Signalling the end of an era, the final performance of the Opera Festival in the old Theatre Royal took place on 6th November 2005, and the building was cleared for demolition the following week. Three days after the archaeologist’s team vacated the site, it was handed over to the building contractor, Cleary Doyle Contracting, in July 2006. The building was completed on schedule within two years and handed over on 1st August 2008. The OPW continued to be involved, mainly through its Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) section of Engineering Services, in commissioning the complex installations over the next few months. In early September 2008, Wexford Festival Opera’s performers, directors, designers and technical teams arrived to begin rehearsals for the 2008 Festival.