3) Festival of Families

Festival of Families (Saturday 25th August 2018)

Click here to access Pope Francis addresses, texts and homilies during his Apostolic Visit to Ireland for WMOF2018.

One of the most significant and beautiful events within every World Meeting of Families is the Festival of Families, a very special concert-type event which, at its heart, celebrates families and their faith from all around the world.  It will be a warm, moving, deeply engaging and unforgettable experience – a very special occasion to attend in person or watch from around the world.

Festival of Families in Philadelphia - Credit Archdiocese of Philadelphia

On the evening of Saturday, 25th August, WMOF2018 will welcome Pope Francis and over 70,000 people to share the joy of the Festival of Families celebrations in Croke Park Stadium. This two-hour festival is choreographed as a celebration of family life and will be one of the highlights of the WMOF2018, with music, song, dance, and spoken word.

Doors open at 4pm
Festival of Families starts at 6:30pm

Pope Francis will deliver an address to all assembled and will hear five testimonies by families from Ireland, Canada, India, Iraq, and Africa. They will be sharing how their families have sustained and nourished them with hope and love through the most challenging and momentous times of their lives. Their testimonies will focus on forgiveness, strength, and hope in family life; the intergenerational nature of families today; and the impact of technology on family life.

The selection of themes reflects many of the priorities in the ministry of Pope Francis, including homelessness and those on the margins; migrants and refugees; care for our common home; and the importance of the family, peace, and love throughout the world. The stage design for the event will include a “circle of encounter”, where families will sit with Pope Francis to watch some of the presentations on stage.

The Festival of Families also brings together an exciting line-up of creative and performance talent in a cast of thousands, featuring a host of contemporary Irish and international singers, performers, choirs, musicians, dancers, as well as hundreds of volunteers, together creating a unique experience.

The programme includes community-based artists as well as some well-known local and international artists, joined by an orchestra of over 50 musicians; over 700 Irish, sean nós and contemporary dancers, including 500 from Irish dance schools across the country; a 1,000 strong choir; 100 community groups; and 300 flag bearers. It also features Andrea Bocelli, The Riverdance Troupe, Nathan Carter, Dana Masters, Daniel O’Donnell, Celine Byrne, The Begley Family, Holy Family Deaf Choir & Deaftones, Patrick Bergin, The Priests, Paddy Moloney, Bridgie and Missy Collins, and Moya Brennan.

Even more acts will be announced closer to the event, and there’ll be a couple of surprise appearances on the night!

The festival takes place in Croke Park, the principal stadium and headquarters of Ireland's largest sporting and cultural organisation, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). It is one of Europe’s largest stadiums, located right in the heart of Dublin City, a 20-minute walk from the main thoroughfare. 

Tickets for the Festival of Families

This is a free ticketed event. Every person in attendance will require a ticket to access the venue. Tickets are booked out for this event.

Festival of Families Access and Safety Information

Download print-friendly PDF of Access and Safety Information for Festival of Families here.

Doors open: 16:00
Event starts: 18:30
Event end: 21:00

Please note: Times are subject to change. Due to increased security measures patrons are advised to be at the venue in sufficient time.
Important: No queuing allowed prior to gate opening.

No overnight or early queuing allowed before the Festival of Families doors open.
If pilgrims do turn up they will be turned away at restricted area points around the Stadium. Queuing in streets around the Stadium will cause disruption to local residents and we appeal to patrons to heed this advice and respect the community living in the vicinity of the stadium.  

For Your Safety

  • Do not bring backpacks or large handbags. There will be no cloakroom or storage facilities on site. Bags must not be left at entrances or surrounding areas. Any items left will be removed and disposed of accordingly.
  • This is a fully seated stadium with no roof and will take place rain or shine. Please check weather conditions and dress appropriately but remember no umbrellas.
  • A ticket is required for every person attending including children and babies. Show your ticket at the ticket barrier outside the ground for inspection.
  • Strict security checks will be in operation. Pilgrims are especially advised not to bring backpacks or large handbags as you may be refused entry or experience delays on entry. (Check full list of prohibited items below)
  • There is no cloakroom service available.
  • Glass or cans, umbrellas, alcohol, selfie sticks, flares will not be permitted. (Check full list of prohibited items below)
  • No professional cameras or cameras with a detachable lens, video cameras & audio recording devices, iPads or GoPros.
  • Obey the stewards and An Garda Síochána (Irish police) and instructions given over the public address for your own safety.
  • Don’t rush to exits after the concerts.
  • Parents are advised to bring ear protection for all children especially those under 5 years old. 
  • Allow additional time to get through security checks
  • There are no re-admissions to the concert.
  • World Meeting of Families and An Garda Síochána reserve the right to refuse admission to anyone under the influence of alcohol.

