Construction of the altar for the Papal Mass is underway at the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

In the section of the Phoenix Park commonly known as the Fifteen Acres, an estimated one million people will congregate on 29 September 1979 for Mass which will be celebrated by Pope John Paul II.

Architectural firm Scott Tallon Walker designed the altar and the cross, which is due to be erected in two days time. 

When completed, the site will include changing rooms for the hundreds of clergy who will be present on the day, a press centre, as well as corrals for the massive congregation. The only other comparable event was the 31st International Eucharistic Congress Pontifical High Mass in 1932 also celebrated in the Fifteen Acres. 

Staff from construction company John Sisk and Son are working round the clock, and have been joined by 100 members of the Defence Forces and a crew of 90 apprentices from AnCO (An Comhairle Oiliúna), the state training agency.

With builders and contractors working round the clock, site manager Peter Crean tells RTÉ News that so far everything is going to plan. Their main challenge has been getting building materials in such large quantities. 

Thankfully their suppliers and contractors are on board for this special occasion too, as the deadline gets closer and closer,

It’ll have to be ready, that’s the way we’re looking at it at the moment really.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 9 September 1979. The reporter is Sean Carberry.