On 29th January the Football Association of Ireland announced that, following talks with the UEFA, an extra allocation of tickets for Euro 2016 had been made available for Republic of Ireland supporters. The 1,200 extra tickets are in addition to the 6,502 extra tickets announced on 26th January and will be for the three Group E games (400 each game) against Sweden (Monday 13th June in Paris), Belgium (Saturday 18th June in Bordeaux), and Italy (Wednesday 22nd June in Lille).
There are now 33,702 tickets available for Republic of Ireland supporters across the three matches – 16,487 for Ireland v Sweden, 7,495 for Belgium v Ireland, 9,720 for Italy v Ireland – but more than 275,000 tickets have been applied for, with each fixture heavily over-subscribed.
Nevertheless, a huge number of supporters will be travelling without match tickets to join in the craic and watch the matches on big screens. So how will they get there? While several companies are offering flight or coach packages (some with, some without match tickets), many supporters will be looking to make their own sail+rail arrangements.
Sail to France
With two ships on three routes – Dublin-Cherbourg, Rosslare-Cherbourg and Rosslare-Roscoff – Irish Ferries offers the widest choice and most capacity.
The Epsilon will operate three sailings in prior to the matches, departing Dublin Port for Cherbourg on Saturdays at 15.30 on 2nd, 9th and 16th June, with two-berth and four-berth en-suite cabins, all with free wi-fi, air conditioning and TV. However, capacity is limited and demand is high so your clients will need to book early.
The Oscar Wilde will operate five Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings, departing at 15.30 on Sunday 5th, Tuesday 7th, Monday 13th, Sunday 19th and Tuesday 21st June, and six Rosslare-Roscoff sailings, departing at 16.00 on Wednesday 1st, Friday 3rd, Thursday 9th, Saturday 11th, Wednesday 15th and Friday 17th June. There is a wide range of air conditioned en-suite cabins from 2-star to 4-star and with two, three or four beds, as well as 12 5-star luxury cabins with double bed suite and three premium suite luxury cabins with king-size double bed.
Rail in France
SNCF, the national rail network of France, has reserved many seats for all the Euro 2016 matches so the best option for Irish travel agents is to open an account with Voyages-sncf on its dedicated website, www.voyages-sncf.eu
Sample journey times and fares relevant for Ireland’s matches are:
Roscoff to Paris (indirect via Morlaix): 5h0m. From €53.
Cherbourg to Paris (direct): 3h10m. From €28.
Paris to Bordeaux (direct): 3h15m. From €40.
Bordeaux to Lille (direct): 5h0m. From €80.
Lille to Paris (direct): 1h0m. From €20.
Lille to Roscoff (indirect via Paris then Morlaix): 6h30m. From €60.
Lille to Cherbourg (indirect via Paris): 5h15m. From €40.
A France Rail Pass provides extensive travel on the national rail network of France. Your clients can choose a continuous-day pass for 2, 4, 5, 8 or 15 travel days; or a flexi pass offering choice of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 days within a one-month period or 15 days within a two-month period. Special rates are available for two or more people traveling together, children, youth and seniors.
The Rail Pass covers trains that are operated by SNCF, the national railway of France. Reservations are required for almost all domestic, international and night trains, are an additional cost to the Rail Pass and can be requested within 90 days of the travel date. Reservations are required when traveling on high-speed trains such as the TGV. There are no restrictions when traveling on TER trains – you can simply board with your Rail Pass and take any open seat.