Knock Shrine

  • There’s a feeling of desolation at Knock Shrine today, according to the Parish Priest of the Shrine Fr Richard Gibbons

    The Shrine and grounds are closed to the public today, and will reopen tomorrow morning at 7am.

    It’s an unprecedented closure, but the decision was taken due to the rise of Covid-19 cases nationally and the concern that thousands of pilgrims may have attended the ceremonies at the Shrine today, August 15th, traditionally the biggest day of the year on the Knock calendar.

    Fr Gibbons spoke to Midwest News this morning about the unprecedented closure and the heartbreaking decision which he said was taken with public health to the fore.

    Gardai are on patrol at all the entrances to the village of Knock to advise visitors of the closure.

    Nonetheless, some pilgrims who cycle or walk  every year to Knock for August 15th as a pilgrimage, made the journey today and opted to pray outside the walls of the Shrine.


  • Thousands of people are expected to travel to Knock Shrine each day of the 2018 National Novena, which starts tomorrow and runs until 22nd August.

    This is the 41st year of the Novena, and the theme is "Faith and Family", as preparations continue for the Pope's visit to the Shrine on Sunday week next, as part of the World Meeting of Families.

    A number of religious and lay speakers will address the Novena over the course of the 9 days, with ceremonies at 3pm and 8.30 pm each day, and workshops will take place at 12 noon and 6pm daily.

    Writer and broadcaster Jim Deeds will address the Novena tomorrow, with Archbishop Michael Neary on Wednesday and the Parish Priest of Ballyhaunis Fr Stephen Farragher will address pilgrims on Thursday.

     The full list of speakers is available on the Knock Shrine website.

    The Parish Priest of Knock Fr Richard Gibbons says the Novena may be overshadowed by the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, but is a very important event in the Shrine's calendar each year...

  • The 45,000 pilgrims that will be in Knock shrine tomorrow morning for the historic visit of Pope Francis have a very good chance of seeing the Pope within a reasonable distance as a large part of his one hour visit to the Shrine will be spent in the Pope mobile travelling through the crowds.

    That’s according to the Parish Priest of Knock Fr Richard Gibbons.

    There was huge disappointment in 1979 when Pope John Paul II arrived an hour and a half late in Knock from Ballybrit and as a result abandoned the scheduled pope mobile drive through the more than 300,000 that had gathered on the say.

  • 50,000 people joined an online Mass last night, as the Pope elevated Knock Shrine in Co Mayo to international status.
    It now has the same rank as Lourdes and Fatima - two of the world's best-known shrines.
    Up to 1.5 million people go to Knock every year, to visit the site of an apparition of Mary in 1879.
    Fr Richard Gibbons, the rector of the shrine, says he now expects that number to grow.

  • The traditional all-night vigil will not take place on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Knock Shrine this year.

    Additional Masses will be held to celebrate the Feast Day.

    On Monday December 7th Mass times will be at 12pm, 3pm, 7.30pm (Rosary at 7pm), 9pm and 11pm


    12pm – 3pm and 8pm - 11pm

    On Tuesday mass times will be 8am, 12pm, 3pm and 7.30pm, with Rosary at 7pm.


    12pm – 3pm

    The capacity at each Mass is limited to a maximum of 200 people.

    There will be a queuing system in place on a first come, first served basis. Please be prepared to queue and ensure that you wear suitable clothing for the weather conditions.

    Under current Level 3 restrictions, travel beyond your county boundaries is not permitted at this time.

    See for more details.

  • A special Mass of Remembrance will take place in Knock Shrine tomorrow for all who have died from Covid-19 during this year across the island of Ireland.

    Archbishop Michael Neary will celebrate the Mass at 12 noon, which will be live streamed on

    Candles will be lit in the Basilica representing each individual who has died from Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in March.

    In addition, Archbishop Michael Neary has issued a pastoral letter this weekend in which he refers to the more challenging aspects of Covid 19, but also says the current situation brings out the best in people.

    Speaking with Midwest News, Archbishop Neary praised the teams of volunteers who helped to clean and sanitise Churches when they were open for Masses during the late Summer, and said he hopes Church can reopen when restrictions are lifted in early December.

  • Bus Eireann has announced it will operate additional services on the 26th August for the visit of Pope Francis to Dublin and Knock Shrine.

