra time. Anyone travelling between 1pm and 5pm should expect delays, gardai said.
More than 20 of the main city streets will be closed, with pedestrian access to the shopping areas restricted.
"The road from the roundabout at the entrance to the Cork Airport to the Kinsale Road roundabout will be subject to restrictions to both pedestrians and traffic at various times," a garda spokesman said.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane on the M8 motorway between junction 7 and junction 9 for much of the day.
Access to Cashel will also be restricted, with some streets closed, while a cordon will be in place around Fethard town and Killenaule.