mullingar lads

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As the gig rolls on, and dancing warms young bodies and the queues for hotdogs lengthen, you can say what you want about the cynical music industry, but with his family watching and the crowd occasionally singing “Ole, Ole, Ole”, observing tens of thousands applaud a young lad from Mullingar on a colossal stage realising his dreams is incredibly touching.

Teenage fans give One Direction a screaming welcome in Dublin

The best part of a quarter of a million fans, five young men on stage, a gig so big it had an app. One Direction’s hits mightn’t be familiar to those who know longer mark their musical affinities on their pencil case, but superlatives can’t cover the pulling power of this boy band worth around €75 million. This weekend, a phenomenon owns Dublin.

It was a homecoming for Niall Horan, the 20-year-old from Mullingar who warmed up for the gig with a casual chat on 2fm about going for a couple of pints in his local the previous evening only to find the kebab shop shut after last orders. Horan’s mother hadn’t seen him since Christmas.

One Direction are now so popular, (another tour in Australia, Asia, South Africa and Dubai has just been announced for 2015) their tour stops sound like those of a travelling sports team; the Rose Bowl, Stade De France, Wembley. But it doesn’t get any bigger than Croker, a historical point for the band given that this is the biggest crowd they’ve ever played to.

As the crowds streamed in — a lesson in event organising and stewarding by the way — there are a few “repurposed” election posters used as signs expressing adoration for One Direction members, and ads for One Direction’s fragrance on the giant screens. The band opens with Midnight Memories backed by an entire warehouse worth of fireworks, a spectacle only eclipsed by the volume of screams.

Horan, wearing a green sleeved t-shirt, appears overwhelmed, guitar in hand, kicking out the jams. The roars are amplified every time he appears in shot. The cold turns up everyone’s hoodies in the crowd. It has to be said, the songs themselves play second fiddle to the spectacle. This is about young girls seeing their bedroom poster idols in the flesh, and the merch sellers of hats, flags, shirts, and everything else you could imagine will make a killing this weekend.

As the gig rolls on, and dancing warms young bodies and the queues for hotdogs lengthen, you can say what you want about the cynical music industry, but with his family watching and the crowd occasionally singing “Ole, Ole, Ole”, observing tens of thousands applaud a young lad from Mullingar on a colossal stage realising his dreams is incredibly touching.