Saturday 20 January 2018

Adventure begins as Green Army arrive in France by land, sea and air

Conor Fox, Conor McGlynn and Colm McSharry at Dublin Airport before flying to France yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren
Conor Fox, Conor McGlynn and Colm McSharry at Dublin Airport before flying to France yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren

Ralph Riegel and Wayne O'Connor

The Green Army have begun their invasion of France - and Paris hasn't seen anything like it since the glory days of Napoleon.

More than 50,000 Irish fans began the odyssey to Euro 2016 by plane, ferry, campervan and even Harley-Davidson.

Parisian airports - including Charles de Gaulle, Beauvais, Orly and even Le Bourget - echoed to the sounds of 'Olé, Olé, Olé' as Irish fans got into full voice for the championships.

The fanzone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, dominated for the past two days by France's red, white and blue colours, last night began to assume patches of proud Irish green.

"You can tell all the old timers, not by their grey hair or bald heads, but because they insist on squeezing into old Irish jerseys with the Opel logo that are now two sizes too small for them," joked Sean Murphy from Cork.

Aer Lingus, Ryanair and CityJet reported record bookings to France - while both Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries reported bumper business as Irish fans combined attendance at the matches with French family holidays. Disneyland Paris is understood to have registered a near 30pc increase in its number of Irish holidaymakers this summer.

Daniel English, Vivienne Kelly and Paul Singleton at the airport: Photo: Colin Keegan
Daniel English, Vivienne Kelly and Paul Singleton at the airport: Photo: Colin Keegan

Former Paris police chief Frederic Gallois urged Irish fans, and those from the other 23 nations, to enjoy French hospitality but to also be mindful of security.

Barry Shanahan, from Midleton in Cork, arrived in Paris yesterday evening with his wife Geraldine with tickets for every game up to the round of 16. "I've been looking forward to it for a bit now and saving up. I'd like to say thanks to all the lads at work for taking so many holidays to give me overtime," he said.

Andy Bennett, Brian Cullen, Aidan McGuinness, Kevin Johnson and Eoin O’Donoghue, all from Dublin, with an old double-decker bus that they revamped for their Euro 2016 adventure. Photo: PA
Andy Bennett, Brian Cullen, Aidan McGuinness, Kevin Johnson and Eoin O’Donoghue, all from Dublin, with an old double-decker bus that they revamped for their Euro 2016 adventure. Photo: PA
Inside of the old double-decker bus. Photo: PA
Inside of the old double-decker bus. Photo: PA

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News