WESTLIFE, IMELDA May and Jedward, along with actors Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea and Gabriel Byrne, will warm up the crowd at Monday’s public event for US president Barack Obama at College Green.
Sporting stars Padraig Harrington, Robbie Keane and Brian O’Driscoll are expected to make appearances, as are Sharon Shannon, Mundy, the Coronas, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, soprano Celine Byrne and Co Monaghan songwriter Ryan Sheridan. The event, described by the Government as a “public celebration”, was planned to last 90 minutes, but may be shortened. Some acts may be dropped.
Mr Obama is scheduled to arrive back from his visit to Moneygall, Co Offaly, during the performance, and will be introduced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. He will be accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, but the couple’s children, Malia and Sasha, are not attending as they are in school.
The event is open to the public and is free. Tickets will not be required. People have been advised to go early – security gates open at 2pm, three hours before entertainment starts.
The public should enter the security gates at the intersection of Parliament Street and Dame Street in front of Dublin Castle. They will have to arrive from the west or north as other access routes will be blocked. Adjoining streets will be blocked and car parking severely restricted.
Signs, banners, food and beverages will not be allowed, though cameras and mobile phones will be.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton is scheduled to meet Mr Obama when he travels on to London on Tuesday.
A US diplomatic source said the visit, which includes his family homestead in Moneygall, was primarily a personal journey: “He knows plenty about his Kenyan side; now he’s anxious to know about the Irish side of his family”.
The visit will cause some air traffic disruption next week, mainly when Mr Obama arrives at Dublin airport on Monday morning and departs on Tuesday morning.
The Irish Aviation Authority said other air traffic would be suspended for about half an hour on each day.
It isn’t clear how many people will attend the College Green event, but the venue was chosen because it could accommodate crowds of varying size. Signposts, street lamps and other street furniture were being removed yesterday for the event.
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