Irish on tour: travelling fans must dig deep to support Boys in Green
Published 14/12/2015 | 02:30
Irish fans will have to fork out an average of €1,800 to cheer on the Boys in Green at next summer's Euro 2016 finals.
An estimated 50,000 Irish supporters are expected to journey from home and abroad for the summer show-piece tournament in France.
Ireland's travelling army will be hoping to breathe life into the Republic's chances in Group E - already dubbed the 'Group of Death'.
Martin O'Neill's charges face a stern test in their opening game against former Euros semi-finalists Sweden, in the Stade de France, in Paris on June 13.
Five days later, Irish supporters will have to travel 580km south, to invade the city of Bordeaux, where we will face Belgium, the world's current top-ranked team.
For our third game in the group, on June 22, Ireland must trek 806km north to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, where they'll face four-times World Cup winners, Italy.
And as the scramble for flights, accommodation, and tickets gathers pace, fans have been warned to act fast to avoid exorbitant prices.
Pat Dawson, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association, told the Irish Independent that prices were already being ratcheted upwards.
He also pointed out that Stenaline had seen a huge increase in bookings for ferry services to Cherbourg.
"Seasoned followers who have previously attended World Cups and European Championships are already on the ball. They're the fans who are making a two- or three-week holiday out of their trip."
Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Cityjet will put on a number of charter flights from Shannon, Cork, and Dublin to cater for demand, he added.
"In total, between a charter flight over and back, accommodation for one night, and a match ticket, attending a game will cost approximately €600."
If fans are to enjoy all three matches, they could be paying in the region of €1,800 - although the bill for wining and dining will push this up still further.
Mr Dawson also said there has been a resurgence in corporate sports travel in the past 12 months, which will further fuel demand.
"I'd imagine there will be a hell of a lot of day trips for next year's tournament," he told the Irish Independent.
"There'll be a variety of deals available to fans, but mainly two-match and three-match packages."
He also warned supporters to buy their match tickets from reputable sources online.
"At every European Championship and World Cup there are always problems. If it looks too cheap, then it's probably too good to be true," he added.