Tuesday 23 July 2019

Pope visit: Your comprehensive guide on how to get around, and what Francis will be doing

Entire public transport fleet to be deployed for Papal visit

Paul Melia and Fiona Dillon

It will be the biggest mass movement of people in generations.

An estimated 100,000 are expected to line the streets of the capital today as Pope Francis travels through the city in his popemobile, to be joined later this evening by another 80,000 attending the Festival of Families in Croke Park.

But tomorrow will be the real challenge for the country's public transport system, as an expected 45,000 attend ceremonies at Knock Shrine in Co Mayo, followed by another 500,000 travelling to Dublin's Phoenix Park for the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families.

Those attending the Phoenix Park must enter through the gate which is marked on their ticket. While a range of public transport options will terminate around the park, only in exceptional circumstances will pilgrims be allowed to enter through another gate. The advice for pilgrims is to allow sufficient time to reach events.

Director of public transport services at the National Transport Authority Tim Gaston urged people to give themselves enough time to get to the Phoenix Park, saying there needed to be a "steady flow" of people throughout the day.

Public transport is free for those with a ticket for the papal Mass, and the capital remains open for business.

Pope Mobile Route Dublin - Saturday 25th August

The Papal procession is scheduled to start at 16:15pm on Saturday and is expected to take 15-25mins.

Those planning to attend have been told to take public transport and to allow additional time for the journey.


Luas Red line services will be suspended from Busáras to the Four Courts between 3.15pm and 5pm. The Abbey Street stop is closed from 11am to 5pm.

The Green Line will operate as normal up to 10.30am and after 5.30pm. Between these hours, services are suspended between Dawson Street and Broombridge.

Bus services will be diverted between 10am and 6pm.This will affect Bus Éireann Expressway and services from Co Meath, Co Louth, Co Cavan, Co Westmeath, Co Kildare, Co Offaly, Co Wexford and Co Wicklow, as well as Dublin Bus routes.


Luas, Irish Rail and four car-parking hubs have capacity for more than 26,000 vehicles. The four hubs are free for use.

One at Leopardstown will be serviced by Luas; another at UCD Belfield will be for Dublin Bus, and trains will service Maynooth University and Fairyhouse Racecourse.

Luas and Irish Rail car parks charge between €2 and €5, and parking must be paid for on the day. Heuston, Connolly and Maynooth car parks are closed.


Three free parks are in place to cater for 3,000 bicycles at DIT Grangegorman, St Brigid's Boys School in Blanchardstown, and at Dublin City Council's offices at Wood Quay.


Dublin Bus will have seven dedicated transport hubs, throughout the city, to bring you as close as possible to the Phoenix Park. See www.dublinbus.ie for detailed route maps and more information.

All Bus Éireann services (Commuter and Expressway) will operate to and from Busáras, which is about 3km from the Phoenix Park. See www.buseireann.ie or www.expressway.ie.

All Bus Éireann services will operate to and from Busáras.

With widespread road closures in place, there will be service changes between 6am and 11pm.

Dublin Bus services will also be affected, with the company expecting to carry 400,000 passengers. Some 400 buses are dedicated to servicing the Phoenix Park, with seven hubs or extra routes in place offering frequent services.


Green Line trams will operate as normal but Red Line services will only run from Tallaght/Saggart to Blackhorse, and from the Point to Smithfield.

Luas will service the Leopardstown park and ride, and staff will ask passengers to form queues at busy stops to prevent a free-for-all.


There are 250 dedicated train services to Heuston, Connolly, Ashtown Gate and the Navan Road Parkway stations.

Additional services will run on Dart, Maynooth, Portlaoise and to Dundalk/Drogheda. There will be shuttle trains from Connolly to Ashtown Gate.


Taxis will be allowed to operate but with limitations including bans on streets with high volumes of pedestrians.


walking routes.jpg

Knock Shrine - Sunday 26th August

The Pope will arrive at Knock Shrine at 9.45am on Sunday 26th August. He will circuit in the pope mobile and pray the Angelus at the Apparition Chapel before departing from Knock Shrine at 11.15am.

Directly after the Pope has departed the Shrine, there will be an open-air Mass, which will be concluded by 12.30/1pm.

The advice is to take public or group transport (coach) to the event.

Superintendent Tom Calvey of Claremorris garda station said entry tickets would be checked before arrival in Knock.

Those coming from Co Sligo, Co Donegal and the North will be diverted along the old N5 at Charlestown into car parks on the outskirts of Knock.

