Intercity rail users will have to book tickets in advance if they wish to travel on the day of the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Irish Rail has said.
The company says extra trains will operate on all intercity routes to and from Dublin including a high frequency Dart and Commuter service on Sunday August 26th.
In Mayo, the N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed to traffic from 12 midnight on Saturday August 25th for the Papal visit to Knock on Sunday morning and is due to re-open again at 3pm.
However, it may remain closed later than the scheduled 3pm on Sunday afternoon, if people opt in large numbers to travel to Knock by car.
The possible longer closure time of the N17 between Claremorris and Charlestown was outlined by Garda Superintendent Tom Calvey at a press conference in Knock last week.
He said that while the N17 is scheduled to be closed to traffic from midnight on Saturday the 25th to 3pm on the Sunday, that time frame will be extended if cars are parked along the N17.
91 percent of people applying for a ticket for the Pope’s visit to Knock have indicated last June that they will be arriving by car to the Shrine. If that happened, more than 20,000 cars will have to be parked, but the gardai are urging the public to avail of the public transport that is being provided or to come by private coach or bus to reduce the walking that will have to be done on the day.
Irish Rail is advising that intercity rail users will have to book tickets in advance if they want to travel on Sunday August 26th to the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
Capacity is to be stepped up to cater for up to 250,000 passenger journeys on the day.
The company is warning that advance booking of Intercity train travel “is mandatory” and applies to regular and extra services, morning and evening, whether the passenger is going to the Mass or not.
A spokesman stressed that intercity train tickets would not be available for sale on the day and that there would be no access for anyone who does not have a ticket or reservation.
Existing ticket holders, including free-travel-pass holders and season-ticket holders should also note an advance reservation is essential for travel, the company said.
In other Papal news this morning, people attending the papal mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park should make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
At least half a million people will descend on the capital for Pope Francis' mass on Sunday the 26th of August including visitors from over 116 countries.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre says any large gathering carries "unique health risks". It says in the current context of the ongoing measles spread in Europe, children in particular should be up to date with their jabs.