An RTÉ News Photo Essay

Pope Francis in
Ireland - Day One

On the first day of his visit to Ireland, Pope Francis said that child sex abuse within the church remained a source of "pain and shame" for the Catholic community. Thousands of people turned out to see the Pontiff. RTÉ News looks back.

The Pope arrives at Dublin Airport

The Pope touched down at Dublin Airport at 10.30am. He was greeted on the runway by a welcoming party which included Tánaiste Simon Coveney, his wife Ruth and their three children.  It is the first time a sitting Pope has set foot on Irish soil since 1979.

The Pope leaves for a day of meetings and engagements

The Pope's first engagement on landing was a trip to Áras an Uachtaráin to meet Michael D Higgins

Pope Francis meets President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina

At Áras an Uachtaráin Pope Francis signs the guestbook where he wrote: "With gratitude for the warm welcome I have received, I assure you and the people of Ireland of my prayers that Almighty God may guide and protect you all. Francis."

Áras an Uachtaráin

In a statement the Áras said: "President Higgins raised with His Holiness the immense suffering and hurt caused by child sex abuse perpetrated by some within the Catholic Church. He spoke of the anger which had been conveyed to him at what was perceived to be the impunity enjoyed by those who had the responsibility of bringing such abuses for action by the appropriate authorities and have not done so." 

Planting an Irish oak

Pope Francis followed in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II by planting an Irish oak tree on the lawn in front of the south Portico. The planting of trees at the Presidential residence by visiting dignitaries is a tradition older than the State.

Photo: © Maxwell Photography

Dublin Castle

Pope Francis held a short meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Dublin Castle in which the latter welcomed the Pope to Ireland. The pair discussed legacy issues, climate change, refugees and international development. Mr Varadkar said that huge numbers of people have faith in their heart but feel excluded and alienated from the church.

Sorrow and Shame

In a speech in front of the Pontiff during a State reception at Dublin Castle, Mr Varadkar said the past treatment of many women and young people by the Catholic Church and the State had left a history of "sorrow and shame." "Wounds are still open and there is much to be done to bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors," said Mr Varadkar.

Pope Francis Speaks at Dublin Castle

"The failure of ecclesiastical authorities - bishops, religious superiors, priests and others - adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments."

The Candle of Innocence

Pope Francis said a silent prayer at the Candle of Innocence in the Pro-Cathedral. The candle has been burning since 2011 in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral to remember the survivors of clerical and institutional abuse.

The Pope travels through Dublin

The Pope's cavalcade travels through the city centre waved on by wellwishers and onlookers hoping to catch a glimpse of the Pope.

Photo: © Maxwell Photography

The Popemobile

Cheering crowds greeted the Pope as he travelled via his Popemobile from the Pro-Cathedral to meet the Friars at the Capuchin Day Centre. 

The Pope visits the Capuchin Day Centre

Pope Francis meets Br Kevin Crowley and speaks to people at the Capuchin Day Centre which helps Dublin's homeless community. He tells them the friars "help you without taking away your dignity, that's the face of Jesus Christ".

Photo: © Maxwell Photography

The Pope meets survivors of clerical abuse

Later the Pope met survivors of clerical abuse. In attendance were representatives of the Coalition of Mother and Baby home Survivors (CMABS) and campaigner Marie Collins. Clodagh Malone of CMABS said it was a "very powerful meeting" and described it as fantastic. "He listened with a genuine interest. And he asked many questions about Mother and Baby homes." She said there was an apology from the Pope and a recognition of the hurt and suffering of the survivors.

Croke Park

The Pope salutes the crowds as he arrives in Croke Park for the Festival of Families, his final appointmnert of the evening.

World Meeting of Families

Pope Francis bids goodnight to the crowd. "I know it is late and you are tired - me too! But let me say one last thing to all of you. As families, you are the hope of the church and of the world."