Applications open today for free Inter Rail tickets for 18-year-olds

140 tickets are available for Irish people as part of a pilot scheme

Applications open today for free Inter Rail tickets for 18-year-olds

Gare du Nord railway station in Paris. Picture by: David Jones/PA Archive/PA Images

Applications are opening today for Irish 18-year-olds hoping for a free Inter Rail pass.

The new DiscoverEU initiative aims to allow young people to travel all around Europe.

140 free passes for 18-year-olds have been allocated to Ireland this year, with a total of 15,000 available for all EU member states as part of the pilot scheme.

The application process - which begins at midday today - closes on June 26th, with anybody who will be 18 on July 1st eligible to apply.

EU politicians are hoping to expand the scheme in future years, in a bid to promote Europe to young people.

Those who receive the free tickets will be able to travel to up to four foreign country destinations within the EU, with the scheme covering trips made between July and September.

Irish MEP Brian Hayes explained: “The Irish ticket allocation may be small now but there are already plans to increase the number of tickets in future years if the project proves successful.

"Since the announcement of the project last year, I have received many enquiries from interested Irish citizens. I have no doubt that it will be a great success."

More details and the application forms are available online.