Last night I attended a packed public information meeting about the Papal Visit that took place in Prussia Street. A lot of presentations and information provided on slides – I’ve tried to summarize some of the key points relevant to Dublin 15/7.
Traffic restrictions for Dublin 15 and & 7 will be relatively minor on the Saturday, so the focus of this summary is the Sunday, when the Papal mass takes place in the Phoenix Park.
Road Closures and Local Access
A significant number of roads will be closed by both Fingal County Council in Castleknock and Laurel Lodge and by Dublin City Council along the Navan Road between 6am and 11pm. (see links above for specific roads). The Gardai have said they will permit local access “as far as possible”. The Chief-Super speaking at the meeting suggested that Gardai would be briefed to be reasonable at barriers and let people through who had emergencies, specific appointments or needed to get to the airport for flights, particularly if they had been notified. I have written to Blanchardstown Garda Station to get details on how residents in Castleknock and Laurel Lodge can notify Blanch Station if they need to leave/access their homes during this period. However, the impression I got is that, due to the huge crowds who will be accessing and exiting the Park between approximately 12noon and 6pm, I think it will be virtually impossible to use many of the roads in the area during this period (this is my own impressions).
During the period of road closures, access to areas of central Dublin City not closed will be via the M1 or the M2
All public transport services are operating as normal on Sunday. The National Transport Authority were very clear that no buses or trains were being cancelled. However, any bus running down the Navan Road (37, 38, 38a, 39, 39a, 70) will now be accessing the city via Finglas. Full details can be found on the Dublin Bus website here. So, Castleknock, parts of Laurel Lodge and the entire Navan Road area will not have a bus service on the Sunday.
The 120 is cancelled for the entirety of Sunda.
Nightlink services will operate as normal on the Saturday night.
For Irish Rail, the Docklands station will be closed on the Sunday, but other stations will be operating normally.
There will be some disruption to Luas services.
The organisers again emphasised that they are encouraging people to use public transport to get to Dublin. They have provided 17,000 parking spaces at ‘hubs’ around the edge of the city, that link to public transport to bring people in. These spaces have to be pre-booked. People who have seen the maps provided will have seen ‘Park & Ride’ mentioned at the N3 Parkway station, Coolmine, Clonsilla and Castleknock. I made the point at the meeting that there was no parking at Castleknock station, and the NTA accepted that this was a mistake and that the maps would be corrected on Wednesday (!!). The other park and ride stations will be available for people, without booking. They say they will put information out to the public about the number of spaces available at these, to try and manage demand.
The impression I got is that there’s a real risk that many people will drive to areas such and Dublin 15 and abandon their cars when they can get to further and walk. Hopefully I’m wrong here.
There is going to be a bicycle hub at a number of locations, including St. Brigids NS in Blanch village and Grangegorman DIT, where bikes can be parked. People will not be able to cycle bikes in passed the inner cordon.
The Mass starts at 3pm, with attendees being asked to be in their seats by 2pm. It will finish at 4:30pm, and the following 1.5 hours will be the most busy in terms of people leaving the Park. Attendees must enter/leave by designated routes according to their ticket colour. In Dublin 15/7, the routes are and numbers allocated are:
Castleknock Gate (Yellow Route) – 41,000
Ashtown Gate (Purple Route) – 59,000
Chapolizod Gate (Orange Route) – 63,000
This gives some indication of the scale of people expected to travel through these areas.
There is a general helpline – (01) 222 8888 for Business, Community and Traffic related Inquiries which is now live.