'Welcome to Hell', read the infamous banner that greeted Manchester United players to Istanbul for a turbulent European Champions League game against Turkish side Galatasaray some years ago. A banner containing a similar sentiment wouldn't have been out of place at the gates of the red car park at the Oxegen festival in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The call came at 1.50am. Thirty-six hours of breakfast bars, crisps, Bimbo's burgers and beer had taken its toll. My teenage daughter couldn't face sleeping in a sodden mucky field on the second night of the three-day music festival, and needed rescue.
I arrived at Punchestown at 3am and was encouraged to find that the approaches to the gig were well policed by a massive army of very courteous stewards and all seemed fine. That confidence quickly disappeared at the gate to the grounds when I came across a young Dub who demanded to be searched on his way out of the gig.
"Search me on the inside," he shouted to the bemused security staff. "I'm f***in' pink on the inside ... We're all f***in' pink on the inside," he slurred as he tried to hug me while passing.
As I waited in the 'camper van section' for my daughter and her friend, who were at that stage lost, I amused myself by reading the logos on the sides of some of the hundreds of 'camper vans' parked just inside the gate.
Winnebago heaven this was not. White transit vans from every county in Ireland seem to have been hijacked for the weekend and had become temporary homes for hundreds of displaced youths who were bedding down in the back amid the tools.
Don't worry, Mr Thornton's Meats from somewhere in the North. Your 'camper van' is in the very safe hands of at least eight responsible young ravers who were doing their best to get the ninth raver to refrain from dancing on the roof and puking all over your windscreen.
Muck, urine and vomit were the dominant motifs in the portions of red campsite I saw. Youngsters – admission age is 17 – partied late. Their tents were sodden but their spirits were high. Many appeared to be psychedelically enhanced. They were having the time of their lives, but the reality was every parents' nightmare – down, dirty and drunken.