40,000 fans will bring city to a halt tonight as they hail Dubs
TENS of thousands of victorious Dublin fans will pour on to the streets of the capital tonight to hail their conquering heroes.
An extensive traffic operation has been put in place as the city parties following Dublin's stunning All-Ireland victory over Kerry.
The event will give supporters a chance to congratulate the team who will have the Sam Maguire Cup on view.
Parking and traffic restrictions have been imposed near Merrion Square where as many as 40,000 Dubs will descend tonight.
Dublin City Council said it promised to be the biggest event of its kind ever staged in the capital.
"We may very well get the 40,000. It's 16 years since Dublin got there so there's every chance that we will get the 40," spokesman Alan Breen told the Herald.
Between 10,000 and 13,000 fans attended the rugby homecoming on Dawson Street in 2009 for the Grand Slam winning team.
"That was huge. There could be three times that so we're looking at a massive gathering of people," Mr Breen said.
"All of the logistics were already put in place. Once Dublin had won, and thankfully they did, it was just a question of putting all of the plans in place."
The event, which is to be compered by RTE sports presenter Des Cahill, has been organised by the council, the Dublin County Board and Pearse Street Garda Station.
A large stage will be in place at the junction of Merrion Square East and Mount Street Upper in Merrion Square for the alcohol-free celebration, which will start at 7pm.
Fans have been asked to start arriving at 6pm and to use public transport.
However, restrictions were in place from 7am today on Merrion Square South, Merrion Square East, Fitzwilliam Street lower and Mount Street upper.
The streets were closed to traffic from 10am and the controls will not be lifted until after the event.
Pedestrians have been urged to enter from Merrion Square East, Merrion Square South or from Fitzwilliam Street lower and access was only being allowed after 6pm.
However, Dublin City Council has had to disappoint fans who were hoping to line the streets for an open-top bus tour with the trophy.
The council said the logistical problems of staging such an event at this stage were too big.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague and the Dublin County Board of the GAA are hosting tonight's bash.
"It is a day that will go down in Dublin's GAA history due to the heroic efforts of this year's team," said Mr Montague.