The visit of Pope Francis next month is the largest event in Ireland since John Paul II’s historic trip in 1979, according to Gardaí. Authorities today (Thursday) announced that all public transport in Dublin will be free on Sunday August 26 when the Pope is due to celebrate Mass before more than 500,000 people in Phoenix Park. Translink will also be offering dedicated services to bring pilgrims from the North to Dublin for the historic papal visit.
Dublin Bus have created seven dedicated Papal transport hubs which will drop pilgrims in close proximity to the gates of the park. Almost 1,000 Dublin Buses will be available to get people to and from the Mass and over 400,000 journeys will be provided. Gardaí warned that people should leave their cars at home and plan on taking public transport as there will be no parking near any of the venues.
Garda Superintendent Thomas Murphy said: “this is the largest event Ireland has organised in nearly 40 years. It simply will not be possible to accommodate all the people who have indicated they want to travel by car to the Mass. Therefore, we are urging people to go by train, bus, coach or Luas to this event.
“While walking is inevitable, you will be minimising your walk to and from the event by taking public transport or private coaches,” Superintendent Murphy said.
Tim Gaston Director of Public Transport Services with the National Transport Authority (NTA) insisted that the agency has put in place a robust transport plan to cater for everyone attending the event from across the island, including those travelling from Northern Ireland.
“Every bus, train and tram is being used for this event and for the safety of the travelling public if you have a ticket for the Phoenix Park, you will be allowed to travel for free within Dublin on the day of the event,” Mr Gaston said.
Each operator Iarnrod Éireann, Dublin Bus, Luas, Bus Éireann and Go-Ahead will commence services from early morning especially for those travelling from outside of Dublin. The NTA said it is working closely with Translink in Northern Ireland and they are providing special rail and bus transport to the event.
There is an extensive range of public transport options available to get to and from the Phoenix Park, including:
Free travel on all public transport within Dublin for Sunday 26 August.
250,000 journeys available from Iarnród Éireann across Intercity, DART and Commuter services.
Bus Éireann will be operating a weekday service throughout the country to bring people to the event. In excess of 30,000 passenger journeys can be made on the day on Bus Éireann.
Dublin Bus have created seven dedicated Papal transport hubs which will take pilgrims in close proximity to the gates of the Phoenix Park. Almost 1,000 Dublin Buses will be available to get people to and from the Mass and over 400,000 journeys will be provided.
Special Park & Ride hubs for this event have been created in a number of locations where people can park up and then take public transport to and from the event. These are Leopardstown Racecourse (Luas), UCD Belfield (Dublin Bus), Maynooth University (train) and Fairyhouse Racecourse (train).
The LUAS Red and Green line will be operating a 6-10 minute frequency throughout the day and there will be a LUAS Stop operating at the Leopardstown racecourse for the first time.
Go-Ahead Ireland is providing shuttle buses to help with the transport requirements for the Papal Mass, using 40 double deck vehicles.
Translink will be offering dedicated rail and bus services for the event to and from the North. They will also be operating the shuttle service at Fairyhouse Transport hub.
For those travelling from outside Dublin, the National Transport Authority asks pilgrims and visitors to pre-book train or bus ticket or private coaches. This is especially for those who have indicated to the World Meeting of Families that they intend to travel by train or bus but have yet to book their ticket.
A Controlled Access Zone will operate around Dublin City from 6am until 11pm on Sunday August 26 starting at the M50. Motorists planning on using their car to access Dublin on the Sunday should be aware that there will be diversions and road closures and other restrictions in place on the day.
Gardaí say there will also be rolling restrictions on Saturday August 25 as Pope Francis visits a number of locations in Dublin city centre, which will be announced soon.
For those who live and work near the Phoenix Park, the Pro Cathedral and the Capuchin Day Centre, a business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries. Gardaí say that in the run up to this event, business briefings and community meetings and posters in local shops are planned. In addition, a package of information regarding road closures, diversions and advice for getting around that weekend will be distributed to over 125,000 homes and businesses, as well as a dedicated helpline and an office in the Phoenix Park to help answer people’s queries.