Friday the 26th of February the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Free transport promise for the World Meeting of Families – but prepare to queue!

Pilgrims travelling by public transport to Dublin’s Phoenix Park for the Mass conducted by Pope Francis will not have to pay for their journey.

An Garda Siochana unveiled the transport and security plans for the papal visit at Dublin Castle.

The Holy Father visits Dublin and Knock on the weekend of 25th and 26th August as part of the World Meeting of Families 2018.

The pope will visit the Apostolic Nunciature on the Navan Road and the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless in Dublin on 25th August, before an evening Mass in Croke Park.

On the morning of Sunday, 26th August, he will visit Knock Shrine and Church before heading to Phoenix Park for Mass in the afternoon.

Tim Gaston, director of public transport services at the NTA, said: “Every bus, train and tram is being used for this event. 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.”

It is understood the NTA will reimburse the transport services for lost revenue on the day.

More than 500,000 people are expected to attend Dublin’s Phoenix Park for the Papal Mass, the equivalent of seven All-Ireland football final spectator crowds.

Gardai were not willing to discuss numbers of guards being deployed for the visit, but noted there would be a “significant number” of security forces on the ground and say they are planning appropriately.

The World Meeting of Families will hold daily Mass in the RDS in Dublin and expects up to 37,000 visitors per day, while the Croke Park event will see around 80,500.

After the Mass, visitors are warned that from their standing position in the park to where they meet their coach or train could take up to four hours.

Both Gardai and the NTA were keen to emphasise that Dublin will be open for business over the four days, and they were working with business owners and local residents to ensure as little disruption as possible.

Picture: The Papal cross in Dublin’s Phoenix park. (Brian Lawless/PA).