Pope Francis set to touch down at Knock Airport in the next half an hour


Pope Francis is set to arrive at Knock Airport in about a half an hours time.

He’ll make his way to Knock Shrine where thousands of people are expected to greet him.

It’s nearly forty years since the last Papal visit to Knock. Many are very much looking forward to his visit.

Some feel the visit could be the much needed boost the Catholic Church needs as it struggles with ongoing revelations of sexual abuse and a grim history of abuse here in the west of Ireland and right around the country.

But this morning, the renowned fog is certainly here as Ireland West Airport Knock gets set to greet Pope Francis when he touches down just after quarter past nine this morning.

And it was the last papal visit in 1979 that inspired the creation of this very airport by Monsignor James Horan creating what has now become one of the most successful hubs in the west of Ireland.

The pontiff will be greeted by a group of VIPs when he gets off the plane including Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring and a delegation of the clergy led by the Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary, representatives from Ireland West Airport Knock and he’ll also be greeted by 100 local school children from four local schools.

This morning though people should be prepared for some disruption.

The airport and Gardai are reminding people that the N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris has been closed since midnight and will remain closed until 3pm this afternoon at least.

Any passengers who have flights today should give lots of extra time for their journeys.

All access to the Airport from the junction of the Shammer/Bushfield Rd and R376 will be closed today between 8.45am and 9.45am & again from 10.45am to 11.30am to facilitate the arrival and departure of Pope Francis.

He’s expected to arrive here at 9:20am make his way immediately to Shrine on this brief visit before departing again at 11:10.

Donal Healy, Head of Commications and Marketing at Knock Airport gave Claire Mulcahy an insight into the preparation that has gone into the event: