‘It’s like a cult’: Fans buzzing ahead of Taylor Swift’s Dublin gigs

Fans flocked to a stadium in Dublin on Thursday to buy Taylor Swift merchandise ahead of three sold-out gigs.

The US pop sensation will play three sold-out gigs at the Aviva Stadium this weekend.

Some young Swifties pulled on their new jumpers and hoodies as soon as they bought them from a merchandise stand in the 3Arena.

Some speculated about what songs she would play as part of her set list, and one girl wondered if she would use some Irish words on stage.

Eilis Brown from Dublin went to pick up merchandise for her two granddaughters, who live in Galway, Ava, 14 and Holly, 16.

The hands and arms of two young girls holding friendship bracelets
Nyla Dempster and Sophie Hyland from Belfast play with their friendship bracelets (Grainne Ni Aodha/PA)

The two have been thinking about their outfits since last July and spent a day making friendship bracelets.

Asked why she thinks Swift is so popular, she said: “She’s great, she’s a very good woman. Look at the way she took on Spotify, she’s brilliant.

“These girls, going in and out to school in their daddy’s car and coming up and down to Dublin, all they listen to is Taylor Swift.”

Nyla Dempster and Sophie Hyland, from Belfast, separated the friendship bracelets they had made outside the 3Arena.

Sophie said: “Her songs are good, she makes good albums, and they all fit together and they’re easy to make up dances to. Like Love Story, you could make up a duet with Love Story.

“It makes me feel good and something that I can listen to all the time.”

Two women stand in front of iron railings
Katie Jackson and Rebecca Seeejko from London flew to Dublin to see Taylor Swift after missing out on tickets to her UK tour (PA)

Nyla said: “I like it because you can really dance to it. My favourite one is Getaway Car.”

Katie Jackson and Rebecca Serejko, who flew from London to see Swift perform in Dublin, said they had seen her live 10 years ago.

They tried to buy tickets to see her in London and Edinburgh before getting tickets in Dublin – and even took the day off work to secure them.

“She’s a brilliant performer,” Ms Serejko said.

“I like that she’s got music for every kind of mood that you’re in,” Ms Jackson said.

“You want to have a bit of an angsty day, you want to have a little jump around the house, it’s really fun, there’s also something really satisfying that she’s a woman doing it and beating everyone else.

“So it’s also nice to listen to it and say ‘yeah, go for it’.”

A woman standing in front of iron railings holds up two bags of merchandise
Alexis Stolarun, from the US, bought Taylor Swift merchandise ahead of the three Dublin shows (Grainne Ni Aodha/PA)

Alexis Stolarun, from Connecticut in the US, said she is going to go to the gig on Saturday and Sunday.

“I think it’s just easier to listen to and everything can relate to her music, and there’s all different styles as well.

“It’s just really exciting, she’s just a great performer and just a really fun concert.

“I think people think that you’re crazy if you talk about it too much. It’s a fine line between how much do you share with people and she just gets a lot of hatred for no reason.”

Amy from Co Meath bought crew neck jumpers, half-zip jumpers and hoodies for four people.

“I’ve seen her here in the 3Arena before, for 1989, and I’ve seen her in Croke Park for Reputation, so this will be my third time to see her,” she said.

A woman stands in front of iron railings with carrier bags of merchandiseTour
Amy from Co Meath, picked up Taylor Swift merchandise for four people (Grainne Ni Aodha/PA)

“We’re so excited, it’s like a cult. We’ve been watching The Eras Tour online for months. And there’s loads of people from different countries in the 3Arena who have travelled to see her for the second time, third time.

“It’s the community, and the friendship bracelets, like the hours we’ve put in making the bracelets at home.”

Asked if she has to explain the fandom to people, she said: “I think people think we’re a bit too old for it because we’re in our 20s, but you know what, we’ve seen her through all the Eras, we’ve grown up with her music, so we feel like we’re the real fans.”

Erin Delgehausen from Arizona, in the US, and Kylee Baldwin from Ohio, in the US, said they saw her perform in the States and decided to see her abroad, both choosing Dublin as an option.

Ms Baldwin said she has been a fan since she was nine, when Should’ve Said No was released in 2006.

Ms Delgehausen said she became a Swiftie after seeing the opening night of the Eras Tour in Phoenix, in the US.

Friendship bracelets on a young girl's arm
A Taylor Swift fan shows off her friendship bracelets in Dublin (Grainne Ni Aodha/PA)

“It was a transformational experience. Everyone makes fun of me and teases me about it, but I went in and came out a different person. So I’ve listened to nothing but her music non-stop since that night.

“I’ve been to one show, but I’ve watched every live stream on my phone since opening night.”

She said: “She is every person. She has found a way to connect with everyone’s experiences universally, no matter your age, and she is just amazingly connected to her fanbase and just understands what it’s like to be a woman and exist in the world.

“She’s managed to connect to people across all ages in a way that I’ve never seen with anyone else before.”

Lamar, a medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, said Swift’s music, lyrics and artistry are what she loves.

“I’m very excited to see everything,” she said.

“We were awake early, I think we had like four or five different laptops open, we managed to get into the queue quicky, we were happy we didn’t miss it.”

She added: “I grew up listening to Taylor, since I was a kid her music was so prominent and then as I grew older her music resonated, at every stage of my life it felt like her songs were there and were so meaningful and then the fan base is really good.”