Euro 2016 Travel Guide: How can I get to Ireland's games in France?
Travel Q&A #COYBIG
With Ireland's Euro 2016 fixtures confirmed, the scramble for travel is underway writes Pól Ó Conghaile.
Where and when does Euro 2016 take place?
France, from June 10 to July 10 next year.
Ireland are in Group E. The schedule of group games is as follows:
- June 13: Ireland v Sweden (Venue: Paris)
- June 18: Ireland v Belgium (Venue: Bordeaux)
- June 22: Ireland v Italy (Venue: Lille)
Irish fans will be seeing a lot of the French countryside on this one (Bordeaux is 580km from Paris, while Lille is over 800km from Bordeaux).
You can view the full schedule here on uefa.com.
Where can I get tickets?
Applicants will know if they are successful by the end of February, UEFA says, but the FAI is likely to have a ticket allocation too.
Group games cost from €25 to €145.
Are packages available?
Killester Travel (01 833-6935; killestertravel.com) has daytrips ranging from €415pp (Ireland v Italy) to €464pp ( Ireland v Belgium).
Abbey Travel (01 804-7102; abbeytravel.ie), the FAI's official travel partner, has packaged daytrips to group games as follows:
- Ireland v Sweden, Paris, June 13 - €479 + €69 tax
- Ireland v Belgium, Bordeaux, June 18 - €499 + €69 tax
- Ireland v Italy, Lille, June 22 - €499 + €69 tax
It also has a two-match package including the Belgium and Italy games, flights, transfers and six nights accommodation from €1,548pp.
Marathon Sports Travel (01 475-5010; marathonsportstravel.ie) has early-bird daytrips from €499pp (Ireland v Sweden/Italy), and €549pp (Ireland v Belgium).
Stein Travel (01 517-5990; steintravel.ie) has the following packages:
- 3-match package, June 13-23, €1,989pp
- 2-match package (Ireland v Sweden, Belgium), June 13-18, €1,499pp
- 2-match package (Ireland v Belgium, Italy), June 17-23, €1,499pp
- 2-day package (Ireland v Belgium), June 17-19, €799pp
- Daytrip (Ireland v Sweden), June 13, €449pp plus €70 tax
Club Travel (01 608-0030; clubtravel.ie) also offers packages.
Packages do not include match tickets.
Can I travel by ferry?
Yes. At this point, ferry looks like the best fit for Euro 2016 travel, with fans pooling car costs to see several games over the course of the competition.
Sailings are filling up quickly, however, and prices are rising.
Irish Ferries (irishferries.com) sails from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff (twice weekly), and from Dublin to Cherbourg (once a week).
In late January, it had return sailings for a car and four adults from €870 departing June 9 and returning on June 26. Bookings can be secured with a €100 deposit.
Stena Line (stenaline.ie) also sails from Rosslare to Cherbourg, with similar return sailing and cabin prices available over Euro 2016 dates.
Remember that cabins or reserved seats (c. €16 each way) cost extra, and that you will need to book a return fare. Cabins start from around €94 for an inside four-berth.
Brittany Ferries (brittanyferries.ie) sails once weekly from Cork to Roscoff. Round-trips for a car +4 were available from €757 departing June 11 and returning June 24, with four-berth cabins extra at €129. Lounge seats are now sold out.
There is also the option of Channel (or Landbridge) crossings from Dover/Folkestone to Calais/Dunkirk, but remember, Welsh and English fans will be availing of these too.
What about flights?
Paris has direct flight connections from Ireland with Ryanair (ryanair.com), Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com), CityJet (cityjet.com) and/or Air France (airfrance.ie).
Aer Lingus flies direct from Dublin to Bordeaux (or Toulouse, a 2.5 hour drive away), while Lille is best reached via Paris Beauvais or Brussels airports.
Ryanair also flies to Biarritz, a two-hour drive from Bordeaux.
Since fixtures were announced, prices have risen sharply - though it's likely that extra scheduled and charter flights will be laid on in the months ahead.
Ryanair's midweek flights from Dublin to Paris Beauvais start from €35.99 in the weeks before Euro 2016, for example, but rise to as much as €256.99 as the tournament dates kick in.
UPDATE: Ryanair has announced extra flights to Paris, Lille and Bordeaux for the group games. Aer Lingus has also added eight additional flights from Cork to Paris.
Similarly, Aer Lingus' midweek flights now rise from around €59.99 each way in the weeks before the tournament, to €284.99 on Sunday, June 12.
Ryanair flights to Brussels CRL are coming in at €105.99 one-way on June 22.
Any accommodation tips?
Hotel prices are likely to skyrocket around the crunch fixture dates.
Euro 2016 fans should look to campsites, Airbnb (airbnb.ie), Irish-run website homestay.com, friends and relatives to save on accommodation costs.
Hotel search sites like booking.com, hotels.com, trivago.ie and hotels.independent.ie are a good way to compare prices across a range of properties.
Wimdu, a peer-to-peer property rental platform for short stays, has this guide to alternative cities (including Brussels, Ghent and Biarritz) for accommodation.
Camping Ninja (campingninja.com) is also offering camping from £30/€39 per night at 'Camp Bordeaux', with transfers to the games. The site includes a bar, big screen TVs, food and free charging points for devices.
What about camper vans or motorhomes?
Similar to Euro 2012, some fans are expected to rent motorhomes - this is cheaper to do on the continent, as you'll avoid expensive ferry and insurance extras.
Quotes can be generated on wmhire.com, with 14-day rentals (6-berth) ranging from €1,800 for pick-up/drop-off in Barcelona or Girona, to €2,958 in Paris.
Leslie Brown of motorhome/RV broker EUBookings.com advises fans to pick up vehicles in the North Rhine Westphalia area of Germany (about 260 miles from Paris) to save costs.
"Fans can make a saving of about €900 on a two-week rental from Germany, Italy or Spain as opposed to France," he says, in addition to flight savings made by flying to non-venue airports.
"Bordeaux is booked out but we have vehicles available in Toulouse, Lyon, the North of Spain, Nice and Northern Italy," Brown said shortly after the draw.
Fans can email email@example.com for quotes.
If you are booking a motorhome, it's best to book first and then secure flights - which are likely to be cheaper if airports outside France are involved.
Resourceful fans may wish to look at driving through the UK, or taking the Eurostar (eurostar.com) from London to Paris, but remember that thousands of English and Welsh fans will be travelling to France next summer too.
Eurostar is extending its normal 180-day booking horizon to seven months in order to cover the whole tournament. Standard one-way tickets from London to Paris were available from £45/€62 as we publish.
See You Boys In Green (ybig.ie) forums for more fans' tips.
For more on visiting France, see france.fr.
Should I be worried about security?
After the Paris attacks, that is certainly a concern.
The opening match of Euro 2016 is scheduled to take place between France and the second-seeded team in Group A at the 80,000-seater Stade de France, one of the targets of the November 2015 terrorist attacks.
As we publish, the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising Irish citizens to "exercise extreme caution" in France following the events.
Security is likely to be ramped up dramatically for the tournament, so travelling fans should also expect additional travel disruptions.
Read the full travel advice here or contact 01 408-2000.
NB: Our Euro 2016 travel advice is being updated to reflect developments (latest update: January 25, 2016). Share your Euro 2016 travel tips on Facebook here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.