Mayo road closures: Access to Ballina town limited on Friday due to Biden visit

Knock Shrine, airport and some public transport to face disruption

Drivers wishing to travel through Ballina on Friday are being advised to divert via the N26, N5 and N17 through Foxford, Swinford, Charlestown, Tubercurry and Sligo. Photograph: Enda O'Dowd/The Irish Times

Access to Ballina town centre and the village and shrine in Knock in Co Mayo, is being significantly restricted due to the visit of US president Joe Biden.

In Knock, where President Biden is due to visit the Apparition Chapel at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock on Friday, the grounds of the shrine and the main street have been closed to the public since 1pm on Thursday. There will be no access or viewing area for the public to facilitate this private visit. Traffic management measures will be in place around the village and shrine.

There will be no mass or confessions available at any of the shrine’s five churches between 1pm on Thursday and 4.30pm on Friday. Mass will take place at 7.30pm in the Parish Church on Friday evening.

President Biden, whose great-great-grandfather Patrick Blewitt was from Ballina, is due to speak in front of St Muredach’s Cathedral on Friday night. The event starts with a series of music acts at 7pm, with the President expected to appear at 9pm. Traffic restrictions in Ballina will be in place until the end of the event late on Friday evening.


From 10am, vehicles belonging only to local residents and business workers will be given access as the N59 passing through the town will be closed.

Drivers wishing to travel through Ballina on Friday are being advised to divert via the N26, N5 and N17 through Foxford, Swinford, Charlestown, Tubercurry and Sligo.

Irish Rail said extra services will operate to and from Ballina on Friday due to the high numbers of people expected. Free shuttle buses will be provided from park and ride sites to the town.

Bus Éireann had advised customers travelling to and from Ballina to check service updates on the company website Passengers can expect some delays and diversions, in particular, route 444 connecting Dromore West and Ballina which will not operate on Friday. Route 458 from Enniskillen to Ballina via Sligo will operate only to and from the outskirts of Ballina on Friday afternoon.

The closure of Knock village will affect routes 421, 440 and Expressway route 64. Bus services will stop at the R323 roundabout on Ballyhaunis Road.

Delays are also expected on three Expressway interregional services – Route 22 between Ballina and Dublin; Route 52 connecting Ballina and Galway and Route 64 between Galway and Derry, via Knock.

Ireland West Airport will close for a period on Friday. Bus passengers for Knock airport may disembark at Charlestown or Kilkelly. Real time travel information for Expressway is available at

Traffic measures are also expected elsewhere in Co Mayo, with the county council warning that local traffic restrictions will be in place in Castlebar from 12-5pm on Friday. The council has also said that temporary traffic restrictions “may occur” on the N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris from 12.30-3pm, as well as on the N5 from 1.30-3.30pm between Charlestown and Castlebar.

Additional security measures in Dublin included the sealing off of bins in the city centre.

According to the forecast for Co Mayo on Friday, President Biden is set to be greeted by significantly better weather than he faced in Co Louth on Wednesday.

There is a chance of rain on Friday afternoon but that is set to diminish by the time the President speaks to the public in Ballina in the evening.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist