Teenagers across the EU, including ireland who turn 18 before next month (July) can get a free 30-day Interrail pass worth up to £400.
The Discover EU giveaway is being funded by the European Union.
Interrail was launched in 1972 with £27.50 tickets offering unlimited travel across Europe as part of a scheme by rail operators to tempt young Europeans to explore their home continent. The European Parliament and European Commission hope that those with perhaps the least opportunities to travel will have one of the most formative experience of their lives.
A further €700m has been pencilled in for the next seven years. The first application round for 15,000 tickets will take place this month between 12 June and 26 June. If successful, another 15,000 passes will be released in the second half of the year.
Ireland have been earmarked for 140 tickets, 2,500 t have been earmarked for Germany,and 1,960 for France. These allocations may change depending on take up from each member state.
Participants will be able to travel up to 30 days to up to four EU countries with rail and ferries included.
Their trip should be connected to a place with a specific value in terms of European cultural heritage, European sites, places of historic interest, specific social or cultural values and traditions.
Applicants will have to give reasons for why they should be awarded the Interrail pass and agree to act as European ambassadors by posting about their experiences on social media.
Discover EU sees the free rail passes as an investment in European cultural identity. The project conceives the idea of Europe to be “above all, about people connecting and sharing emotions.”
By providing free rail tickets, the EU would be helping enable Europeans to connect and share with people across the Union at a very early age. The people behind Discover EU also hope that the program will help “counter the current growth of populism” by helping young people experience the advantages of free movement, see the reality of neighbouring countries for themselves and explore what it is that unites Europeans.
If selected, participants would have to carry out their travel between the months of July and September of 2018.