    Over half a million people are expected in the Phoenix Park that day where the Pope will celebrate Mass, and Gardai are urging people to use public transport to travel to the capital.

    Bus Eireann is running a number of additional services to Dublin from across the country, with a 100% increase in capacity on that particular day.

    Pope Francis will also visit Knock Shrine on the morning of Sunday 26th August, and to cater for anticipated demand, Bus Eireann is operating additional services on the Route 44 from Westport to Knock and Athlone to Knock, Route 421 from Ballina to Knock and Route 64 which runs from Galway to Knock and onto Sligo.

    In addition, Bus Eireann will operate a bus shuttle from Claremorris train station to Knock.

    For those who have a ticket for the Pope's visit, the bus shuttle service will be free of charge.

    Further details are available on Bus Eireann's website.

  • This Sunday will be "business as usual" at Ireland West Airport, even though Pope Francis will be touching down at the airport en route to Knock Shrine.

    Airport management say a full schedule of flights will operate on Sunday, and over 5,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport that day.

    However, passengers are being advised to leave plenty of time to arrive at the airport, as road closures and diversions will be in place.


    The main N17 road from Claremorris to Charlestown will be closed from midnight Saturday night until about 3pm Sunday afternoon.

    Diversions will be signposted, and most passengers will be diverted off the N5 at Cloonaghboy or Carracastle, to take the Old Airport Road.

    The access road to the airport will also be closed for a time when the Pope arrives at Knock Airport, and again when he's departing.

  • Tomorrow, the 21st August, is the anniversary of the Apparition at Knock Shrine, and traditionally a busy day at the Shrine.

    There's a slight change to the Mass times tomorrow in Knock as a result.

    Masses in the Basilica will take place at 12 noon, 5pm and 7.30 - there's no 3 o'clock Mass tomorrow afternoon.

    The Basilica will also be open to the public between 9am and 10.30 tomorrow morning, and again from 1-4pm.

    The Parish Church will be open for private prayer throughout the day, from 9am to 6pm.

    Further details are available at


  • It's been confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Knock during his 2-day trip to Ireland in August.

    Details of the Pontiff's visit here have been confirmed by the Vatican and the Irish Bishops' Conference.

    The purpose of the Pope's trip to Ireland is to attend the World Meeting of Families on 25 / 26 August.

    Pope Francis will fly from Rome to Dublin on Saturday morning 25th August, arriving in Dublin at 10.30.

    His first stop is a visit to President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain, and he will then visit Dublin Castle, the Pro-Cathedral and the Capuchin Day Centre for the Homeless before arriving at Croke Park on the Saturday evening for the Feast of Families.

    On Sunday 26th August, Pope Francis will fly from Dublin to Ireland West Airport Knock, arriving at 9.20 am and he will travel onto Knock Shrine for a one hour visit, arriving at 9.45 where he will be driven around the Shrine in the Popemobile, and will have time for private prayers in the Apparition Chapel before saying the Angelus on the square in front of the shrine.

    At 10.45, the Pope leaves Knock Shrine to travel back to Knock Airport and depart for Dublin, where he arrives at the Phoenix Park to celebrate Mass at 3pm.

    The Pope will meet with the Irish Bishops in Dublin on the Sunday evening before departing from Dublin Airport for Rome.

    The Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary has welcomed confirmation of the Pope's visit to Knock Shrine, where the World Meeting of Families icon was launched last August.

  • Knock Shrine has released a detailed programme for the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Knock Shrine as part of the World Meeting of Families celebrations on Sunday week.

    They are encouraging everyone to arrive early for a ‘Gathering Event’ and to stay for the open-air celebration of the Sunday Eucharist after the Pope’s departure for Dublin.

    At 8.25am on the morning of Sunday August 26th, the bells of Knock Shine will ring out. All churches in the family of six dioceses that make up the ecclesiastical province of Tuam are invited to ring their bells at the same time to signal the beginning of the gathering at Knock and to extend a warm Céad Míle Fáilte to Pope Francis.

    Starting from 8.30am, there will be an uplifting Gathering Event entitled Witness to Faith and Family. With video presentations, drama and music pilgrims will be led in prayer and reflection until the arrival of the Holy Father. Focus will be on the story of Knock through the testimony of the Apparition witnesses and Pope Francis’ invitation to witness to the joy of faith and family in our contemporary world. Music for the occasion will be provided by Knock Parish Choir with guest musicians and soloists Sibéal Ní Chasáide and Anne Marie Gibbons.

