We thought tomorrow would never come but it’s getting closer – and it will soon be time to dust off the stetsons and cowboy boots for Garth Brooks’ fabled five-nighter at Croke Park.
But Northern Ireland fans eagerly awaiting his first visit in 24 years who are without a hotel booked – or friends near Croker offering them a bed for the night – are in for a fright.
Rocketing hotel prices when mega stars come to town are nothing new.
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But with beds already costing a fortune on a regular week night in Dublin, how much can gig-goers expect to shell out for a hooley and a hook to hang their hat after one of the biggest gigs of the year?
As far back as January, Garth fans were in a tizzy. One poor girl from Cork was on Tripadvisor looking for a bed eight months before the country crooner was due to touch down in Ireland for his only European shows this year.
She’d been quoted a jaw-dropping €800 (and the rest) for a couple of nights in Dublin.
Back then, one helpful user advised: “Try find a hotel on the outskirts and then use public transport or taxi – the area around Dublin Airport would be the best due to the number of low cost rooms available for travellers.”
Now, many hotels near Dublin Airport, like the Travelodge and the Holiday Inn, are booked up with Ukrainian refugees.
We found a twin room at the Travelodge Dublin Airport North in Swords for €318, but with taxis rarer than hens’ teeth most nights, the outskirts are far from ideal – unless you plan to hike it home.
We chanced finding a room somewhere near the action, a few kilometres around Croke Park. Unsurprisingly, the Croke Park Hotel was booked out long ago for Garth’s gigs on September 9, 10, 11, 16 and 17 – his last-ever stadium concerts.
Word of warning: if you’re planning to go and haven’t a bed booked yet, you may need a lie-down…
First, we tried the Airbnbs in the area.
We found one offer of a bedroom in a cottage that’s walking distance to Croker.
The room has 12ft ceilings, but who cares as you won’t be jumping for joy when the price is revealed. It’s €270 plus €47 service fee – so €317 for the Friday night.
There’s no telly in the gaff, but the owner says: “There’s a lovely jungle feel outdoor garden for smokers and pets.” Oh, and “laundry can be organised for a fee”.
Meanwhile, a bedroom in a second-floor flat a few minutes’ walk from the stadium, between Fairview and Drumcondra, is on offer for €376. There’s no telly but you can help yourself to herbs and spices in the press says the ad.
If there’s a crew, one Glasnevin homeowner is offering a six-bedroom gaff where there are lots of beds to sleep 15 party-goers. That’s €1,500 for Garth’s first night in town.
In Kilmainham there’s a “Garden House” at the end of a back garden where four beds in two rooms will set you back €600, plus a €104 fee, for four.
On O’Connell Street, one advertiser describes his small one-bed as a “rare find” but two concert-goers will pay €657 for the Friday night. Imagine, if you could stick around for the month, it would set you back a mere €20,000...
If you’re on a budget and don’t mind sharing a small bedroom, there’s a single bed up for grabs over in Castleknock for €76 – that’s the cheapest Airbnb option we found in Dublin.
Sounds gas craic altogether.
Jacob’s Inn on Talbot Place – a purpose-built hostel with modern “pod” beds is another option.
For just the one bed in a 10-pod mixed dormitory, it’s €210-€226 for the night. Bring a towel though, as to rent one will cost you another €2.
Among the cheapest we could find was Leevin Hostel, Mountjoy, where it’s €84 a head for a bunk in a female room with seven other randomers.
And the same venue will set you back €98 apiece for a bunk bed in a six-bed female or male-only dorm.
The one-star Gate Hotel on Parnell Street wants €430 for two people for the night without brekkie, while the 3-star Blooms Hotel is €525 for two.
If you’re flush, there’s a basic “Premier” room for two people with breakfast available at The Marker Hotel for €734 for the night.
We found a four-berth camper from Retro Camper Hire, which can be parked up at the Bluebell Industrial Estate for the night and will set you and three pals back €260.
Gig-goers hell-bent on saving a few quid could get creative and book a room in Belfast. We found 10 rooms there on AirBnB for under €50. If you get out of Croker for 10.30pm, hop on the 16 bus to Dublin Airport, the X1 will take you to Belfast from £8.50 (€10) each way, arriving in at 1.20am, when everyone else will probably still be trying to hail a taxi along the quays.
There’s coach companies ferrying fans across the border, but make sure they’re still running.
But the real winners are the 600-800 who booked at Camac Valley Tourist Caravan & Camping Park in Clondalkin months ago.
They’re paying €26 for a tent pitch or €42 for all the bells and whistles of a serviced pitch, with buses ferrying to and from the stadium for around a tenner a head.
Owners Vincent and Ellen Keogh never adjust pricing for big events.
Vincent told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “We want our visitors to have a good time, not go home with a bad taste in their mouths. People booked in with us the minute he announced he was playing Dublin.”
And Vincent and Ellen let us in on a secret – there’s still limited availability for September 16 and 17.
*The Irish Sunday Mirror used Booking.com, Trivago and AirBnB for the searches
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