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Papal Visit: Here's everything you need to know about traffic and travel plans this weekend

AA Roadwatch has urged travellers to be aware of major traffic restrictions this weekend for the Papal visit.

There will be events in Dublin and in Knock this weekend around the visit of Pope Francis, and AA Roadwatch have outlined the traffic restrictions.

They have urged anyone travelling into Dublin at the weekend to take public transport as there will be no car park near Phoenix Park.

They have also warned anyone without a ticket for the events not to travel to Croke Park, Knock or the Phoenix Park.

Arwen Foley of AA Roadwatch said: “Planning is key this weekend. Additional services will be made available across all public transport networks and we are strongly encouraging people to use them.”

People attending the mass in Phoenix Park will be able to use free public transport in the Greater Dublin Area on Sunday by presenting their ticket.

However, those travelling from outside Dublin will need to organise their trip in advance, and pre-book tickets for travel.

However, Ms Foley said that a lot of services are already fully booked.

She said: “The full length of the M50 and the M1 will be open as normal so once on the motorways, there will be no problem getting to Dublin Airport.

“The Port Tunnel and Tom Clarke Bridge (East Link) will also be open, so anyone wishing to travel between the north and south sides of the city is advised to use these routes."

Saturday - Croke Park

Gates open at 4pm and the concert will be on from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. There will be a number of road closures across the city from about midday, including O’Connell St, Church St, Patrick St and Dame St. However, some roads will be closed as early as 6am.

There will also be rolling restrictions on both Saturday and Sunday as Pope Francis visits a number of locations in Dublin city centre.

Sunday morning - Knock

The centre of Knock Village will be closed from 6pm on Saturday.

The N17 will also be closed from midnight on Saturday until at least 6pm on Sunday between Charlestown and Claremorris.

AA Roadwatch have said that there will be a considerable walk from the car parks for anyone travelling to the event and there will be no shuttle bus facility to the site.

Sunday afternoon - Phoenix Park

Ms Foley explained that Dublin Bus will have seven dedicated transport hubs throughout the city, but a long walk will follow.

[quote]“No matter how you plan on getting to the Phoenix Park, you are advised to be prepared for a long walk.”[/quote]

The longest walk will be from Laurel Lodge to the park, a distance of about 4.4km.

She said: “That’s almost half the distance of the Women’s Mini Marathon, both on the way there and on the way back.”

“There will be manned rest areas and water available for those making the trek along each route though.”

A Controlled Access Zone will be in place from 6am.

She also explained that there will be specially created Park and Ride hubs at Leopardstown Racecourse, UCD Belfield and Maynooth University.

Most of the road closures in Dublin will be on Sunday as Pope Francis will be the main celebrant at the Final Mass in the Phoenix Park at 3pm.

Ms Foley said: “Major restrictions will be in place around the Phoenix Park, stretching many kilometres and also in the city centre.”

    Sunday transport restrictions in Dublin

  • The N3/Navan Rd, N4/Lucan Rd and N7/Naas Rd will be closed at the M50 Interchange from this time, with traffic sent either north or south onto the M50.
  • Southside closures start at Grand Canal, with the bridges along this artery closed from 8am.
  • Road closures and traffic restrictions apply to taxis as well as private vehicles.
  • Cyclists will also be stopped from entering the Controlled Access Zone when there is a lot of pedestrian traffic.
  • There will be no Luas Red Line services between Blackhorse and Smithfield from 7am until 10pm on Sunday.

There are currently no planned closures for Finglas Road, Ballymun Road or any major northside commuter routes further east, but there will be restrictions as you get closer to the city centre.

Full details on traffic and travel arrangements are available here:



On Saturday, the Pope will proceed through Dublin city centre in ‘the Popemobile’ from the Pro Cathedral to the Capuchin Centre.

He is scheduled to leave Marlborough St onto Cathal Brugha St at around 4:15pm. The procession will then turn onto O’Connell St, cross the Liffey, travel down Westmoreland St, past College Green and then continue up Dame St. The Pope will pass Dublin Castle and City Hall, continuing up Lord Edward St, High St and Bridge St, crossing back over the Liffey up Church St before turning onto Bow St and into the Capuchin Centre. The entire trip is expected to take approx. 15-20 minutes.