Those coming from Co Roscommon, Co Longford and the east will come through Ballyhaunis, into Claremorris and then Knock.

Coaches will be labelled, and passengers given a ticket to remind them of their bus number. Passengers arriving at Claremorris by train will avail of a shuttle bus.

Service alterations to Bus Éireann routes 64, 421 and 440 will also be in place.

Parking at Knock

Mass in Phoenix Park - Sunday 26th August

Okay, those are the main events - what else should I know about?

While the Pope will receive a warm reception from the thousands of pilgrims who have travelled to be part of the occasion, he will also be met by protesters angry at how the church dealt with multiple clerical sex abuse scandals that have damaged trust in the religious institution and seriously weakened its influence on Irish society.

Francis will meet a number of abuse victims in a private meeting amid expectation he will use his public utterances elsewhere to confront the emotive issue.

Earlier this week, the Pope wrote a 2,000-word letter to Catholics in which he condemned the crime of sexual abuse by priests and subsequent cover-ups.

The Pope demanded accountability in response to fresh revelations in Pennsylvania in the United States of decades of misconduct by clerics.

Francis is ostensibly in Ireland to attend the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) - a major global church event focused on promoting family values.

However, he will also fulfil a number of other engagements, including meetings with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

With Ireland in the midst of a high-profile homelessness problem, the Pope will also meet a number of impacted families at a centre run by a religious order.

It's not all about the Pope - are there some events around his visit?

For the first time, a symposium dedicated to the global impact of women's leadership will be held on Saturday August 25.

Broadcaster and businesswoman Norah Casey will chair the event in the RDS, alongside US business executive Susan Ann Davis with keynote speaker General Kristin Lund. Topics of discussion include peacekeeping, girl’s education and violence against women.

Tickets for the event are free but limited- more information here.

Tell me more about these protests.

A ‘Stand for Truth’ solidarity event for clergy abuse victims will take place in Dublin's Garden of Remembrance at 3pm on Sunday 26 August.

Abuse survivor and Executive Director of Amnesty Ireland, Colm O’Gorman, previously told Independent.ie that the event was so people could  “stand and recognise the dignity harmed and lives destroyed”.

A number of abuse survivors from other parts of the world as part of the Ending Clergy Abuse Global Justice Project (ECA) are also expected to fly in to stand in solidarity.

Should I be aware of anything else?

Yes- the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has warned of “unique health risks” that may occur at large gatherings like the WMOF.

"Given the nature of this historic papal visit, a large number of young children and elderly visitors are expected to attend the final Mass, including many international visitors,” said Dr Mary O'Riordan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine at the HPSC.

"In the current context of ongoing measles spread in Europe, it is highly advisable that all attendants, especially young children, ensure that they are up to date with their vaccinations.”

See the pope’s full itinerary below: 

Saturday 25 August 2018


08:15    Departure by plane from Rome/Fiumicino for Dublin    

10:30    Arrival at Dublin International Airport    


10:45    Transfer to Áras an Uachtaráin    

11:15    Arrival at the Presidential Residence    

WELCOME CEREMONY in front of the main entrance of the Residence    

11:30    COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT in the Presidential Residence    

12:00    Transfer to Dublin Castle    

12:10    Arrival at Dublin Castle    


15:30    Arrival at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral    

VISIT to the CATHEDRAL - Greeting of the Holy Father

16:15    Transfer to the Day Centre of the Capuchin Fathers    


19:30    Arrival at Croke Park Stadium    

19:45    FESTIVAL OF FAMILIES in Croke Park Stadium - Speech of the Holy Father 


Sunday 26 August 2018


08:40    Departure by plane for Knock    

09:20    Arrival at the Airport in Knock

Immediate transfer to the Shrine    

09:45    Arrival at Knock Shrine    

VISIT to the CHAPEL of Knock Shrine    

ANGELUS on the square in front of the Shrine - Angelus of the Holy Father 

10:45    Transfer to the airport in Knock    

11:10    Arrival at the airport in Knock    

11:15    Departure by plane for Dublin    

11:50    Arrival at Dublin International Airport    

Lunch with the Papal Delegation    

14:30    Arrival at Phoenix Park    

15:00    HOLY MASS in Phoenix Park - Homily of the Holy Father

MEETING WITH THE BISHOPS in the Convent of the Dominican Sisters -  Speech of the Holy Father 

18:30    Arrival at Dublin International Airport    


18:45    Departure by plane for Roma/Ciampino    

23:00    Arrival at the Airport of Roma/Ciampino    


Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News