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100,000 will line streets to witness 'popemobile' passing by


Opportunity: Pat Leahy

Opportunity: Pat Leahy

Opportunity: Pat Leahy

The faithful and punters alike will get a chance to see Pope Francis as he motors through the city centre in his 'popemobile' on Saturday.

Around 100,000 spectators are expected to line Dublin's O'Connell Street when the pontiff leaves the Pro Cathedral on neighbouring Marlborough Street at around 4.15pm.

His journey will take him from O'Connell Street and over O'Connell bridge to Westmoreland and Dame Streets, Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy revealed yesterday.

From there the pontiff will travel towards Christchurch Cathedral and down Bridge Street before crossing the River Liffey and travelling along Church Street before turning off on Bow Street, where he will meet with Brother Kevin Crowley, founder of the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless, and about 80 homeless people.

"This will be the first real opportunity for the public to see the Pope," Mr Leahy said.

Despite the closure of dozens of streets in and on the outskirts of the capital, he stressed that Dublin is not in "lockdown".

"We will facilitate people to move around as much as possible when it is safe to do so, the city is not in lockdown, but when we pull half-a-million people into that zone, it will become unsafe to put traffic into that mix," he told RTE Radio One's Today with Miriam O'Callaghan show yesterday.

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Despite the closure of many inner-city streets and thoroughfares during the 36-hour visit, Mr Leahy said major routes around the capital will remain open during the visit.

They include the Port Tunnel, the M50 - which will have some restrictions in place on Sunday - and the East Link bridge.

There will be specially-created park and ride hubs at Leopardstown Racecourse, UCD Belfield and Maynooth University.

Most of the road closures in Dublin will be on Sunday, as Pope Francis will be the main celebrant at the final Mass in Phoenix Park at 3pm.

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