There will be viewing points at the following locations:

  • O’Connell St near Parnell St ​: 67 spaces (plus 67 carers)
  • O’Connell St near O’Connell Bridge: 74 spaces (plus 74 carers)
  • College Green: ​​​​​282 spaces (plus 282 carers)
  • Jury’s Christchurch: ​​​​80 spaces (plus 80 carers)
  • Church St: ​​​​​50 spaces (plus 50 carers)
  • If you want to see the procession, allow plenty of time to get into the city. Random bag searches may take place at entry points and people are advised not to bring large bags. The recommendation is to keep bag sizes to around A4 size.

    Keep in mind that road closures will be in place around the city centre at different times due to the procession.

    There will be restrictions to Luas services on the day. See here for full details.

    All other public transport will operate. A small number of routes will be diverted for a short time on Saturday afternoon (more info below).


    On Saturday evening, Pope Francis will attend the Festival of Families at Croke Park in Drumcondra, with gates opening at 4pm.

    The concert starts at 6:30pm and will run until 8:30pm. 70,000 people are expected to attend. Every person in attendance will require a ticket to access the venue.

    We advise everyone to walk or use public transport if possible, as there will be limited parking in the vicinity of the stadium and


    Croke Park is a 20-minute walk from the city centre.


    The closest main line station is Drumcondra at the junction of Drumcondra Rd and Clonliffe Rd, a five-minute walk from the stadium.

    The closest DART stations are Connolly and Clontarf. Connolly is a 15-20 minute walk and Clontarf a 20-25 minute walk to the stadium. The closest LUAS and Intercity stop is also at Connolly.

    A shuttle train will operate between Connolly Station and Ashtown Station for ticket holders.

    Note that booking is ESSENTIAL for customers using Intercity travel.


    Croke Park is around a 16 minute walk from the Connolly Red Line stop.

    There will be no Red Line service between Busáras and Four Courts and no alternative bus service.

    BY BUS

    Dublin Bus will operate a normal Saturday service with significant diversions affecting a third of all routes. Full details can be found here. The following Dublin Bus routes serve Croke Park: 1, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16, 27a, 27b, 29a, 31/a, 31b, 32, 33, 40, 40b, 40d, 41, 41b, 41c, 42, 43, 44, 53, 123 and 13.

    All Bus Eireann services will operate to and from Busáras or its immediate surrounding area (Beresford Place, Amiens St, George’s Quay and Custom House Quay). From there, you can get the DART from Connolly to Drumcondra, connect to Dublin Bus or walk to the stadium in approx. 25 minutes.


    Pope Francis will visit Knock in County Mayo in the morning of Sunday 26th August, before his visit to the Phoenix Park later that day. It will not be possible for the public to view Pope Francis arriving or departing Knock, and there will be no public viewing opportunities at Knock Airport.

    Do not travel to Knock without a ticket. Plan your trip well in advance and allow plenty of time for your journey.

    When you receive your ticket, it will include more information on getting to the event. You will be assigned a specific route to enter and leave the venue. It is strongly advised to car-pool or to organise coaches to get to Knock.

    A Garda cordon will be in place on the day and it will not be possible to drive up to or park near the Shrine.


    Road closures will be in place from 6pm on Saturday (25th) and the centre of Knock Village will be closed (except to residents).

    The N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed from midnight on Saturday (25th) until at least 6pm on Sunday (26th). A business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries for those who live and work near Knock.


    There will be a considerable walk from the car parks and there will be no shuttle bus facility available between car parks and the event site. Wear suitable footwear and bring waterproof clothing. Car-pooling and sharing are essential due to space limitations.


    Those car-pooling or who have organised a coach will be given priority and will be dropped closest to the event.


    Parking facilities will be provided around Knock on the day. Your ticket will indicate the best route to take into Knock.

    Coaches have a designated parking area on the N17. This will result in the shortest distance to walk to and from the Knock Shrine via a short walkway.


    Trains to Knock will be extremely limited and must be booked in advance. This includes Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection pass holders and annual ticket holders. If you do not have an advance booking, you will not be permitted to travel.

    Limited services will operate from Westport, Ballina and Athlone with a bus connection at Claremorris for Knock. Your train ticket will gain you access to this bus connection service.


    Bus Éireann will operate additional services on the following routes:

  • 64 – Galway/Ireland West Airport Knock/Sligo/Derry
  • 421 – Swinford – Kiltimagh – Knock – Claremorris
  • 440 – Athlone – Westport
  • Full details are available for those heading to the event in Mayo and Dublin on the Bus Eireann website.


