Ironman Weekend – Plan Your Journey and Allow for Extra Time

By Seamus Whelehan

Competitor, Ciarán O'Callagan, from Cork Co. Council puttiing in some last minute training watched by (from left) Tim Lucy, Chief Executive, Cork Co. Co.; Clr. Mary Linehan Foley, Deputising for the Mayor of the County of Cork and Sean O'Callaghan, Cork Co Co. at Claycastle in Youghal, Co. Cork where the Ironman Ireland Triathlon takes place this coming weekend on June 23. Pic: Brian Lougheed

Some still fret about disruption as thousands of runners and riders are set to race through the majority of East Cork this weekend.  There are lingering worries about the disruption, as over 2,000 runners and riders set out to participate in Ireland’s first full Ironman this Sunday.

East Cork Municipal Chairwoman, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, says that while there may be some short term pain, the long-term benefits for Youghal and the greater East Cork are immense.   “This is going to be the biggest thing to hit Youghal since Moby Dick in 1954, the benefits of which will last long into our lifetimes.”

The Youghal based Cllr was speaking as Gardaí released details of road closures for Ireland’s first full Ironman this weekend.   “This will be for the long-term benefit of our area, especially Youghal and hinterland. For tourism reasons we need to put Youghal back on the map” she said.

Like Cllr Linehan Foley, Gardaí are encouraging people to forward plan ahead of this weekend’s event, taking place on Sunday 23 June.    2,300 Extreme athletes are set to take to the roads, as a result of which East Cork is expected to be much busier than usual.

A number of road closures have been implemented, as large numbers of spectators are expected to line the route.   Senior Gardaí say the N25, the County’s main artery East, will remain open at all times with competitors going over or under the National road.   As many as 10,000 supporters are due in Youghal on Sunday, with many more expected to view the survival challenge along the route which cuts through Youghal, Ballymacoda, Knockadoon, Garryvoe, Shanagarry, Ballycotton, Cloyne, Whitegate, Aghada, Saleen, Ballinacurra, Midleton, Dungourney, Mount Uniacke and Inch.   Some roads will reopen as the event progresses, but general road closures will be in place from 5.30am on Sunday 23rd June to 12 midnight.   There will be further localised roads closed in Youghal, with a stop go system on Saturday 22nd and Monday 24th June.

Parking in the seaside town will be available at Youghal Rugby Club at a cost of €5. A shuttle bus service will run from there.  Parking in Midleton and other routes along the cycle route will be in public car parks from where spectators can walk to the route. Signs have been posted all along the race route and there will be a towing operation in place for any vehicle which is parked on the route.  Speaking at Midleton Garda Station on Monday, Superintendent Adrian Gamble said "This is the first ever official Ironman to take place in Ireland, and we are delighted to have the event in Cork. Some 2,300 participants are set to take part and we expect in the region of 10,000 people to be in attendance. To facilitate the Ironman, there will be road closures throughout East Cork. If you are living in the area, please go to the Garda Website to see the full Traffic Management Plan. There are a number of crossing points on the route so most residents will be able to come and go, but there will be delays. If you are unsure about being able to drive to and from your home, please contact the event organisers or Gardaí in Midleton.”

Ironman is one of the world’s most challenging and physically demanding single day sporting events.    The extreme sporting challenge is held annually and comprises of 3.8km swim, 180.25km cycle and 42.2km and attracts over 200,000 athletes worldwide.   Gardaí have advised that journey times may be extended due to the closures, and are instructing the motoring public to be fully aware before setting off.

”Whilst there are a number of crossing points along the route, residents should be aware that during the race you may not be able to drive to and from your home. We would recommend that you check if your home is on race route and, if so, park your car where it can be accessed” they say.