POPE FRANCIS plans to kick off his historic visit to Ireland this summer at Knock.
According to the Irish Independent, organisers of the pontiff’s visit are considering flying to the west of Ireland rather than Dublin as originally expected.
They say that sources involved in the logistical planning of the visit have revealed that a direct flight to Knock Airport could be on the cards.
Furthermore, if the Pope does fly directly from Rome to Knock, he will then use air transport to get to Dublin in time for a ticketed event in Croke Park.
The visit is scheduled to take place to coincide with the World Meeting of Families in Dublin between August 21-26.
Pope Francis is scheduled to hold a ceremony in Croke Park on August 25, before celebrating Mass in Phoenix Park the following day.
Gardai have concerns that as many as 650,000 people could descend on the park to catch a glimpse of the event.
Organisers will be holding another event at the Marian shrine in County Mayo a day earlier in the hope to offer an alternative viewing opportunity for people.
Pope Francis has prayed at a number of Marian shrines while on tours to other countries.
Pope John Paul II was joined by 450,000 people when he celebrated Mass at Knock shrine during his historic visit in 1979.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has also confirmed that the Pope wants to visit a prison during his trip, which will most likely be Mountjoy Prison in Limerick.
Followers in Northern Ireland have expressed their disappointment that there has been no suggestion that the Pope will travel to Northern Ireland.
On this, Archbishop Martin pointed out that the current Pope is 81-years-old, and therefore “the amount of things he can do is limited”.
Article courtesy of Ryan Price. Irish Post.