    Only those named on airline passenger lists and those bringing named passengers will be able to access Ireland West Knock Airport between midnight on Saturday (25th) and 11:30am on Sunday.

    Outbound passengers are advised to allow more travel time than usual as there will be a number of security checks on airport access routes.


    Pope Francis will be the main celebrant at the Final Mass in the Phoenix Park, which marks the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin. The mass will begin at 3pm and no more tickets are available.

    Public transport and private coaches will bring you closest to the Phoenix Park, shortening your walk. Full details of public transport options are below.

    There is no car park near the venue where attendees will be able to park up and walk to the event. Ticket-holders will be able to avail of free public transport in the Greater Dublin Area on Sunday.

    For those travelling from outside Dublin, the National Transport Authority asks that you pre-book your train or bus ticket or private coach.

    Dublin city centre will remain open for business on Sunday, but we advise people to walk or use public transport to get there.

    BY CAR

    If you are planning on using your car to access Dublin City on Sunday, then be aware that diversions, road closures and restrictions will be in place on a number of routes. Rolling restrictions will be in place during the day as Pope Francis visits a number of locations in Dublin city centre.

    A Controlled Access Zone (CAZ) will be in place around Dublin City from 6am until 11pm on Sunday (see map above). The M50 will remain open throughout, however there will be no access for private vehicles from the M50 to the city side of the Navan Rd (J6), Chapelizod Bypass (J7) or Naas Rd (J9) as these will be reserved for buses.

    Gardaí will be regulating the flow of traffic into the CAZ throughout the day – buses and pedestrians will be prioritised and it’s likely that drivers will be redirected at the busiest times. We’ve been told that local access within the CAZ will be facilitated as much as possible – it is likely to depend on the volume of pedestrians and vehicles in the area at the time, therefore traffic may be able to move more freely earlier in the day.

    Residents and businesses will be allowed limited movement on these roads where there is no risk to pedestrian safety. Gardaí ask that local residents and employees carry proof of address or employment. Further road closures are possible in areas with a high volume of pedestrian traffic.

    Allow ample time for any journey and make plans accordingly. Do not leave it until the day of the event to plan your trip. Expect congestion on all routes during the visit.

    If you need to cross the city or travel to the airport on Sunday, you can use the M50 or the East Link Bridge and Port Tunnel or Swords Rd as normal – but allow plenty of extra time for your journey.


    An Garda Síochána have said that road closures and traffic restrictions will apply to taxis as well as private vehicles.

    All existing taxi ranks within Dublin will be operational with the exception of Aston Quay and Heuston Station.

    There will be a taxi drop-off point at Dublin Industrial Estate – vehicle access via the Slaney Rd/Finglas Rd junction.


    No bicycles will be allowed into the Phoenix Park. Cyclists will be permitted within the Controlled Access Zone, but they will be asked to dismount where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic, and at road closures.

    There will also be three manned bike hubs for cyclists to securely park their bikes, with bike lockers available. One will be at Grangegorman DIT, another at St. Brigid’s National School in Blanchardstown and a third in the city centre in the amphitheatre at Dublin City Council on Winetavern St.


    Be prepared for a long walk regardless of how you plan to get to the Phoenix Park. Wear suitable footwear and bring waterproof clothing.


    A normal Sunday service will be in place with additional departures and diversions affecting a quarter of all routes.

    Dublin Bus will be given priority on dedicated traffic routes throughout the city, which will include bridges along the canal.

    In addition to this, Dublin Bus will have seven dedicated transport hubs throughout the city, to bring you as close as possible to the Phoenix Park. Regular services will start at 8am. Customers will be required to return to the hub they arrived by. The Final Mass event ticket will be the only ticket accepted at the transport hubs.

    The hubs will operate from the following locations (subject to change).

    Hub 1: Clarehall Ave, Malahide Rd to Ratoath Rd

    Average walking time: 35mins

    Distance: 2.8km

    Hub 2: Swords Business Park to Ballyboggan Rd

    Average walking time: 50mins

    Distance: 3.7km

    Hub 3: Leopardstown to Cook St

    Average walking time: 1 hour

    Distance: 4km

    Hub 4: Grange Castle to Chapelizod Bypass

    Hub 5: Celbridge (Salesian College) to Chapelizod Bypass

    Hub 6: Stocking Ave to Chapelizod Bypass

    Hubs 4, 5 & 6 all set down at the same location.

