Thousands hit the road for weekend

Fri, May 2, 2008, 01:00

The great getaway has begun with thousands of people taking to the roads in order to make the most of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

The AA has advised motorists to exercise caution as there will be extra traffic and the possibility of heavy rain showers today.

The bulk of traffic typically travels from the east coast to the south and west of the country on Bank Holiday weekends,” said Ronan Gilligan of AA Roadwatch.

“The N8 Dublin/Cork Road will carry heavy volumes of traffic from Dublin as there is plenty happening in Counties Cork, Kerry and Kilkenny. Delays are also to be expected at Abbeyleix, Durrow and Urlingford” he added.

The weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year and Dublin airport is expecting to see more than 270,000 passengers pass through its doors between tomorrow and Monday. More than 2,300 flights will arrive and depart during the three days, including 180 charter holiday flight.

Whether you’re staying home or hitting the road there’s something for everyone this weekend.

In Dublin, the Heineken Green Energy Festival gets under way with appearances from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Soulwax and The Kooks. Further up the road is the Drogheda Arts Festival which features Cathy Davey, Delorentos and a rare performance from Michael Nyman and his band.

The always popular Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival kicks off tonight with a great line-up that includes Tift Merritt, Chuck Prophet and Chatham County Line and as if that weren’t enough music to contend with there’s also Ballyvaughney’s annual Aonach Ceoil in Co Cork which features Vinnie Kilduff, Iarla O’Lionaird and Jackie Daly.

Jazz fans are also in for a treat with the Bray Jazz Festival, the Ballydehob International Jazz Festival in Co Cork and the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival all taking place over the next few days.

Other events taking place around the country over the weekend included, rugby at the Galway Sports Ground and RDS, GAA under 21’s football in Thurles, horse racing at Dundalk, Cork, Gowran Park, Sligo and the Curragh.

Racing at Kilbeggan race course on Saturday is expected to attract a large crowd, which will bring extra traffic onto the N6 Dublin/Galway Road and the N52 Mullingar/Tullamore Road. Gardai are advising those not attending the races at Kilbeggan, to avoid the area between 4:30pm and 6pm and then from 8pm to 9pm.

More than 14,000 people are expected to take part in the Belfast City Marathon on Monday. While the majority of roads will remain open throughout the event, the area around City Hall will be closed to through traffic from approximately 8.30am to 9.30am. Disruption can be expected along the Albertbridge Rd, Holywood Rd and Sydenham Rd until shortly after 10am.

Some of the other potential black spots to watch out for this weekend include the N2 via Monaghan and the N3 through Dunshaughlin, Kells and on to Cavan. Monday afternoon will see eastbound routes very congested as people return for work on Tuesday morning.

Met Éireann predicts that it will be typical Bank Holiday weather this weekend with scattered showers and moderate winds for most areas today.

Tomorrow will be largely cloudy across Ireland with outbreaks of rain while Sunday will begin with outbreaks of rain and drizzle although it is expected to brighten up as the day progresses. Meanwhile, Monday promises warmer weather and sunshine with temperatures next week forecast to reach into the low twenties in places.