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Visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in August 2018 - Road Closures

Leave your car at home for the Pope Francis Mass

Public transport and private coaches will bring you closest to the Phoenix Park, shortening your walk

For those going to Knock, take public transport, get on a coach or carshare

For those not attending – be informed, read the information, then plan your weekend


Leave your car at home, public or private coaches will minimise the walking

It is clear that there is a major oversubscription of those who are expecting to drive to and from the Phoenix Park Mass on Sunday 26 August.

There is no car park near the venue where attendees will be able to park up and walk to the event. While the event organisers have secured additional car parking for this event, these car spaces are for those availing of Park & Ride facilities (more information below).

Speaking on this matter, Garda Superintendent Thomas Murphy: “This is the largest event Ireland has organised in nearly 40 years. It simply will not be possible to accommodate all the people who have indicated they want to travel by car to the Mass. Therefore we are urging people to go by train, bus, coach or Luas to this event. While walking is inevitable, you will be minimising your walk to and from the event by taking public transport or private coaches. ”

From 6am until 11.59pm on Sunday the 26th August 2018 there will be significant road closures in place surrounding the Phoenix Park. 

Specific information regarding the road closures is available on the relevant Local Authority websites i.e. Dublin City, Fingal and South County Dublin County Councils - web sites below.  Information is also available on the Government’s Papal Visit Website ‘gov.ie’; this website ‘gov.ie’ also provides information regarding expected walking distances to the Phoenix Park on the date in question. 

There will be two Stop/Go systems in operation to ensure a safe, controlled and ordered egress from the Phoenix Park and dispersal of the public. 

Ashtown Gate - Route from Ashtown Gate to the Luas Stop
Chapelizod Exit Route - Before Chapelizod Bridge 

Please note that whatever mode of transport ypu will be availing of, in all cases, you must factor in significant time within your journey for road closures and walking distances to the Phoenix Park.

Residents within the road closure cordon surrounding the Phoenix Park need to be mindful of restrictions and understand that vehicular access will be significantly limited with access/egress at certain points during the day being strictly prohibited.  Residents are asked for their patience and forbearance during these periods.

An Garda Síochána are urging the following:

  • Leave your car at home
  • Take public transport to and from the event or use private coaches
  • If travelling within Dublin walk to the transport hubs
  • Be prepared to walk on the day and suitable footwear is recommended
  • Your mobile phone may run out of battery, please arrange meeting points in the event you become separated

Those who have booked a ticket and indicated they would like to travel by car will be contacted next week by the World Meeting of Families.

Public transport is ready to take you to and from Phoenix Park on Sunday

The NTA has put in place a robust transport plan to cater for everyone attending the event from across the island, including those travelling from Northern Ireland.  Tim Gaston Director of Public Transport Services, NTA said, “Every bus, train and tram is being used for this event and for the safety of the travelling public if you have a ticket for the Phoenix Park, you will be allowed to travel for free within Dublin on the day of the event.”

Each operator Iarnrod Éireann, Dublin Bus, Luas, Bus Éireann and Go-Ahead will commence services from early morning especially for those travelling from outside of Dublin.  The NTA is working closely with Translink in Northern Ireland and they are providing special rail and bus transport to the event. 

There is an extensive range of public transport options available to get to and from the Phoenix Park, including:

  • Free travel on all public transport within Dublin for Sunday 26 August.
  • 250,000 journeys available from Iarnród Éireann across Intercity, DART and Commuter services.
  • Bus Éireann will be operating a weekday service throughout the country to bring people to the event. In excess of 30,000 passenger journeys can be made on the day on Bus Éireann.
  • Dublin Bus have created 7 dedicated Papal transport hubs which will take you in close proximity to the gates of the park. Almost 1,000 Dublin Buses will be available to get people to and from the Mass and over 400,000 journeys will be provided.
  • Special Park & Ride hubs for this event have been created in a number of locations where people can park up and then take public transport to and from the event. These are Leopardstown Racecourse (Luas), UCD Belfield (Dublin Bus), Maynooth University (train) and Fairyhouse Racecourse (train). 
  • The LUAS Red and Green line will be operating a 6-10 minute frequency throughout the day. 
  • There will be a LUAS Stop operating at the Leopardstown racecourse for the first time. 
  • Go-Ahead Ireland is providing shuttle buses to help with the transport requirements for the Papal Mass, using 40 double deck vehicles. 
  • Translink will be offering dedicated rail and bus services for the event to and from Northern Ireland.  They will also be operating the shuttle service for us at Fairyhouse Transport hub.

For those travelling from outside Dublin, the National Transport Authority asks that you please pre-book your train or bus ticket or private coach.  This is especially for those who have indicated to the World Meeting of Families that they intend to travel by train or bus but have yet to book their ticket.


Taxis will not be allowed into the traffic exclusion zone in Dublin for the mass by Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 26th August 2018.

