An estimated 15,000 pilgrims attended the annual novena to Our Lady of Knock this afternoon.

They converged at the Co Mayo shrine where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a number of local people, including children, 134 years ago this month.

Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady led the Consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

During mass at the Basilica, Dr Brady's successor-in-waiting, Archbishop Eamon Martin praised the women of Ireland for playing what he called "the central role in handing on the faith" here.

He said they had built a "civilisation of love" throughout the island.