Still crazy in love - Beyoncé is still Queen of Pop for fans
Beyoncé's crown has been slipping lately, a fact highlighted by slow ticket sales for this weekend's show and surprise at her increasingly diva-like demands. But there are still fans who would walk over burning coals to catch the Queen of Pop in action, as our reporter finds out
As the Beyoncé juggernaut rolls into the capital this weekend, the entire city is likely to catch a serious strain of pop fever.
She's lately become something of a divisive figure; tickets for tomorrow's Croke Park show were slow to sell, and she's been criticised for both the price of admission and her demand that fans leave iPads and umbrellas at home. Nonetheless, the superfans are still out there - and for those for whom Beyoncé will always be number one, the 'Formation' tour is likely to cement their all-out adoration for the star.
We spoke to just a few of them to see exactly what it was about Mrs Carter that made them fall so crazy in love (sorry) with her…
Bekah Molony (20), an intern from Dublin
I think labelling myself as a 'fan' of Beyoncé is the wrong term. I am someone who admires her so much that I weep at the thought of seeing her live or hearing her voice in between her songs. Many of my good friends call me Bey/B/Queen B - which I know is blasphemy, but I never asked anyone to do it. I think it's just that my obsession and my devotion lead to me being associated with Beyoncé, so now Bekah and Beyoncé go hand in hand and I am definitely okay with that.
I have seen Bey in concert eight times and I was lucky enough to meet her when she was in Destiny's Child, thanks to my mam. She was working with Sony at the time and somehow the world blessed me with the opportunity to discover Destiny's Child, see them live three times, meet them in person and that's when my relationship with Beyoncé started.
Since announcing her 'Formation' tour, I have been doing the most challenging task of avoiding any giveaway about the concert. This morning I was genuinely tearing up listening to my favourite song on the new album, 'Don't Hurt Yourself', because it hit me that I will be seeing her again after two years of waiting. As you can imagine, the day the tickets were released I had several tabs open to secure my ticket, and I will be there in the Golden Circle bawling my eyes out before, during and after the gig - and I'd like to see Croke Park stopping me from queuing. I am flying home from Amsterdam just to see her, so I will be there as early as I like. I have these dreams of following her on tour around Europe, but because I'm a broke student, I could only go to one more place, so at the end of July I'm taking a bus to Brussels and she will be seeing my face in the crowd again, and I just know she will recognise me… maybe.
Jen Morris (25), a PR executive/blogger from Tipperary
I have a Destiny's Child scrapbook that I made when I was younger, full of clippings from magazines and newspapers. I just loved the music, the energy and most importantly the message. I think its so important for young girls to have these strong role models that are succeeding and living their dream through hard work, not just because they were born a Kardashian.
It's pretty much a part of my identity that everyone knows I love Beyoncé! When my brother passed away, I found that I could escape and listen to her music, which was an amazing respite from life at the time which was fairly bleak.
I really fell in love the first time I saw her live as a solo artist at 'The Dangerously in Love' tour 2003 in the Point.
For two hours you forgot about everything, it was just so fun! I've been to see her 15 times in total, and this summer in Croke Park will be number 16.
I hope to meet her one day and tell her in person how she changed my life.
Aisling Keenan (28), deputy editor of STELLAR magazine, from Dublin
I have seen Beyoncé perform live 17 times. This weekend in Croke Park will be my 18th, and my second time in the BeyHive. I've spent more than I care to admit on merchandise, most recently on her Ivy Park athleisure range.
It goes without saying that I've bought (sometimes twice or three times) all of her albums, and have worn some out from too much listening. I make no secret of my obsession, clearly!
It's not what she wears, who she's married to, where she eats or her choice of costume that I'm mad about, it's 100pc the music. Her voice, the arrangements, her lyrics, the unreleased songs that become my favourites long after the overplayed 'Single Ladies' sort of songs feel tired.
Every time I had a life milestone, there was a Beyoncé album there for me to apply it to. When icons like Prince and Michael Jackson die, and their lifelong fans place flowers, cry and embrace each other, I don't scoff at their dramatics because I know that were that my musical icon, I'd be the exact same.
James Buchan (17) is a student from Dublin
In all honesty, I don't really remember when I first came across Beyoncé… she just seemed to always be a part of my life.
I think the moment I became such a fan was actually when I saw her in concert for the first time eight years ago with my mam Brid and my cousin Jane, and watching her perform live was so incredible it made me a lifelong member of the BeyHive. Beyoncé is a great source of inspiration for me, She works extremely hard, rehearsing for sometimes 16 hours in a day before a show and is absolutely dedicated to delivering for her fans.
My Beyoncé fandom seems to manifest in everyday life through many different means. To start, of course, daily listens to her music - particularly her new album. And when I'm out with friends or family and a Beyoncé song comes on, all eyes suddenly are focused on me and I guess I'm now associated with Beyoncé. It's an honour, I guess!
Niamh Cahill, 26, is a youth worker from Laois
I've been a fan of Beyoncé from the beginning. I followed her solo career the whole way through, but remember a specific time after suffering a brain injury hearing 'If I Were A Boy' on the radio and I was instantly hooked again. It was like re-engaging after what felt like a long time away.
I front-rowed it for the May 2013 tour, the first leg of the 'Mrs Carter Show World Tour'. Although no video evidence I can find, she walked by me at crowd level and sang part of 'Irreplaceable' to me, and I just had my hand on her shoulder. That really put my obsession into overdrive. Although our lives and characters are very far removed from one another, I always appreciate someone who does what they do well and I believe no one does it better than her. She is definitely one of the best entertainers of our time.