Looking back at St John Paul II’s visit to Ireland
The last papal visit to Ireland drew the biggest crowds the country had witnessed at a single event.
It is almost 40 years since St John Paul II toured the country over three days.
It was the first visit by a pope to the country and an estimated 2.7 million people, or half the population of the island of Ireland, turned out to catch a glimpse of him.
The visit began in September 1979 when he arrived in Dublin and kneeled to kiss the ground.
During his trip, he also visited Drogheda, Galway, Knock and Maynooth.
The biggest event of the visit was a mass at the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park, Dublin, when more than a million people attended.
Health and safety restrictions for the closing papal Mass by Pope Francis this year will see a maximum of 500,000 people in attendance.
In Drogheda, 300,000 people, many of whom were from Northern Ireland, listened to St John Paul II as he appealed for an end to violence.
It had been hoped he would visit Armagh but it was not feasible due to security concerns in Northern Ireland at the time.
Knock, in the west of Ireland, was chosen to mark the centenary of reputed apparitions at Knock Shrine in 1897.
At a youth mass in Ballybritt, Co Galway, the pontiff declared: “Young people of Ireland, I love you,” words that are still remembered by Irish Catholics today.
In Maynooth, St John Paul II made an address to clergy and religious orders at St Patrick’s College.
During a short visit, he blessed the foundation stone of the new library named in his honour.
He also greeted the international press who were waiting in the assembly hall of the Dominican Convent Cabra in Dublin.
Video footage shows a group of journalists singing For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, as St John Paul II smiles and looks on.
He then announces there will be no speech and after a few words with journalists from Argentina and Poland he advises the media to get some rest. However, the journalists try to persuade him to sing.
During the three-day visit he delivered 22 homilies and addresses.
Picture: St John Paul II during his visit to Ireland in September 1979. (EMPICS Entertainment).Tags: 1897, 40 years, Argentina, Armagh, Ballybritt, Co Galway, Dominican Convent Cabra, Drogheda, dublin, For He's A Jolly Good Fellow, Galway, Ireland, journalists, knock, Knock Shrine, library, Maynooth, Northern Ireland, Papal Cross, Phoenix Park, Poland, pontiff, Pope Francis, September 1979, St John Paul II, St Patrick's College, violence, visit