Saturday 20 October 2018

It took 40 minutes of trying after repeated crashes

Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

It was on a wing and a prayer that I logged on to get tickets for the visit by Pope Francis yesterday morning.

It was as I did the school run that I learned that the tickets had gone on sale at 5am, which was earlier than I personally had been expecting.

The early start time, which was not pre-announced, ensured that not everybody logged on at the exact same time, putting too much pressure on the system.

But it still left me wondering how quickly the tickets would be snapped up.

To be fair, the odds of getting a ticket to see Pope Francis at Knock shrine were much slimmer with just 45,000 tickets up for grabs, compared to the massive capacity of 600,000 people for the Phoenix Park, which is where I needed the tickets for.

Shortly before 8.30am, I logged on to worldmeeting2018.ie and it took some time for the website to come up.

I then hit the "tickets" button and waited ... and waited. Nothing happened.

I wondered if it had stuck, so attempted to reload the website again, but still could get no further.

There were no tickets loading. "There is a problem with the page you are looking for," came up more than once.

But finally, success was mine after about 40 minutes of trying.

At 9am, I was finally in the queue for tickets, and it moved surprisingly quickly.

Ten minutes later, I had secured my tickets for Sunday August 26, and was informed I will receive my tickets via email before July 31, and will be able to print them out at home.

"Your tickets will be for a specific standing section at the Mass site. Tickets will be allocated on the basis of your route and the date of your booking," it said.

Just out of curiosity, I logged onto the website a few times during the day to see if I could get in, and if other people were likely to be experiencing delays, but had no problems.

It was an "unprecedented" ticket issue, in terms of how many were released in one go.

The tickets were free, but the option was there to make a voluntary donation to World Meeting of Families 2018 to help cover costs - it would be interesting to know how many people did so.

Meanwhile, the clear message for the day was to give plenty of time to attend the event, because there will be wait times with the huge crowds expected on the day.

In addition, some walking will be involved given the scale and location of the event.

Irish Independent

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