Searching is a condition of entry to protect your safety and that of others.   

Due to increased security measures we strongly advise you allow sufficient time to get through security checks to gain entry to the venue in a safe and timely manner. To ensure as smooth an access as possible and to avoid any unnecessary delays we strongly suggest that you bring as little as possible with you to the event and minimize jackets and additional layers when possible. To avoid disappointment do not bring backpacks or larger hand bags, you may be refused admission to the venue.

We recommend if you are bringing personal bag, purses or clutch bag, you should only bring those of smaller sizes i.e. those measuring no greater than A5, everyone will be subject to a search. We will also conduct additional further security searches of clothing, bags and other items, as determined by us in our reasonable discretion, including on entry and exit.

If you have any general queries or accessible requests that has not been addressed in the event information provided. 

If during the event you have a query or wish to provide feedback in relation to the event 

Please contact a steward promptly and request directions to the nearest Customer care /ticket information point. If you are not satisfied with the assistance or response that you have been given, it is your responsibility to request to speak to a member of World Meeting of Families 2018 staff at the event. We are dedicated to delivering a high level of customer service but it is much more difficult for World Meeting of Families 2018 to resolve an issue once the event has passed.


We encourage all to walk, bike, or use public transportation to the show, but if you must drive, please carpool. Pope Francis will arrive into Dublin at 10:30 on Saturday 25th and there will be road closures in place at various times during the day. You will need to plan your journey and give yourself extra time due to diversions or road closures. Please check www.dublincity.ie/main-menu-services-roads-and-traffic-current-roadworks-temporary-road-closures/papal-visit-saturday for details.  Allow at least an extra 2 hours travel time to & from the venue.

As traffic and parking delays are inevitable you are strongly advised to use public transport. (Bus, dart or luas) www.dublinbus.ie www.irishrail.ie www.luas.ie 

There are no parking facilities available locally. 

Coach parking for groups traveling to Croke Park Stadium is only available at Dublin Docklands. Coaches should approach by Alexandra road only, entrance to parking is on left hand side as you enter Alexandra road. Coach parking is open from 10am, passengers can get the Luas to city centre. From 2pm there will also be a free shuttle transfer to Mountjoy Square 3 minutes’ walk to the stadium. Return coach from Mountjoy square immediately after the event.

Approach Routes 

Croke park is bordered by Clonliffe road, Ballybough road and North Circular road. Check your ticket for details of your seat location and plan your approach to the venue. 

  • Hogan stand via Jones road and Russell street – Blue route
  • Cusack stand via St James avenue and Foster terrace – Red route
  • Davin stand via St Margaret’s terrace – Yellow route 
  • Pitch 1 via Josephs avenue – Green route
  • Pitch 2 & 3 - via St James avenue and Foster Terrace - Red route

Age Restrictions 

  • All Under 16’s attending the concert MUST be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian.
  • Guardians must remain with under 16’s and take full responsibility for them throughout the event.

Strict age monitoring will be in place at all entrances. 
World Meeting of Families 2018 reserves the right to refuse admission to anyone who fails to comply.

Accessible Customers 

Those who registered their RDS Pastoral Programme wheelchair access requirement will have received a specific ticket and information about  access to LIMITED ACCESSIBLE PARKING. Please email disabilityaccess@worldmeeting2018.ie for further information.

Dowload PDF of map here.

Festival of Families Prohibited Items:
- Air horns
- Animals (other than registered guide dogs)
- Alcohol
- Any item which may reasonably be considered for use as a weapon
- Banners of any size
- Bicycles
- Cans
- Camping/Cooking Equipment
- Cooler Boxes or Large Containers
- Crash Helmets or Protective Headwear, or Protective Clothing
- Deckchairs, Garden Furniture, Blow Up Furniture, Folding Armchairs, Shooting Sticks Stools
- Drones
- Excessive Amounts of Batteries, Wires, Cables or Electrical Components
- Fireworks and Flares
- Flagpoles
- Glass Bottles
- Illegal Substances/Illegal Merchandise of Any Description
- Large Prams
- Large umbrellas
- Large Chains, Spiked Bracelets or Wallet Chains
- Large Banners, Flags, Placards or Posters Including Sticks
- Laser/Laser Pens
- Mobility Scooters
- Selfie Sticks
- Smoke Cannisters
- Sound systems
- Spray Cans

Contact Us

WMOF2018 Office

Holy Cross Diocesan Centre,

Clonliffe Road, Dublin 3, Ireland

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