Event to become annual show in Dublin
THIS weekend's showcase of some of the world's fastest race cars through the streets of the capital is set to become an annual June bank holiday attraction.
Organisers of the inaugural Bavaria City Racing Dublin event, which is expected to draw 100,000 spectators on Sunday, plan to stage the event over the next three years on a trial basis. And if all goes well, it will then become an annual event, a spokesman confirmed last night.
The free spectacle features more than 70 race cars -- including Formula One sportscars, World Rally Championship race cars, super bikes and a monster stunt mania team -- among other attractions.
They will wind their way along a 2.6-km track from North Wall Quay past the Customs House and College Green before reaching the chequered flag on O'Connell Bridge.
The five-hour event, which kicks off at noon, also features some of the world's leading drivers, including Formula One star Jenson Button, who is expected to be one of the main attractions at a VIP knees-up at celebrity haunt Krystle on Sunday night.
There are still a limited number of tickets available for the VIP grandstands in front of the Custom House and outside the Dublin Convention Centre for a cost of €75 and €164 respectively.
However, all tickets for the O'Connell Bridge and Aston Quay grandstands are sold out.
The event, however, will lead to severe traffic restrictions throughout the day, although pedestrians will be able to cross the Liffey over five purpose-built walkways.
The Tara Street DART station will remain closed on Sunday until 7pm to facilitate the race. However, Irish Rail said it is laying on extra trains on its Dublin-Maynooth commuter line as well as extra DART trains in order to accommodate people attending the Leinster senior football quarter-final match at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.
Dublin Bus is also advising passengers that diversions will be in place on Sunday, as well as on Monday for the Dublin Flora Women's Mini Marathon.
Passengers are advised to allow extra time to reach their destinations and consult the Dublin Bus website for a list of diversions.
The Luas will be operating normally over the weekend and additional trams may also be added to accommodate the large numbers of people expected to attend the Bloom Festival at Phoenix Park. The streets of the capital will also come to a brief standstill on Saturday, when the Dublin Fire Brigade hosts a parade through the city centre starting at 6pm at Parnell Square North, up O'Connell Street and Dame Street before finishing at Dublin Castle.
Gardai are advising visitors to take public transport over the weekend to avoid congestion. A free shuttle bus will be available to take people to and from Heuston Station.
There is also plenty going on this weekend for arts and literature lovers. The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham will be hosting the annual Forbidden Fruit Festival running from today through Monday.
American singer-songwriter Josh Ritter will also be on hand to open the annual Dublin Writers' Festival on Monday, which runs until June 10 at various venues across the city.
He will give a reading and musical performance at 3pm at Liberty Hall. The festival features 51 international writers and Irish writers, including The Pogues founder James Fearnley, who will be discussing his memoir 'Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues'.
Meanwhile, Tom Coffey, CEO of the Dublin City Business Association, last night welcomed the plethora of events taking part in the city centre this weekend.
Despite traffic restrictions, all 22 shopping centre car parks will be open and it will be business as usual for city centre retailers, pubs and restaurants, he said.
While some retailers will be affected by traffic diversions, most businesses are looking forward to huge numbers of people coming into town, he added.
Tim Fenn, CEO of the Irish Hotels Federation, said hoteliers and restaurateurs are also expecting brisk business this weekend, although hotel rooms and restaurant bookings are still available at most venues.