You're the best fans in the world, 1D's Niall tells an adoring Croke Park crowd
"You're the best fans in the world, Niall Horan told a packed Croke Park tonight as One Direction played the first of three nights at the venue.
"I'm a boy from Mullingar playing in Croke Park, the national stadium. It's ridiculous! I wouldn't be here without you."
Even Liam was moved by the reception on the latest date of their world tour. "This has been my favourite night yet, don't tell anyone," he quipped. The fans went wild when the richest boys in pop history eventually arrived on stage shortly before 8.30pm.
After the fans had waited for hours in the rain, the boys were given a rousing Irish welcome for Niall's homecoming gig.
Spits of rain fell on the crowd minutes before they came on but the band were well protected by a small gazebo on stage over the drum kit.
The party really began when the quintet blasted out their hit song Midnight Memories for their first number of the night, complete with fireworks.
However, the main star of the show was undoubtedly Niall, who beamed from ear to ear looking out on the crowd as he played the guitar, receiving the biggest cheers of the night.
"This has been the best night of my life," he said. "Ireland, thank you so much, you are unbelievable. If you could see what we see right now... it's amazing."
Thousands of diehard fans have travelled from all around the world to see the world's biggest boyband perform their biggest ever Irish concert.
Nicole Garcia (16) travelled 9,000 miles from the Philippines just to see Niall Horan perform in his home country.
"I've never seen them perform before but I'd call myself their number one fan," Nicole explained.
"It took me days to get here from the Philippines but it's worth it to see Niall perform in Ireland."
Horan is the biggest draw for super fans as the Mullingar native made an emotional Croke Park performance.
His brother Greg and little nephew Theo, mother Maura and father Bobby are among the family members attending all three gigs in order to see their famous family member during a rare occasion on home soil.
The Horans aren't the only ones who travelled as fans made their way from as far as Japan to see One D.
Megu, Suzika, Nodoka and Azuza are all four pals who all travelled from Japan to see the band for the fourth time.
Meanwhile, concert organisers liaising with Gardai took all precautions to ensure the safety of the 80,000 fans in attendance.
Despite voting for local elections and One Direction chaos, delays were at a minimum as many motorists avoided the area.