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Pope in Ireland

It's been 40 years since the last papal visit to Ireland, and Claire McCollum is there to join the celebrations for the historic visit of Pope Francis.

It's been 40 years since the last papal visit to Ireland, and Claire McCollum is there to join the celebrations for the historic visit of Pope Francis.

The Holy Father specially chose Dublin to host the World Meeting of Families 2018, the largest international gathering of families in the world. We meet up with the 100 strong group travelling from the Archdiocese of Birmingham to be part of the event and we're in Croke Park Stadium for the Festival of Families.

One of the places Pope Francis will visit is Knock Shrine and Sean Fletcher finds out what draws 1.5 million pilgrims there every year.

There's also another opportunity to see how Claire got on when she joined pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick, known as Ireland's holy mountain, on Reek Sunday. Claire finds out why some young Christians choose to climb barefoot, despite the mountain being covered in sharp stones.

There are hymns from Ireland and a performance of Amazing Grace by the group Celtic Woman, filmed on Clew Bay.

In Christ Alone - St Patrick's Church, Dungannon
Good Good Father - Green Pastures, Ballymena
Be Still and Know that I Am God - St Colmcille's, Holywood
Amazing Grace - Celtic Woman
Alleluia (Pachelbel's Canon) - The Priests
Now Thank We All Our God - St Patrick's Church, Dungannon.

35 minutes

Last on

Sun 26 Aug 2018 15:30


Pope Francis visits Ireland for the World Meeting of Families
Claire McCollum joins the 100 strong group who have travelled from the Archdiocese of Birmingham to be in Dublin for the World Meeting of Families 2018. She speaks to Cardinal Kevin Farrell the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.

Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage
Each year on the last Sunday of July, known as ‘Reek Sunday’ in Ireland, around twenty five thousand people climb up Croagh Patrick mountain in memory of St Patrick.   But the true start is further inland.   Ballintubber Abbey was built in 1216 and is traditionally the starting point of the pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick 20 miles west of the Abbey.  Legend has it that in 441 AD, St Patrick spent the 40 days of Lent fasting on the top of the mountain.  On his journey home, he stopped at an ancient spring to baptise converts.  Shortly afterwards, pilgrimages began and the abbey was built on the site of the well in the 13th century.

Knock Shrine
On the 21st August, 1879 at approximately 8 o’clock in the evening, people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo witnessed an apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church. The witnesses watched the apparition in the pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision. There were fifteen official witnesses to the apparition, most of whom were from the village of Knock and surrounding areas and ranged in age from age 5 to 74 years old. Each of the witnesses gave testimonies to a Commission of Enquiry in October 1879.

Sean Fletcher visited the shrine where Father Richard Gibbons explained the story to him. Next door to the shrine is a remarkable basilica, built in 1976.  It’s recently undergone extensive refurbishment and it’s hoped  that Pope Francis will visit on his trip.  The highlight of Knock Basilica is the spectacular mosaic depicting the Knock Apparition scene of 1879. The mosaic is the largest of its kind in Europe, comprising 1.5 million pieces of individual mosaic tiles.  The entire mosaic, took more than two years to make and took over eight months to piece together in Italy before being transported in over 300 sections to Knock. The mosaic is a ‘Beacon of Light and Hope for pilgrims’ (Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary) and was developed under ‘Witness to Hope’, a major renewal project at Knock Shrine.


Role Contributor
Presenter Claire McCollum
Presenter Sean Fletcher
Executive Producer Emyr Afan
Executive Producer Cat Lewis
Producer Charlotte Hindle
Producer Matthew Napier
Production Company Avanti Media