With a quarter of a billion viewers, 500,000 spectators on the ground and an entourage over 3,500- the Giro de’Italia could be worth millions to the Dundalk economy.
And while the town will see a massive cash boost during the race, the coverage of the race is likely to have knock-on effect to tourism for the North East, showcasing the region’s scenic beauty and many of its landmarks.
The Giro d’Italia will pass through Dundalk and Louth on May 11.
It will arrive in Louth from its start in Armagh via Keady, over Keady mountain, Newtownhamilton, Lislea, Longfield Rd, and into Louth on the Carrickasticken Road, on its journey past Forkhill, into Kilcurry and joining the R177 Armagh Road, onto Lisdoo and into Dundalk Town Centre.
Leaving Dundalk, it travels through Castlebellingham, Drogheda and on to Dublin
Pat O’Shaughnessy, who led the negotiations for Cuchulainn CC with Giro organisers Darach McQuaid of Shadetree Sports told the Democrat: “This is an amazing achievement for our Club to bring such an iconic race through Dundalk, and as a result of that, on through Louth . In particular, we are really excited about the Intermediate Sprint for the points as this will pitch the likes of Marcus Kittell, Mark Cavendish and the world’s top sprinters in a battle for the Red jersey to the streets of Dundalk.”
Pat explained the potential for the region’s tourism.
“An entourage of 3,500 people alone, made up of press and logistics travel with the race. Upwards of 500,000 spectators are expected from all over Ireland and England, Scotland and Wales for the duration of the race, so Dundalk can expect to tap into those figures, and in particular, because of the Intermediate Sprint.
“Dundalk is uniquely placed to watch a race of this magnitude with its recent refurbishment of the Market Square and the inclusion of the giant screen.
“The screen will play a huge part in building up the atmosphere with a live stream of the race as it approaches and then the fans can stay on in Dundalk and watch the remainder of the race as it heads on to its conclusion in Dublin.”
A Giro d’Italia team are expected to arrive in Dundalk in the near future and liaise with Shadetree Sports, Pat O’Shaughnessy and Frank Pentony on the Dundalk route and the inspection of its heritage sites, such as Cuchulainn Castle, which will be included in the film package and commentators’ text for global broadcast.
Pat said: “The uniqueness of this occasion pivots around the legend that is Cuchulainn. This is of even more significance now that Cuchulainn Cycling Club have successfully negotiated to bring the Giro dItalia to Dundalk and Co Louth, along with the County’s ‘Louth Land of Legends’ campaign which also has Cuchulainn as its figurehead.
“This will elevate the profile of the legend of Cuchulainn on a major international stage.”