    On  arrival at the Shrine, the Holy Father will move through the assembly in the Pope Mobile arriving at the Apparition Gable towards 10am where he will be met by the Rector of the Shrine Father Richard Gibbons.

    His Holiness will spend some time in silent prayer at the site of the Apparition before exiting the chapel to deliver a short address and lead pilgrims in the Angelus Prayer and imparting his Apostolic Blessing before departing for Ireland West Airport, Knock and returning to Dublin.

    Directly after the Holy Father has departed the Shrine, there will be a concelebrated open-air Mass for the Twenty First Sunday of Ordinary Time. Father Richard Gibbons will be the main celebrant and the mass will be concluded by 12.30/1pm. This spiritual programme is part of the official ticketed event.

    Angelus text, a hymn sheet and general guidance/information on the liturgical events will be available for download/printing in the days prior to the event. 

    For further information visit


  • Listen back to last weekend's #FaithAlive in which Monica Morley remembered the late Fr Patrick Burke who passed away to his eternal reward. With contributions from Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary and some of Fr Burke's colleagues, Monica looked back on a life lived in the service of God.

  • Gardai have held a briefing today in advance of the Pope’s visit to Ireland next month.

    Pope Francis will visit Knock Shrine on Sunday August 26th.


    Gardai say road closures will be in place from 6pm on Saturday evening

    From 6pm on Saturday the centre of Knock Village will be closed (except to residents). The N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed from 12 midnight on Saturday until at least 3pm on Sunday.

    For those who live and work near Knock, a business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries, working closely with Claremorris Garda Station.

    Gardai are asking people to use a private coach or carpool to and from the event, join a parish or community coach group or carpool where possible, as car park spaces are limited and may be some walking distance from the Shrine.

    Coaches have a designated parking area on the N17. This will result in the shortest distance to walk to and from the Knock Shrine via a short walkway.

    There is a considerable walk from the car parks due to the size, scale and location of the event and there will be no shuttle bus facility available between car parks and the event site. If cars are necessary, carpooling and car sharing is essential.

    Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann will be providing public transport for this event. A bus shuttle service will operate from Claremorris train station to take people to Knock Shrine.  For those who have a ticket for the event, the bus shuttle service will be free.

    No public viewing opportunities will be available at Knock Airport.

    It will not be possible for the public to view Pope Francis arriving or departing due to security limitations.

    Those flying into and out of Ireland West Airport Knock on Sunday will have some access with strict limitations.  Only those named on airline passenger lists and those transporting named passengers will be able to access the airport between 12 midnight on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday. 

    Outbound passengers in particular are advised to allow more travel time than usual as there will be a number of security checks on airport access routes. 

    Information updated on a regular basis on, which will direct you to all the main information website pages.

  • Gardai have confirmed they are investigating an alleged assault close to Knock Shrine, which is said to have occurred last month.

    Gardai say they have set up an incident room in Claremorris Garda Station and investigations continue.


    Superintendent Joe Doherty at Claremorris Garda Station confirmed to Midwest News this afternoon that Gardai are investigating an incident which is said to have occurred in the environs of Knock Shrine.

    The alleged assault is said to have occurred between 6-7pm on February 9th.

    Superintendent Doherty has confirmed that an incident room has been set up and CCTV footage recovered covering the immediate vicinity of the alleged assault and the surrounding area.

    A team is working to investigate the incident.

    Gardai are appealing for any witnesses who may have been in the environs of Knock Shrine on February 9th and saw any suspicious behaviour or anything relating to the incident to contact them in Knock on 094-93-88102, Claremorris Gardai where the incident room has been set up on 094-93-72080 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

  • It's day two of the Pope's trip to Ireland - with half a million people due to attend mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

    The Pontiff will fly to Knock Shrine in Mayo this morning - but the issue of clerical sex abuse is set to dominate the agenda once again.

    Pope Francis spent more than an hour and a half meeting eight survivors of clerical, religious and institutional abuse.

    He told them that those involved in corruption and cover up in the church are filth.

    The Pope apologised for what happened at mother and baby homes - and indicated that he would say more on the issue today.

