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Thousands of extra train journeys to Dublin planned ahead of Pope Francis' mass in Phoenix Park

The Papal Mass is anticipated to the biggest event in Ireland this year, with 500,000 people expected to attend. Picture by AP/Andrew Medichini
Áine Quinn

A QUARTER of a million extra train journeys will be made available for the Pope's upcoming visit to Ireland.

Iarnród Éireann will provide extra services for people travelling to Dublin's Phoenix Park for Pope Francis's closing Mass on August 26.

The Papal Mass is anticipated to be the biggest event in Ireland this year, with 500,000 people expected attend.

Extra trains will operate to Dublin from Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Rosslare and Waterford, alongside a high frequency DART and Commuter service.

There will also be special rail services from Westport, Ballina and Athlone to and from Claremorris for the Pope's Knock shrine event, including a free bus transfer.

However, Mass-goers have been warned to book their train tickets well in advance, as there will be no ticket sales on the day.

A spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann said: "We are looking forward to playing a major role in bringing customers to and from the World Meeting of Families events. The Phoenix Park Mass is the largest single event the country has hosted since Pope John Paul II visited in 1979.

"We cannot stress how essential it is for customers to book Intercity travel in advance - this will ensure that all can travel to and from the event in comfort."

The rail company's announcement of extra tickets has come after Organisers of the World Meeting of Families delayed the release of tickets to the Papal Mass, due to fears that Dublin's infrastructure would be unable to cope with the amount of people who plan to travel by car.

They are encouraging commuters planning to travel by car to change their plans and instead use public transport for their "safety and comfort."

Translink has also released details of special cross-border bus and coach services operating to and from Dublin to transport people to the various Papal events.

A dedicated web page has been set up where the public can buy tickets online, and find more information.

For further information visit http://www.irishrail.ie/popes-mass-phoenix-park-train-services and www.translink.co.uk/popeinireland/

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