You might be leaving Galway and the west by ferry, by bicycle, by bus or on shank’s mare, but if you’re heading for Edinburgh, then you’re in for one hell of a treat come the weekend, because the city is preparing to welcome all the Connacht Rugby fans in their tens of thousands as they travel to the city to cheer on the boys in green.
Scotland is preparing to welcome thousands of Irish rugby fans this week ahead of the highly anticipated Guinness PRO12 final, taking place at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 28 May. Edinburgh is set to welcome over 30,000 fans to the capital including supporters from all twelve competing clubs across Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
For the first time, the highly anticipated event will be held outside of Ireland and, with both Leinster and Connacht securing a place in the final, thousands of Irish rugby fans are expected to make the short trip to Edinburgh at the weekend to support their trophy bid.
Home of Scottish rugby, Edinburgh is well known as an inspiring host city for sports, arts and cultural events and will stage a festival of rugby where fans will enjoy a memorable final and a great weekend in Edinburgh.
VisitScotland has issued special checklist of important travel information and tips for Irish fans planning to travel to BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh this weekend:
· Get your tickets: Tickets for the Guinness PRO12 final are selling fast. With a record number of visitors expected this year, don’t be disappointed - book your seat now at www.pro12rugby.com
· Getting there: Edinburgh, the home of Scottish rugby, and nearby Glasgow are only a short flight away with routes from local airports Dublin, Knock, Shannon, Cork, Derry and Belfast City. Additional easy access routes to Scotland include short ferry trips from Belfast to Cairnryan and Larne to Cairnryan. For more information on trips to Scotland, visit http://www.visitscotland.com
· Somewhere to stay: Accommodation in Edinburgh is anticipated to sell out ahead of the final. Just over one hour away by train, nearby Glasgow is easily accessible and offers an alternative accommodation option. For room availability, visit https://www.visitscotland.com/accommodation/.
· Soak up the atmosphere: For a great atmosphere and to catch the action on the big screen, VisitScotland has compiled a list of the best bars in Edinburgh to visit:
— The Cask and Barrell: Based on trendy, bohemian Broughton Street and only a short walk away from the centre of Edinburgh, this traditional Scottish pub is bursting with atmosphere and popular with the locals.
— The Bailie: In the upmarket Stockbridge, surrounded by local cafes, shops and a buzzing market on Sundays, is The Bailie. A popular local pub for sports and live music, this friendly pub also serves food and is conveniently located near bus routes.
— The Three Sisters: Offering a huge courtyard, with outdoor bars, food stalls and a monster 2000" big screen, The Three Sisters is a big hit during the summer months.
— The Cambridge Bar: Famous for its gourmet burgers, the centrally located Cambridge Bar offers a big screen projector when major fixtures are on, making it the perfect place to enjoy the rugby and great local food and beer.
Breakfast of champions: Fans celebrating the final can refuel with a traditional hearty Scottish breakfast at top spots including:
— Treacle: For something close to the centre of Edinburgh, try the quirky Treacle. By night a cocktail bar and by day a restaurant, Treacle offers hearty breakfasts until 4pm on weekends.
— The Pantry: Situated in the lively area of Stockbridge, The Pantry is a popular breakfast destination, offering great local food, it’s also only a stone’s throw away from The Bailie pub and a wealth of local cafes and shops.
— The Blue Bear: Tucked away on a street frequented by locals but rarely discovered by tourists is The Blue Bear. An independent café offering top notch breakfasts made using local produce.
— The Roseleaf: Down by The Shore you’ll find the famous Roseleaf bar, which offers the ‘Big Yin’ breakfast; the ideal way to get ready for a full on day of cheering!
— Urban Angel: Based right in the centre of Edinburgh Urban Angel serves up a wide range of all day brunch options. Get there early as the Edinburgh locals love it and it gets busy fast at peak times!
Make it a family affair: If you’re taking the family next weekend, there are a host of things to see and do to keep the kids entertained. Check out ‘Imaginate: Scotland’s International Festival of Performing Arts for Children’. http://www.imaginate.org.uk/festival/
Something for everyone: Edinburgh is bursting with things to see and do. From soaking up the history of the capital city at Edinburgh Castle to taking in the sights of the famous Royal Mile, Edinburgh offers something for everyone. For inspiration and to plan your itinerary, visit https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/itineraries/