THERE have been warnings of delays and diversions as a leading garda outlined Pope Francis' route through Dublin for the first time today.
Up to 100,000 people are expected to line the streets to watch the Pope Mobile travel through the capital this weekend, Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy.
Pope Francis is due to touch down in Dublin on Saturday and pilgrims from around the globe flocking to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, including 500,000 who will watch his address at Phoenix Park.
Speaking on Today with Miriam on RTE Radio One, Gda Leahy outlined the Pope's journey through Dublin.
He said: "The Pope is going to do a visit through the city center on Saturday at around 4.15pm, when his pastoral visit in and around the Pro-Cathedral is finished.
"He's going to do a Pope Mobile visit up the city, the full way up O'Connell Street, over O'Connell Bridge, the full way up through Westmoreland St and Dame St in the Pope Mobile.
"This will be the first real opportunity for the public to see the pope,. he'll then go up Christchurch, come down Bridge St, across Church St and into the Brother Kevin's in the Capuchin Centre."
He stressed that the 'city is not in lock down' but said there will be some unavoidable delays.
"The M50 is open on both days, there will be some restrictions on the Sunday where you won't get by, but overall the M50 is open for business.
"The Port Tunnel is open for business, the East Link is open for business...
"We will facilitate people to move around as much as possible when it is safe to do so, the city is not in lock down but when we pull half a million people into that zone it will become unsafe to put traffic into that mix," Mr Leahy said.
Up to 100,000 people are set to watch the Pope Mobile drive through Dublin and Mr Leahy continued to emphasise the scale of the event and the planning that has gone into the two-day visit.
"It's probably one of the top two events I have been involved with in the city in my 36 years - the queen's visit is probably number one because of the security context around that but this is certainly number two.
"In terms of the volume of people this is definitely number one, it's hard to imagine what half a million people in one place will look like, this is an enormous event.
"We always have a graduated response to security, a layered approach, what we will be discussing this morning is how we get people in and out safely, half a million people," Mr Leahy explained.
"We are expecting a slow burn in, with people arriving over several hours and they'll probably relax and chat and rest but once it's over they'll just want to leave and get home.
"So what we're asking people is to apply the same concept when you're leaving, take your time, it will take time to get to your bus.
"We're advising people that now that they have their tickets to know that they are colour coded and to follow the colour code system on your ticket because that gets you into where you will be sitting or standing at the event but it also reunites you with your transport on the way back."
Addressing queries around the plans for taxis, he urged drivers to contact the National Transport Authority in advance.
Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he is 'excited' to return to Ireland, having previously spent time here in 1980.
He said ina special video message: "I know that many people are working hard to prepare for my visit, and I thank all of them from my heart. I ask everyone to pray that this great festival will be a moment of joy and serenity, a caress of Jesus's tender love for all families, and indeed, for all God's children."
Echoing Pope John Paul II when he visited Ireland in 1979, Pope Francis added: "Young people are the future."