The family of a 12-year-old girl who took a selfie with the Pope, say they have been inundated with messages of goodwill since the moment went viral yesterday.

Alison Nevin from Swords in Co Dublin hid her mobile phone up her sleeve before boldly asking the Pope for a photograph at the World Festival of Families concert in Croke Park.

Alison says she was determined to get the selfie.

"I asked a crew member and they said 'No, I wasn't allowed to take one' and then I snuck it up my arm and I took it out when I got up there and then I asked."

"First I said 'Can I take a picture with you?' and he looked at me and then I had to point at my phone to ask him...and then he said to me ‘Yeah’ and then we took it and the crowd went mad!"

Alison said the reaction to her selfie has been overwhelmingly positive, with her friends and family telling her "You're the famous one now."

Her mother Brigie said she had no idea Alison was going to take a selfie with the Pope.

"Absolutely none. I think I went into complete shock because when she went up to meet the Pope I was trying to get a really close up picture of her with him and so I was kind of distracted with trying to get the photograph and then I just heard Croke Park come alive and when I looked up and seen that she was actually getting a selfie I just couldn't believe it."

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Ms Nevin says the family are overjoyed for Alison, who has had to overcome many obstacles in her short life.

The 12-year-old suffers from a number of medical conditions and spends a lot of her time in Temple Street Children's hospital.

As RTÉ left the family's home today, they were receiving calls from international journalists, including the BBC, about the moment.

This was Alison's second time meeting the Pontiff.

Three years ago she and her mother travelled to Rome as part of delegation from the Parish of the Travelling People in Dublin.

That time around, Alison also wanted to take a selfie but things did not go quite to plan.

"She was actually saying at the time, ‘oh I'd love to get a selfie, I'd love to get a selfie’" Mrs Nevin said, adding: "but she actually fell asleep half way through the mass and when he came down she was distracted so didn't get that opportunity that time... so this time around she definitely done it!"

Pic courtesy of Brigie Nevin