Visit Knock Shrine
Knock Shrine’s 1.5 Million Visitors
Drivers using car hire services to travel along the country’s rocky west coast may like to stop off at one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites. Knock Shrine has been drawing huge numbers of the faithful every year with Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa among its past visitors. The shrine first came to the attention of the world when witnesses in 1879 reported seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist near Knock Parish Church in Knock, County Mayo. Since then, increasing numbers of pilgrims journey to the town in order to visit the site where the visions are believed to have occurred.
In addition to the old parish building, the grounds of the shrine now feature several other churches that have been erected over the years including Apparition Church, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the Chapel of Reconciliation. In 1974 the Our Lady Queen of Ireland Church was constructed and was shortly deemed a Basilica, to recognise its religious importance. Some 1.5 million people visit the site each year to see the location of the reported apparitions.
On a rainy evening in 1879, 15 villagers from Knock stated that they had all seen the three figures, which they described in great detail. Ages of the witnesses varied from five years to 74-years and all of them underwent interviews, which saw their eyewitness reports passed to religious figures heading a Commission of Enquiry. Villagers stated that the trio appeared outside the parish church, where they remained dry despite the wet weather. The Virgin Mary was said to have her eyes closed as if she was in prayer and was clad in flowing robes. On her right stood St Joseph and she was accompanied by St John the Evangelist on her left, with both of them also wearing white. Word spread around the Catholic community and pilgrims from across the world have been arriving in the village ever since.
Visitors planning a trip to the shrine have the opportunity to wander around the 100 acre grounds that have been carefully landscaped to complement the tranquillity of the site. Guided tours are available that reveal the lifestyles and challenges faced by those living at the time of the reported apparition. Day-trippers wishing to learn more about the small village that attracts over a million people each year can go along to Knock Museum. The exhibition takes a more in-depth look at the fifteen witnesses that reported seeing the apparition.