The "controlled access area" will be in force from 6am to 11pm that day from O'Connell Bridge West along the South Quays.

At the Phoenix Park it will widen to the north of the city nearly as far as the N2, see map here.

To the south, the zone will extend to the Grand Canal.

All taxi ranks will be operational with the exception of Aston Quay and Heuston Station.

There will also be accommodation for taxis at Dublin Industrial Estate in Glasnevin, Dublin 11.

Controlled Access Zone  around Dublin City from 6am until 11pm on Sunday 26 August

There will be a secure area around Dublin, starting at the M50 from 6am to 11pm on Sunday 26 August. If you are planning on using your car to access Dublin City on Sunday 26 August then you should be aware that there will be diversions/road closures and other restrictions in place on the day. You will need to leave plenty of time for any journeys to and across Dublin City from 6am to 11pm on the Sunday 26 August, and pay attention to restrictions in place on the day.

There will also be rolling restrictions on Saturday 25 August as Pope Francis visits a number of locations in Dublin city centre, which will be announced soon.

For those who live and work near the Phoenix Park, the Pro Cathedral and the Capuchin Centre,a business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries.  In the run up to this event, business briefings and community meetings and posters in local shops are planned. In addition, a package of information regarding road closures, diversions and advice for getting around that weekend will be distributed to over 125,000 homes and businesses, as well as a dedicated helpline and an office in the Phoenix Park to help answer people’s queries.

For those not attending the event, the NTA will also be operating all normal Sunday scheduled transport services.  With road closures some buses will be diverted but customers will be informed of any changes to their route. 

Regarding Knock event (Sunday)

Road closures in place from 6pm on Saturday evening

From 6pm on Saturday the centre of Knock Village will be closed (except to residents). The N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed from 12 midnight on Saturday until at least 3pm on Sunday.

For those who live and work near Knock, a business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries, working closely with Claremorris Garda Station.

Get on a Private coach or carpool to and from the event

Join a parish or community coach group or carpool where possible, as car park spaces are limited and may be some walking distance from the Shrine.

Coaches have a designated parking area on the N17. This will result in the shortest distance to walk to and from the Knock Shrine via a short walkway.

There is a considerable walk from the car parks due to the size, scale and location of the event and there will be no shuttle bus facility available between car parks and the event site. If cars are necessary, carpooling and car sharing is essential.

Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann will be providing public transport for this event. A bus shuttle service will operate from Claremorris train station to take people to Knock shrine.  For those who have a ticket for the event, the bus shuttle service will be free.

No public viewing opportunities at Knock Airport

It will not be possible for the public to view Pope Francis arriving or departing due to security limitations.

Those flying into and out of Ireland West Airport Knock on Sunday will have some access with strict limitations.  Only those named on airline passenger lists and those transporting named passengers will be able to access the airport between 12 midnight on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday. 

Outbound passengers in particular are advised to allow more travel time than usual as there will be a number of security checks on airport access routes.  

Information updated on a regular basis on www.gov.ie/popeinireland, which will direct you to all the main information website pages. 

Contact for interviews 

National Transport Authority - Paul Nallon, Q4 PR 01 4751444, 086-8694041 - Paul@q4pr.ie

An Garda Síochána - 01 666 2032, pressoffice@garda.ie,

Iarnród Éireann - Barry Kenny, 087 238 1224, Barry.kenny@irishrail.ie

Dublin Bus - Maria Payne, 086 043 1339, Maria.payne@dublinbus.ie

Bus Éireann - John Sheridan, 087 250 4135, John.sheridan@buseireann.ie

Luas - Dervla Brophy, 086 387 0691, Dervla.brophy@transdev.ie

Translink - Frank Clegg, +44 79 7953 4968,

World Meeting of Families 2018 - Brenda Drumm, 087 310 4444, Brenda.drumm@worldmeeting2018.ie 

Accompanying this press release

List of Prohibited Items

Dublin City Road Closures for Saturday and Sunday

Fingal Road Closures for Saturday and Sunday

National Transport Authority map for Dublin

TFI Map for Knock

National Transport Authority PowerPoint on transport options

National Transport Authority information note on public transport operators

Traffic Plan Information for Papal visit to Knock

An Garda Síochána Traffic plan information for Knock (Information note & PowerPoint)

An Garda Síochána Traffic plan information for Dublin (PowerPoint)

Information note on the Business & Community Liaison work

Bus Éireann extra services for Dublin and Knock

Chuairt an Phápa Proinseas  go Cnoc Mhuire

Iarrann na Gardaí ar gach duine a bheidh ag dul go dtí Cnoc Mhuire le haghaidh chuairt an Phápa Proinsias iompar poiblí (bus, bus príobháideach nó traein) a úsáid agus más gá duit tiomáint, déan carr-roinnt le do thoil.

Ní thabharfar cead ach do shealbhóirí ticéid amháin.