Dublin city centre roads will be blocked while Pope Francis visits Knock
Traffic chaos looms for Dublin when it goes into lockdown under new plans to accommodate the visit of Pope Francis later this month.
A raft of road closures and parking restrictions are set to bring the capital to a halt.
Practically the entire city centre will be hit with hours of road closures from early on Saturday, August 25, the day the Pontiff arrives at Dublin Airport around 10.30am.
Most bizarrely on the Sunday, roads across the city centre will be closed from 6am, while the Pope is 211km away in Knock for the morning.
Sunday’s closures will go out to Ballyfermot, Cabra and Crumlin until 11pm. While local access will be maintained as far as possible, intermittent temporary road closures may also be enforced by gardai.
Dublin City Council is considering a request from the Office of Public Works for the road closures.
More than 50 roads will be closed on the Saturday under the plans, with Bow Street, May Lane, Friary Avenue and New Church Street affected from 6am to 5.15pm to facilitate the Pope’s visit to the Capuchin Day Centre, scheduled for 4.30pm.
From noon on the Saturday swathes of the city including Sean McDermott Street, O’Connell Street, Abbey Street and Henry Street on the northside, and Westmoreland Street, Dame Street, Nassau Street and College Green on the southside are set to close to traffic until late in the afternoon. The restrictions will also impact the Luas and Dublin Bus services.
Parking will be suspended on streets within those areas, including the Sean McDermott Street/Cathal Brugha Street region and Abbey Street.
Sunday’s road closures are due to start around 6am and affect areas including the Old Naas Road, Bluebell Avenue, Kylemore Road, Ballyfermot Road and Chapelizod Road south of the city as well as Ballyboggan Road, Ratoath Road and Fassaugh Road north of the Liffey.
Many of the quays will also be shut including Burgh Quay, Aston Quay, Crampton Quay, Wellington Quay, Essex Quay, Wood Quay, Merchant’s Quay and Usher’s Quay.
Bridges along the Grand Canal from Blackhorse to Grand Canal Dock will be subject to closure until 11pm.
Sunday’s parking suspensions include Parkgate Street, areas of the North Circular Road near the Phoenix Park, Benburb Street and Infirmary Road.
After arriving in Dublin, the Pope will first travel to Aras an Uachtarain to meet President Michael D Higgins.
He will then transfer to Dublin Castle at noon, later to the Pro Cathedral and then to the Capuchin Day Centre.
On Saturday evening the pontiff goes to Croke Park for the Feast of Families.
Organisers of that event confirmed last night that legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli will be performing.
Father Timothy Bartlett said: “Andrea Bocelli will bring so much to our gathering not just because of his wonderful talent but because of his love for his faith.”
On Sunday, Pope Francis will visit Knock Shrine before celebrating mass for 500,000 people in the Phoenix Park.