    Meanwhile the Pontiff arrives in Mayo this morning where he'll visit Knock Shrine and pray the Angelus in front of a crowd of 45 thousand.

    He then makes his way back to the capital where more than half a million are expected to attend mass in the Phoenix Park.

    It will bring an end to a two day trip which has been closely watched around the world.

    Pope Francis leaves Ireland later this evening.

    Meanwhile, traffic is already very heavy on all approach roads this morning and the advice is to take your time and heed the Gardaí and security personnel.


    Irish Rail is advising people travelling by train to see Pope Francis in Knock that seats must be booked in advance.

    Extra train services will operate on Sunday week next from Westport, Ballina and Athlone to Claremorris train station with a free bus transfer to and from Knock Shrine.

    Meanwhile, people travelling to see Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park in Dublin are being advised to book their tickets quickly as some services are already sold out.

    One train is already sold out on the Westport to Dublin line and one train on the Galway to Dublin line, and intending passengers are advised there's limited availability on other services, which should be booked as soon as possible.

    There's still availability on the Sligo-Dublin service also.

    Trains from Kerry and Waterford are already sold out

    Irish Rail says advance booking is mandatory for all Intercity trains and no tickets will be available on the day.

  • Just over a mile is now confirmed as the furthest anyone will have to walk to access Knock Shrine from any car park on Sunday morning next for the visit of pope Francis.

     That was confirmed today by Garda Superintendent Tom Calvey of Claremorris garsda station.

    That is a considerably shorter distance than was anticipated some weeks ago by the gardai, as many pilgrims have taken on the advice, and have now opted to travel by coach or use public transport.

    There will be car parking facilities for the majority of car users on Sunday at Ballyhowley, just over a mile from Knock Shrine, the rest will be accommodated at a car park on the Kiltimagh side of Knock, close to the turn for the N17 as you approach the village.

    Anyone arriving by bus or coach will have less than a mile to walk to the Shrine.

    Supt Calvey told Midwest News today that it is absolutely essential that anyone arriving in Knock on Sunday has a ticket for the event.

  • Knock Marriage Introductions, formerly Knock Marriage Bureau, is to close after over fifty years.

    Knock Marriage Introductions has been responsible for introducing couples, many of whom went on to become husband and wife over the past fifty years.  In that time it has been responsible for 960 marriages.  The service was based at the Knock Shrine, Co Mayo, in the Archdiocese of Tuam.

    When Father Michael Keane had the vision to establish the agency back in the 1960’s in Ireland, the west of Ireland in particular, was a very different place.  Emigration was rife and most of the means of communication that today we take for granted were practically non-existent.  The advent of the internet and online dating agencies, and apps have made it possible for people to meet a partner literally at the touch of a button.  Many of the couples who met through Knock Marriage Introductions commented on the personal nature of the service and that they felt safe and secure being able to speak to someone in confidence at the end of a phone.

    In recent years there has been a noticeable decline in the demand for the service offered by Knock Marriage Introductions, to the point that is no longer viable to run the service. The annual subscriptions from clients who have used the service have had to be supplemented in recent years by donations from dioceses around Ireland.  Obviously this is not sustainable long term.  It is for these reasons that the Board of Directors of Knock Marriage Introductions have decided at a recent meeting to wind down the agency.  

    Fr Stephen Farragher was in charge of Knock Marriage Introductions for the past two years. He told Midwest News that it is the end of an era.

  • The Parish Priest of Knock is still holding out some hope that Pope Francis will visit the Shrine during this visit to Ireland this Summer.

    It was confirmed last week that the Pope will be in Dublin on 25 and 26th August for the World Meeting of Families.

    Dublin was the only location confirmed in the press statements issued last week, but Fr Richard Gibbons says the Pope’s schedule has not yet been finalised.

    He told Midwest Radio toda  that he’s still hoping that Pope Francis may fit in a visit to Our Lady’s Shrine in Knock but nothing has been confirmed, one way or the other….

  • The number of people allowed to attend wedding receptions increases  to 50 from today.

    Parish Priest of Knock, Father Richard Gibbons says he's pleased about this easing of restrictions.

    However, Fr Richard says the restrictions not allowing baptisms at this time do not make sense, as the number attending a baptism is considerably lower than the 50 allowed to attend Mass, funerals and weddings...