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The bluffer’s guide to getting to Dublin

Sport

NOTHING BEATS BEING THERE Mayo fans displaying their support during the pre-match parade before the drawn All-Ireland Football Final.
Pic: Sportsfile

Edwin McGreal

Driving to Dublin
How?
DO you go east via Longford, Athlone or Galway? It depends on which part of the county you are in. Those in south Mayo tend to join the motorway at Galway these days while it’s a toss of a coin between all three for anyone in Westport or Castlebar. North Mayo fans tend to hit east via Longford. If you’re not sure, talk to people going from your neck of the woods about whether you should go to Galway or cut across at Corrandulla; go to Athlone via Ballyhaunis or take the back route via Cloonfad; take the bypass in Longford or just go straight through the town. Us? We’d take the latter of each option for each of those routes.
With Saturday traffic and the possibility of the bus strike (still due to go ahead as of Wednesday afternoon, the time of writing), taking the M50 and coming down the N2 or N1 into Drumcondra might be better advised than driving into the city and heading north either via Islandbridge or the Quays. Regardless of the strike, allow extra time for Saturday traffic.

Pros
YOU are your own boss. Leave Mayo when you want and return when you want rather than being tied to a train or bus timetable. Particularly convenient if you are staying over and unsure what the extent of your hangover will be. Better again if you have someone to share the driving with.

Cons
TRAFFIC, particularly if the Dublin Bus strike goes ahead. It will be hard to get on the road with ease within two hours of the final whistle and getting parking will not be straightforward either. However, the evening throw-in leaves you plenty of time on Saturday morning to get on the road.

Useful reference points
FOR parking, check out the likes of the Mater Private car park, O’Connell School and Clonliffe College (no exit for 45 minutes after the game). For a full list of options see crokepark.ie/getting-here/match-concert-parking
If you’re using the M50, don’t forget to pay the roll. For convenience, registering your car in advance on eflow.ie and having the cost automatically debited from your bank account could be the best option.
Plenty of Mayo fans park up in Maynooth or Leixlip and get the train directly to Drumcondra Station. It can be a very convenient option to avoid Dublin traffic and still have the freedom to leave at a time convenient to you. Ensure you have a secure, day-long parking spot and be prepared for big crowds on the train. The train departs roughly once an hour. For times see irishrail.ie.

Food
D’UNBELIEVABLES advocated having the dinner at 8am to ‘have a clear run of the day’. For those who prefer to have their dinner at more appropriate times, eating in Dublin before you hit the road after the game could be the best way to let traffic away.
Otherwise, there’s plenty of well-known establishments on the route west. Supermac’s in Ballinalack and Luigi’s in Longford might be the two busiest chippers in the country on Saturday night, while the famous Feerick’s of Rathowen and Keenan’s in Tarmonbarry might be more appropriate for you if you are looking for your meat and two veg.

Train
How?
SPECIAL trains are leaving Saturday morning, stopping at all six stations in Mayo and then, after Ballyhaunis, going directly to Dublin.
The special trains (there appears to be more than one) will depart from Westport at 10.05am, Castlebar at 10.17am, Claremorris at 10.36am and Ballyhaunis at 10.50am. Those trains will arrive at Heuston Station at 1.30pm.
Trains will depart Ballina at 9.05am, Foxford at 9.15am and also stopping at Claremorris at 9.42am and Ballyhaunis at 9.56am. Those trains will arrive at Heuston at 12.25pm.
The return trains will depart Heuston Station at 8.50pm for Westport and 9.10pm to Ballina.
Normal train times operate on Sunday for those over-nighting. More details on www.irishrail.ie. Advance booking required.

Pros
THE work is done for you. Sit back, read the papers, get in the mood for the game and just worry about getting from Heuston Station to Croke Park and back after.

Cons
DEPENDING on the outcome, the train home could be funereal or jubilant beyond imagination. There’ll be no avoiding either atmosphere, and if you’re in the mood for a party if Mayo win, the train could be the best place in the land. If you’d sooner a low-key celebration, it may not be your cup of tea. The usual sagas with getting into your reserved seats could be an issue too.

Bus
How?
PRIVATE fan buses are leaving from all over Mayo – keep your ear to the ground for a bus from your area. Citylink or GoBus (both from Galway) might be an option for some. It’s a two-and-a-half hour trip to the Quays and they depart every hour. Booking in advance is essential though.

Pros
YOU will be guaranteed a seat. Unlike the train, there will not be tickets sold beyond the seating capacity. You will be able to sit back and relax while others are concentrating on driving. The way down could be great fun if Mayo win, especially if you are on a bus full of fans.

Cons
GETTING mired in the traffic in Dublin could throw your arrival time out of kilter. If you’re on a pub bus on the way down, the stops could be more regular than you had planned. But that may not be a bad thing.

Around Croke Park
GARDAÍ have also issued crowd control directives which supporters need to be aware of around Croke Park itself.
It will be difficult for fans to access Jones’ Road (immediately west of the Hogan Stand) after the game so post-game meeting points should avoid this area.
There will be strictly no entry onto Jones’ Road from Clonliffe Road and North Circular Road for 30 minutes after the match ends.
The only patrons that will be allowed onto Jones’ Road are ticket-holders for the Hogan Stand, Hogan Premium and Nally Terrace.
Supporters exiting the stadium at Russell Street Bridge (behind the corner of the Hogan and Davin Stands, crossing the Royal Canal) will be directed to turn left for Gill’s Junction (North Circular Road), no right turn will be permitted towards Clonliffe Road. ?Fans exiting the Nally Terrace and G Turnstiles of Hogan Stand must turn right towards Clonliffe Road.
Supporters parked in the Clonliffe College car-park are advised to remain in the stadium after the game, as cars parked in that car-park will not be permitted to leave Clonliffe College until 45 minutes after the game.
Supporters should stayed tuned to news announcements later this week about traffic management plans for Saturday’s game.

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