AA Roadwatch go to Electric Picnic

Esther O’Moore Donohoe of AA Roadwatch gives her advice for festival goers heading to Stradbally this September.

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Electric Picnic takes place in Stradbally, County Laois this September from Friday the 2nd to Sunday the 4th. Headline acts this year include LCD Soundsystem, Lana del Ray, The Chemical Brothers, New Order and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. If you’re thinking to yourself ‘but I want more Esther’ , there are also food demonstrations, a dedicated children’s area and an excellent comedy tent where Dylan Moran, Aisling Bea and Rubberbandits will perform.

I’ve been to EP a few times but the closest I’ve gotten to camping was sleeping in the back of a HiAce van. Last year was my favourite by far as I was broadcasting and interviewing bands. More importantly, I had access to the fancy loos which is the dream at a festival.

Electric Picnic has been sold out for months but if you’re lucky enough to have gotten a ticket, here’s what you need to know about getting to Stradbally.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Getting There” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]It’s not rock and roll but it is important to plan your journey in advance and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the festival site. If heavy rain is forecast on the day you’re heading down, this usually means more people will take the car and in turn, could mean longer delays. If you are travelling down after work on the Friday, keep in mind you’ll be coming into rush hour traffic so be prepared for this.

Our new and improved AA Routeplanner is fed live traffic information from AA Roadwatch so you can see what the traffic is like on your route plus any incidents that may add to your journey time.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Car”][vc_column_text]On the M7, both northbound and southbound traffic can exit at Junction 16 Portlaoise East towards Broomfield Roundabout and onto the Stradbally Road before following signage. Northbound exit at Junction 17 Portlaoise Centre and follow signage.

From the M8 northbound motorists can exit at Junction 3 Rathdowney (Abbeyleix) and follow signage through Ballacolla, Abbeyleix, Ballyroan and onto the site.

On the N80 via Carlow, travel straight to Stradbally. Motorists can also travel to the event via the Stradbally/ Athy Rd (R428). All routes leading to designated parking areas for the event are clearly sign-posted and patrons are urged to follow these routes to avoid unnecessary delay and traffic disruption.  Gardaí will be on point duty.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Car Parking”][vc_column_text]

There are multiple car parks on site for ticket holders and parking is free of charge.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Disabled Access Car Parking “][vc_column_text]According to the EP website, there will be two different car parks for those camping and for day attendees. Day ticket holders should park in Car Park Z and those camping should park adjacent to the disabled campsite. Pre-registered customers will be sent route information in advance.  Spaces will be available to attendees who have pre-registered to use the facility. Please note car parking passes will not be issued until approximately 1 week before the event. The disabled day car park is the closest public car park to the site but keep in mind that it is still some distance from the event entrance.

There will be a designated disabled access campsite which will have accessible toilets, fridges (should medication need to be stored) and electrical hook ups for wheelchair charging. Each disabled customer may have up to three people camping with them, and one car. There will be dedicated stewards in the disabled campsite providing 24 hour cover.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Bus-ing it to The Picnic” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Marathon Coaches”][vc_column_text]The bus service will start from 8am on Friday 2nd with buses departing George’s Quay every 30 minutes until 6pm that day. On Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th, buses will depart at 10am, 11am and midday.

The full return bus fare costs €25 but you can avail of a reduced fare online of €22.50 until 5pm on Wednesday 31st Aug.

You’re strongly recommended to book online in advance to ensure you get the correct bus departure time

Return Buses will start departing the festival site from 8pm on Sunday 4th and will run until 1pm on Monday 5th September.

You can choose your own departure and return time during the booking process.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Bus Eireann”][vc_column_text]Bus Éireann will be operating a number of return services from Custom House Quay in Dublin throughout the weekend.

From Custom House Quay to Stradbally

The Friday service departs from ​7.30am to 18.00pm with services running every 30 minutes​. The Saturday and Sunday services leaves Custom House Quay at 10am, 11am, midday and 1pm.

From Dublin Airport to Stradbally

A Friday bus departs at 2pm.

From Stradbally to Custom House Quay, Dublin

On Saturday, buses departs from 11pm, midnight and 1am while on Sunday, they leave at midday and every 30mins from 8:30pm until 2am. On Monday then, they depart every 30mins from 5am to 1:30pm.

Buy tickets now

From Parnell Place, Cork serving Fermoy, Mitchelstown and Cahir to Stradbally

On Friday, the bus departs Parnell Place in Cork City at 8am, Fermoy (McCuratin Street) at 8:35am, Mitchelstown (The Square) at 8:50am and Cahir (Castle Street) 9.:20am

The return service on Monday departs Stradbally at midday. Tickets cost €40 return and can be bought from online or from the Travel Centre at Parnell Place Bus Station in Cork City. Call (021) 4508188

From Galway to Stradbally

The Friday service departs Galway Bus Station at midday.


On Monday, the Galway bus leaves Stradbally at 10am. Tickets cost €35 return and can be bought from Bus Éireann Travel Centre in Eyre Square, Galway City. Call (091) 562000[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Kelly Travel”][vc_column_text]

Kelly Travel will be offering a range of services from Cork, Limerick and Tipperary to Stradbally for both weekend attendees and Sunday attendees. You can view the locations, service times and book tickets here.

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JJ Kavanaghs will operate a direct bus service from Ulster Bank, Georges Quay to Stradbally on Friday 2nd September. There will also be returns bus on Sunday 4th and Monday 5th September. Tickets cost €25 return and can be bought here.

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AA Patrols will be on standby in the Stradbally area over the weekend to deal with festival breakdowns. AA Membership is available for as little as €8.25 per month and offers 24/7 emergency cover so you’ll never get stuck in the mud. See here for more.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”21497″ title=”Pro-Tips from the Roadwatchers” title_size=”60″]

When I polled my Roadwatch colleagues for festival tips, one emailed straight back telling me I had a typo in my email so we were off to a great start

[/image_with_text_over][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]You should download The AA Routeplanner app of course, to help plan your trip to Stradbally. On the map app, you can see what route is heaviest on the way to the festival, approximately how long your journey will take and estimated fuel costs which is bound to get you in the mood to party.

Esther ‘Best Roadwatcher’ O’Moore Donohoe.

My advice is to bring lots of socks. They stop your wellies from rubbing up against your leg and if it rains having a few spares means you can keep your feet dry and toasty. You can also use them as gloves* if you get cold whilst camping and if you need to wipe your hands (say if you spill your bottle of sparkling water** all over yourself). Socks are your friends in emergencies.

Arwen Foley, Roadwatch Editor

*Arwen has called these HocksⓇ (hand socks).

**Arwen’s eye twitched here

If it’s your first time going to Electric Picnic, you do not need to bring a massive tent and large suitcase. We made this mistake going to our first outdoor festival and it was a real pain. We also packed way too many cereal bars, crackers and snacks. No matter how many cereal bars you bring to ‘save money’, you’re inevitably going to pay €10 for a greasy hot dog at 2am

Sharron Lynskey, Broadcaster, researcher, typo corrector.

I have never been to Electric Picnic or any similar festival. I’ve only ever been to Summer Madness, a Christian festival in King’s Hall, Belfast which I attended in ’06 and ’07.

Ruth Jephson

Who needs a carryall or a suitcase? A bin bag is your best friend at a festival. You can even use it to fill it up with more bin bags. Bin bags for everyone! I should also mention that a black bin bag can be used as a black bin bag. Genius.

Rachel Murray