Ahead of the Pope's visit to Ireland, Derek Davis visits the Vatican to see Pope John Paul II meet his followers.

An RTÉ camera crew of Colm O'Byrne and Des Byrne get the privilege of following Pope John Paul II around St Peter's Square as he meets and greets some of the thousands of worshippers who have come to catch a glimpse of the pontiff.

Pope John Paull II arrives standing in a white Toyota jeep before taking a walkabout to meet people. 

This man loves crowds. There is a rapport between him and those thousands which any public figure would envy.

It is unusual for a foreign camera crew to get so close to the Pope, but he was told that the RTÉ crew were Irish and the security man let them stay by the Pope's side. 

The Pope will not visit Northern Ireland during his Irish trip. However, there is a group from Belfast in the crowd who get to meet the Pope up close and shake his hand, clearly the highlight of their trip to Rome.  He was also greeted with wild enthusiasm by groups all the way from Vietnam and of course his home country of Poland.

It seemed to us at least that almost all the nations of the world were represented at that audience.

The RTÉ camera crew are then called forward to film the presentation by Vice Rector of the Irish College in Rome Monsignor Hanly to the Pope of a bound collection of the letters of St Oliver Plunkett, who was canonised by the late Pope Paul VI.  

Pope John Paul is known to have a keen interest in Ireland and he receives the book with enthusiasm.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 September 1979. The reporter is Derek Davis.

Pope John Paul II visited Ireland from 29 September to 1 October 1979.