Police in Dublin have foiled a dissident republican attempt to bomb the city center just hours before the Giro d’Italia, the world famous cycle race, hit town.

A newlywed couple and their wedding guests had to flee the exclusive Finnstown House hotel late on Saturday night when police apprehended the bomber in the car-park.

A milk churn packed with home-made explosives was discovered in the car and the driver arrested after a tip-off.

Detectives believe the man planned to drive the car to the city center from the West Dublin suburb.

The Irish Independent reports that anti-terrorist detectives are of the opinion that the car bomb, primed and ready to be detonated, may have been destined for the finish of the Giro d’Italia finish in Merrion Square which attracted hundreds of thousands of fans to the city center.

A source told the paper: “This was a deadly, full-size bomb which had been wired up and ready for imminent use. If it had gone off it would have caused total devastation.”

The report claims that dissident republicans are suspected of transporting the device from Belfast to Dublin in recent days.

The car was going to be moved from the Lucan car park to its intended target when police swooped and the device was made safe by an Army Bomb Squad. It would have caused carnage if it had exploded.

A security source claimed: “It cannot be ruled out that it may have been intended to disrupt the Giro d’Italia race. This would be a very dramatic escalation in the activities of dissident republicans.”

The Irish Independent adds that the bomb was fitted with a Timer Power Unit, a hallmark of all major IRA bombs.

The Dublin man who was later arrested has close links to the Real IRA.

Hundreds of guests at the wedding were left stranded outside the luxury Finnstown Country House Hotel overnight.

Hotel general manager Gavin Creaton confirmed to the paper that there was a ‘full house’ at the time the alarm was raised.

Creaton said: “We became aware of the device sometime after 10pm on Saturday night. We co-operated fully with the gardai (police) and had the entire hotel evacuated while the authorities dealt with the situation.”