People warned to use public transport during Pope’s visit

Tens of thousands expected at Phoenix Park next month to hear Pontiff say Mass

Pope Francis mugs among some of the range of memorabilia and souvenirs on sale at the Veritas store on Dublin’s Abbey Street. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

People have been urged to used public transport to get to Knock in Co Mayo and the Phoenix Park in Dublin for the visit of Pope Francis next month.

There is a “major oversubscription” of people expecting to drive to the park, organisers have warned.

Transport on the day for those attending the Phonix Park Mass will be free, a press conference in Dublin by gardaí and representatives of the National Transport Authority (NTA) was told.

It was held announce public safety and transport details in connection with the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland on August 25th and 26th.


Supt Tom Murphy of the DMR (Dublin Metropolitan Region) Roads Policing Unit urged 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.”

Tom Gaston, director of public transport services for the NTA, said that for those people travelling to and from the Phoenix Park there will be no charge for public transport. “Their entry ticket for the Mass will be their ticket for travelling on a train, a tram, or a bus.”

The NTA had made the decision on free transport “mainly for safety reasons,” he said.

Rolling restrictions

It will cover all of Dublin Bus, all of Luas, all of Dart,and all of the short hubs in the commuter zone, he said. Because it was a NTA decision, it would support the operators of those services “if there is a revenue loss on the day,” he said.

As well as Irish Rail, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus, and Luas, transport on the day will also be available from Translink, Go-Ahead, and private bus operators.

Supt Murphy said that the three-day World Meeting of Families event at the RDS on August 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, was expected to be similar in scale to the Horse Show and no major disruptions were expected locally.

However there would be “rolling restrictions” in Dublin city centre on Saturday a August 25th as Pope Francis journeyed from Dublin Castle to the Pro Cathedral to the Capuchin Day Centre.

The Festival of Families event at Croke Park that evening was “expected to be similar to an All Ireland final” and the “normal local management plan” would be in place, he said.

Supt Tom Calvey of Claremorris Garda station in Co Mayo said preparations for the papal visit to Knock on Sunday August 26th meant that from 6pm the previous evening, Knock village would be closed. He said the N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris would be closed from midnight on Saturday until at least 3pm on the Sunday.

Again, people are advised to use coaches rather than cars as there is a considerable walk from car parks with no shuttle between car parks. There will be no public viewing of Pope Francis’s arrival or departure at Knock airport, he said.

There would also be strict limitations on those using the airport between midnight Saturday to 11.30am on Sunday.

Further details at

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times