That’s the ticket! Bessbrook man first in line for Giro tickets

April 28, 2014

As hundreds of people queued in Belfast City Centre last Thursday morning to get their hands on tickets for the upcoming Giro d’Italia opening ceremony in Belfast, one man was taking no chances at missing out on getting to the much-anticipated event.

Well known Bessbrook cyclist and charity fundraiser, Kevin Hillen, arrived at the Visit Belfast Centre at 4.45am on Thursday morning to claim his place as the first in line for the coveted tickets.

“I couldn’t believe I was the first in line!” Kevin told The Examiner,  “I never get number one in the queue for anything but when we arrived there was no-one there so I set up my seat, got some coffee and waited while chatting to passersby and security guards,” said Kevin.

“As the crowds gathered from around 8am, there were all creeds, all religions, talking together about the Giro and cycling. It was fantastic, a total buzz! People were so friendly and kind to us as we waited, bringing us coffee and snacks. I’ve never seen anything like the build up to the Giro d’Italia before.”

The freelance cyclist is a proud ambassador of his native south Armagh and believes the world class race coming to Northern Ireland and passing through south Armagh is exactly what the area needs to showcase it’s friendly people, hospitality and stunning landscapes.

According to Kevin, “The anticipation of the Giro has brought everybody together. It really is amazing the fun and banter strangers in Northern Ireland can have with each other and sometimes that’s not the reputation we have.

“In south Armagh too, communities are pulling out all the stops to welcome the Giro and promote their area.  All along the route is decked out for the Giro and these international cyclists are going to see some beautiful countryside as they pass through.  I’ll promote south Armagh to the end and the towns and villages that the Giro will pass through have done us all proud.”

The energetic cyclist and his 15 year old son will join 5,500 ticket holders for the Belfast City Hall opening ceremony event on Thursday 8th May where, Kevin says, he will proudly represent his native south Armagh.