At least 1,000 people gathered for a silent vigil in Tuam, Co Galway to remember the Tuam Babies this afternoon, while thousands also attended the Stand4Truth event in Dublin to show solidarity with victims of institutional abuse.
A large crowd gathered for the silent vigil in Tuam to coincide with the Papal mass in Dublin.
The vigil, which was organised by a Manchester woman whose sister vanished from a mother and baby home, took place in Tuam.
Around 1,000 people assembled at the Town Hall to walk the 30-minute route to the former site of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.
They walked in silence to the site where a significant quantity of human remains were found in septic tanks and, coinciding with the Papal mass in the Phoenix Park, they recited the children's names and lit candles in their memory.
They also placed a special sculpture made by Flemish women in the shape of a baptismal font at the site of the former Bon Secours home.
Historian Catherine Corless said the vigil sent a strong message to the Church that the people were not forgetting the Tuam babies, but she said that she was disappointed that Pope Francis did not refer specifically to Tuam while he was in the diocese today.
Among the gathering were a number of survivors of the home; Pat Duffy said he wanted church and state to give people like him and the deceased babies their dignity and respect back.
The numbers of all 796 babies were read out and baby shoes were laid on the ground alongside candles in memory of the babies and the ten mothers who died in the Tuam home.
Thousands of people also attended the Stand4Truth event in Dublin to show solidarity with victims of institutional abuse.
Organisers of the event said it was not a protest against the Pope’s visit but to provide a space for survivors who feel excluded by the main events.
Campaigners said the Pope’s visit had triggered painful memories for survivors of institutional abuse.
Artists including Hozier, Mary Black, Brian Kennedy and Liam Ó Maonlaí took to the stage beside the Garden of Remembrance.
Thousands of people attended the Stand 4 Truth event in Dublin to show solidarity with victims of institutional abuse. Organisers of the event said it was not a protest against the Pope's visit but to provide a space for survivors who feel excluded by the main events. pic.twitter.com/I9YWROTadM— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 26, 2018
Thousands stood before a mobile stage filling Parnell Square East. Some held banners which read "Secular Justice For All, Truth Justice Love and Church Without Abuse".
An organiser said the turnout had surpassed his expectations, and thanked those in attendance.
Similar events were due to take place in Buncrana, Athlone, Maynooth, Dundalk and Kilkenny.
Organiser Colm O’Gorman said the Pope needs to tell the truth and acknowledge that the Vatican was involved in a deliberate and willful cover-up of abuse carried out by members of the church.
Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the Pope could make a start in making amends by releasing records held by the church and associated organisers relating to institutional abuse and forced adoptions.
After the meeting participants marched to a building on Sean McDermott Street used as a Magdalene Home up until 1996.
Around 200 protesters had gathered at the GPO on O'Connell Street in Dublin in opposition to the visit of Pope Francis.
Organised by the Say Nope To The Pope campaign, survivors of clerical abuse gave emotional accounts of their lives.
There were chants of "separate church and state".
Additional reporting: Samantha Libreri, John Kilraine, PA