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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019
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Your bumper guide to getting around Dublin during the Pope's visit

The scale of closures and diversions are unlike any seen in the city in recent times.

ALMOST 40 YEARS on from the last papal visit, Pope Francis is set to touch down in Dublin Airport this morning for a two-day visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

With visits to Dublin Castle, Croke Park, Knock and the Phoenix Park on the agenda, the Pope will be kept busy as hundreds of thousands travel through the capital to see the pontiff.

Mass road closures and diversions in Dublin took place in recent years for the visits of Queen Elizabeth II and then-US President Barack Obama, but the ones in place for Pope Francis are on a different scale entirely.

Here’s what you need to know.

Saturday

pope itinerary 1

Pope Francis is due to arrive at Dublin Airport at 10.30am, before an official welcome at Áras an Uachtaráin.

At midday, he’s due to go to Dublin Castle where he will give a speech. From there it’s a visit to St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral at 3.30pm before a visit to the day centre for homeless families of the Capuchin Fathers.

At 7.30pm, he’s due to arrive at Croke Park where he will give a speech at the Festival of Families.

Road closures

There are a lot of them, particularly in and around Croke Park.

Initially, for the Pope’s arrival to Dublin, there will road closures in the Fingal area from 6am until 12pm. This includes the R108 from the roundabout (between the R122 and the L3215) to Kilreesk Road (L3132 St Margaret’s Bypass).

Then, there a number of roads in and around the city that will be closed for periods through the day, including O’Connell Street, Dame Street and the quays.

closed roads

And here’s a full list of the times these roads will be closed from and to (if the images below are difficult to read – here’s a link).

temporary road closures saturday

temporary road closures saturday 2

temporary road closures saturday 3

There are also a number of parking restrictions in place on a number of roads, including Sean McDermott Street, Abbey Street, Eden Quay, Bow Street, Church Street and North King Street.

Emergency routes will be maintained, while local access will be facilitated as far as possible.

Public transport

Dublin Bus services will be severely curtailed. You can find the full list here.

There are diversions for the 40, 46a, 13, 16, 25a/b, 27, 83/a, 66, 67 and others all as they hit town.

This is primarily due to the closure of Lord Edward Street to George’s Street junction, the north and south quays, Dame Street, O’Connell Street and Church Street.

The Luas will run a normal service on the Red and Green lines until 10.30am.

From 11am to 5pm, the Abbey Street stop on the Red Line will be closed. And, from 3.15pm to 5pm, services will be operating from Tallaght/Saggart to Smithfield, and from the Point to Connolly.

There will be no service between Busáras and the Four Courts.

On the Green Line, there will be no service between Dawson and Parnell from 10.30am to 5.30pm. Trams will operate from Brides Glen to St Stephen’s Green and from Dominick to Broombridge.

From 5.30pm onwards, both lines will operate a normal service.

Normal Saturday services are operating on most rail routes, with some extra late trains laid on.

Sunday

pope itinerary 2

The Pope starts Sunday with a trip back to Dublin Airport to catch the short flight to Knock.

He’s due to arrive at the Knock Shrine for 9.45am, before boarding a flight back to Dublin after 11am.

The mass in the Phoenix Park then takes place at 3pm before Pope Francis leaves Ireland on a flight for Rome at 6.45pm that evening.

Road closures

There are a lot more of them on Sunday.

Dublin City Council said: “There will be a secure area around Dublin, starting at the M50 from 6am to 11pm. If you are planning on using your car to access Dublin city, then you should be aware that there will be diversions/road closures and other restrictions in place on the day.”

It advised to use public transport where possible and leave plenty of time for journeys.

A large number of roads all around the Phoenix Park are closed to traffic from early Sunday morning, including most of Ballyfermot, Chapelizod, Castleknock, Navan Road, Islandbridge, and the north and south quays.

Over 80 roads are closed in all, and here’s the full list:

sunday road closures

sunday road closures 2

sunday road closures 3

road closures sunday 4

Again, if the images above are difficult to read – you’ll find a link to all the Sunday road info here.

There will be a restriction on access to the Phoenix Park, and the public is urged to be aware that intermittent road closures can be implemented by gardaí in Dublin throughout the two days.

Public transport

Anyone attending the mass in the Phoenix Park is strongly advised to take public or group transport to the event.

These forms of transport will bring people closest to the park. Depending on the ticket you have, there is a recommended entrance to take to the park to avoid congestion.

There are eight designated entrances:

  • Yellow – Castleknock gate
  • Grey – Knockmaroon gate
  • Orange – Chapelizod gate
  • Light blue – Islandbridge gate
  • Red – city gate
  • Green – north gate
  • Navy – Dunard gate
  • Purple – Ashtown gate

These entrances correspond to the traffic routes designated for the day. There are designated Dublin Bus hubs on these routes that will assist in transporting people as close as is possible to the park.

pope francis pheno

pheno 2

Dublin Bus will be operating a Sunday service with additional early morning departures, alongside the transport hubs which begin from 8am and finish that night.

The hubs will run from Clarehall, Swords, Leopardstown, Grange Castle, Celbridge, Stocking Avenue and Tyrrelstown.

Diversions will be in place for a number of routes, while travel is free on all services for those with a Phoenix Park ticket.

Travel is also free on the Luas with a papal ticket, but there are disruptions to both lines.

The Red Line will operate from Tallaght/Saggart to Blackhorse and from the Point to Smithfield between 7am and 11pm. There’ll be no service between Blackhorse and Smithfield during this time.

The Green Line will operate from Brides Glen to Broombridge between 7am and 11.30pm, and passengers can walk via dedicated routes to the park from Broombridge.

The Phibsborough stop will be closed post-event between 3pm and 10pm.

People planning to take the Luas are being urged to give themselves plenty of time due to the high volume of people expected.

Pope Francis visit to Ireland Preparations earlier this week at the Phoenix Park Source: Laura Hutton/PA Wire

For Irish Rail, extra services have been provided, with free travel again for any passengers with a Phoenix Park ticket within the “short hop zone” only, from Sallins and Naas, Kilcock, Balbriggan and Kilcoole.

Maynooth services and Dart services will operate every 10 minutes before and after the mass.

Special park and ride hubs have also been set up for the event at Leopardstown racecourse, UCD Belfield, Maynooth University and Fairyhouse racecourse.

The eastern corridor of the city, with the M1, Port Tunnel and Eastlink bridge will remain accessible throughout the day.

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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