    Average walk time: 1 hour

    Distance: 4.1km

    Hub 7: Tyrrelstown (Carlton Hotel) to Laurel Lodge

    Average walking time: 1 hour

    Distance: 4.4km


    Airlink will operate on Saturday and Sunday but diversions will be in place so allow extra time.



    Anyone intending to travel to Dublin via rail should book in advance at www.irishrail.ie – this includes Department of Social Protection pass holders and annual ticket holders.

    If you do not have an advance booking, you will not be permitted to travel from any Intercity station.


    If you want to travel to the Phoenix Park on Commuter services, you will need to present your Papal Ticket within the shorthop zone (from Balbriggan, Maynooth, Hazelhatch or Kilcoole) to avail of free travel. Large crowds are expected, so get there early.

    A special Commuter timetable will be in operation on Sunday with extra services on Northern, Maynooth and Portlaoise services. Details at www.irishrail.ie

    The nearest train stations to Phoenix Park are:

  • Heuston (700m from City Gate)
  • Heuston (3.5km from Islandbridge Gate)
  • Ashtown (650m from Ashtown Gate)
  • Navan Rd Parkway (1.3km from Ashtown Gate)
  • Tara St (3km from City Gate)
  • Connolly (3.5km from City Gate)
  • DART

    A special DART timetable will be in operation on Sunday (26th) and extra services will be provided. Present your Papal Ticket to avail of FREE travel. Large crowds are expected, so allow plenty of time to queue.

    Details of the special timetable is available on www.irishrail.ie

    The nearest DART Stations to Phoenix Park are:

    Tara St (3km from City Gate)

    Connolly (3.5km from City Gate)


    There will be curtailments to Luas services on Saturday and Sunday.


    The Red Line will operate from Tallaght /Saggart to Blackhorse and from The Point to Smithfield, 7am to 10pm. There will be no service between Blackhorse and Smithfield from 7am until 10pm.

    Connolly stop will remain closed between the hours of 7am and 10pm

    From Blackhorse and Smithfield, passengers will walk via the dedicated routes. Given the high volumes of people likely to be attempting to use Luas services on this day, please give yourself lots of time to get to the venue

    Anyone travelling from Tallaght, Hospital and Cookstown should alight at Belgard for onward travel


    The Green Line will operate from Brides Glen to Broombridge 7am-11:30pm

    From Broombridge, passengers will walk via the dedicated routes which is a 46 minute walk approximately.

    There will be a Luas stop operating at the Leopardstown racecourse for the first time.


    There is no car park near the venue where attendees will be able to park up and walk to the event. While the event organisers have secured additional car parking for this event, these car spaces are for those availing of Park & Ride facilities (see below).


    There will be specially created Park & Ride hubs in a number of locations around Dublin and Kildare where people can park up and then take public transport to and from the event. These are:

    Leopardstown Racecourse – Park & Ride (Luas)

    UCD Belfield – Park & Ride (Dublin Bus)

    Maynooth University – Park & Ride (Irish Rail)

    NB: access to the Maynooth Park & Ride from the M4 will be via J8 Kilcock only

    Dunboyne M3 Parkway – Park & Ride (Irish Rail)

    There are also other parking options such as at Beech Park Allotments, adjacent to Clonsilla railway station. The car park will open from 6am and costs €10 for the day. Make sure you have change to pay.

    On the southside of the city, Templeogue Synge Street GAA will have spaces available for a fee on their grounds. Those heading to the Phoenix Park can then walk the approx. 5.8km from Dolphin’s Barn to the event.


    Translink have set up a special website for the Papal Visit. They will be operating their normal services and some additional special services to increase capacity in bus and rail. Coach hire is also available for groups.

    Translink will be operating services from Northern Ireland to Connolly Station. These services must be booked in advance on www.translink.co.uk Those who do not have a valid booking will not be permitted to travel.


    The Controlled Access Area in effect in the Phoenix Park will remain in place until 7am on Tuesday (28th), and there will be no access for vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists to the park during this time. Bear this in mind when planning your commute on Monday. Traffic is likely to be heavier than it has been all summer with some schools returning after the break. Use public transport options where possible.

    Additional information: AA Roadwatch