Northern Ireland news

Detailed map released to help people navigate Pope's mass in Phoenix Park

The World Meeting of Families released a map displaying colour coded routes through Phoenix Park for the Pope's closing mass
Áine Quinn

A DETAILED plan of Phoenix Park has been released for the Pope's Mass next weekend, to help people navigate Ireland's biggest event in almost 40 years.

With half a million people expected to attend the ticketed event, the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) has released the map to to allow people to plan their entry to, and exit from, the park.

The map marks the various gates leading to the park, and it provides colour coded routes allowing people to plan the easiest journey to their seats.

Click here for a full-sized map

Pope Francis will visit the Republic on August 25 and 26 as part of the World Meeting of Families, which the Catholic Church holds every three years.

It will be the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass with over one million people in Phoenix Park in September 1979.

The WMOF has urged the public to use public transport, for their own "safety and comfort". The organisers warned that people will not be able to drive to, or close to, the Phoenix Park on Sunday 26th August.

They added that public transport and coaches will be given priority, allowing for a shorter walk to the park, however they said that people can still expect to walk more than four miles.

In anticipation of high numbers of people attending the papal mass, 250,000 extra train journeys have been planned by Iarnód Éireann for the day, alongside a number of specialised cross-border trains planned by Translink.

The WMOF said that attendees should allow at least eight hours to attend the event. They said that people should be prepared for the 75 minute walk from the transport hubs to the park gates, a further 60 minutes to queue at those gates and another 60 minutes to walk to the designated seating areas in the park.

Meanwhile, a clerical abuse victim is to organise a demonstration following the announcement that Pope Francis may not meet victims of church sexual abuse in Ireland.

Colm O'Gorman said: "It is staggering on the part of the Vatican, they can't even be bothered to go through the motions of making it appear that this matters to them.

"It's become a trope, he goes to a country and has a confidential meeting and releases a statement about how moved he was by victim testimony, expresses sorrow and regret and we move on.

"I'm not sure that meeting would've had any value anyway, but the idea that it's an afterthought, that is utterly unacceptable."

Mr O'Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, was repeatedly raped by a local priest in Co Wexford for three years, beginning just a year after Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland in 1979, when he was 13.

The protest will be held in the Garden of Remembrance on Sunday August 26 at 3pm

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