An RTÉ News Photo Essay

Pope Francis in
Ireland - Day Two

Pope Francis concluded his visit to Ireland by asking for forgiveness for the abuses of the Catholic Church. Tens of thousands of people attended events in Knock and at the Phoenix Park while protesters gathered elsewhere. RTÉ News looks back.

Crowds at Knock

The Pope visits the Marian Shrine. Pope John Paul II, the last Pontiff to visit Ireland, celebrated mass at the shrine in 1979.

Apparition Chapel

After touring the shrine, the Pontiff makes time for reflection and private prayer at the Apparition Chapel.

Northern Ireland and reconciliation

Pope Francis sent a greeting to people in Northern Ireland saying he hoped the path to reconciliation would continue.

Pope ends the curse?

Just before boarding the plane at Ireland West Airport, Pope Francis was presented with a Mayo jersey to sign. Audrey Elliott holds the signed shirt. Has the 67-year-old "curse of '51" been lifted?

Tuam Vigil

A silent vigil is held in Tuam, Co Galway, to remember the hundreds of babies buried at the former site of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. Toys were symbolically tied to railings while children's names were recited and candles lit in their memory.

GPO Protest

In Dublin, protesters gathered in front of the GPO in opposition to the visit of Pope Francis. At the rally, survivors of clerical abuse spoke of their experiences. The protesters marched to the Garden of Remembrance as the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park got under way.

Garden of Remembrance

There was a show of solidarity with victims of institutional abuse. 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.

Phoenix Park

People make their way to Phoenix Park ahead of the Papal Mass; the culmination of the World Meeting of Families.

Awaiting the Pope

Tens of thousands of people made the journey to the site on a wet and overcast day. 500,000 tickets were distributed but much less than that attended.

Photo: © Maxwell Photography

Pope Arrives

The Pontiff greets the faithful as he makes his way through the crowd.

Taoiseach and President

"Today I’m joining thousands from across Ireland to hear Pope Francis say mass in Phoenix Park. Ireland is a different country to 39 years ago. But this visit has caused us to reflect more deeply on the relationship between Ireland and the church, brought to Ireland centuries ago." - Leo Varadkar

Photo: © Maxwell Photography

Address from the Altar

At the start of the mass, the Pope issued the Catholic Church's most comprehensive acknowledgement to date for abuse perpetrated by its representatives in Ireland.

Photo: © Maxwell Photography

Pope asks for Forgiveness

"We ask forgiveness for the abuses in Ireland, abuses of power and conscience; sexual abuses on the part of qualified members of the Church. We ask forgiveness for the times that, as a Church, we have not looked at the survivors of any type of abuse with compassion in the search for justice and truth, and with concrete actions. We ask forgiveness for some members of the hierarchy who did not take care of these painful situations and kept silent. We ask forgiveness."


The World Meeting of Families is concluded when Pope Francis expresses his thanks: "I want to say a special word of thanks to all those who prayed for this meeting - the elderly, children, men and women religious, the infirm and those in prison. I am sure that the success of this meeting is due to their quiet and persevering prayers."

Meeting Bishops

The final engagement of the Pope's visit was a meeting with bishops at the Papal Nuncio's residence

Pope Departs

The Pope gives a final wave before departing for Rome.