Northern Ireland

Garth Brooks Irish concerts sell out within two hours

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Media captionTickets for the three dates at Croke Park in Dublin sold out within an hour

Tickets for three Garth Brooks concerts in Ireland have sold out within two hours.

Tickets went on sale at 09:00 GMT on Thursday for the American country star's gigs in Croke Park on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 July.

A short time later, a third date was announced for Sunday 27 July, which also sold out.

The concerts are taking place ahead of Brooks' world tour. He last played at Croke Park in 1997.

More than 200,000 tickets, costing 65 euros (£54) each, were up for grabs between the three Irish shows.

Image copyright Nicola weir
Image caption In Belfast, the fans were in good spirits as they waited at Castle Place

Many went online to buy tickets, but the sheer numbers of people queuing meant long waits.

A spokesman for Ticketmaster said there was no problem with the website, adding: "Thousands of people are queuing online. The demand is much higher than normal."

Other die-hard fans had been camping outside music shops across Ireland for days, braving the torrential downpours and biting winds.

Queues were reported outside outlets in Belfast, Dungannon, Cork, Limerick, Dundalk, Galway and Dublin.

In Belfast, the fans were in good spirits as they waited at Castle Place ahead of a city centre ticket outlet opening on Thursday.

Margaret, who had been queuing since Monday, was at the head of the queue. "I just love Garth Brooks. I grew up listening to his music and I think he is absolutely fantastic."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Brooks is due to play in Ireland later this year

Claire Callaghan and her fiance Simon Robinson intend to fit in a concert on the day between their wedding and their honeymoon in Portugal.

Simon said: "Friends and family are all going and Claire wants to go, big time. I really only listen to him because of her."

Image copyright Nicola weir
Image caption Claire Callaghan and her fiance, Simon Robinson, hope to go to a concert the day after they marry

Claire said his music was "brilliant" and the long wait was worth it.

One girl said she had been queuing since 06:00 GMT on Wednesday: "I will get a ticket. I have liked him since I was about 14 or 15."

Garth Brooks is one of America's most iconic country stars with a career that has seen him become one of the best-selling artists of all time.

He has sold more than 125m albums with hits such as The Thunder Rolls, Friends in Low Places and Unanswered Prayers.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Many people camped overnight to try to get tickets

Despite his huge success, Garth Brooks retired while at the peak of his career in 2001 to raise his children.

He then announced in 2009 that he would come of out of retirement and is now embarking on a world tour.

Mickey from Londonderry, who queued from 14:00 GMT on Wednesday, said: "It has been a long cold night, but God was on our side and Garth was looking down on us.

"Garth is the man. He's the one and only."

Image caption Crowds camped out on Foyle Street in Derry as early as 07:00 GMT on Wednesday

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