Ireland 2019: Knock Shrine

Portugal has its Fatima and France has its Lourdes. Ireland has its national Marian Shrine, too, and it is located in a tiny village called Knock in County Mayo about 70 kilometers north of the city of Galway. On Saturday morning, our sixth day in Galway, my wife and I  boarded a local bus at the Bus Eireann station near Eyre Square and an hour and 25 minutes later we hopped off the bus a block away from the shrine’s entrance.

The Apparition mosaic, one of the largest in Europe, was unveiled in February 2016 after a major refurbishment that began in 2014. This work of art is 14 meters by 14 meters and contains more than 1.5 million mosaic tiles.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.

Map near the shrine entrance. The official name of the shrine is The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock.

For two euros a clerk will point her remote control to one of these blue containers and a light emitting diode will turn on.


Side view of the Apparition Chapel showing its glass, its sloping roofs and its walls that blend with the old parish church next door.

The front of the Apparition Chapel. The refurbishment of both the parish church and the Apparition Chapel was completed in 2018.

View of the chapel inside the glass wall.

The story of the Apparition of 1879.

The view of the outside through the chapel’s front glass wall. That’s the Chapel of the Reconciliation in the background.

The entrance to the Chapel of Reconciliation. I thought it looked like an underground parking garage.

Inside the Chapel of Reconciliation.

Another view of the Chapel of Reconciliation.

Knock Museum and café. We didn’t find any food worth while and so after touring the shrine we had a late lunch at one of the many restaurants on Main Street.

We didn’t spend too much time at the museum and gift shop.

St Brigid giving her father’s sword to a leper.


Well-maintained grounds between the museum and the basilica. That’s the Knock House Hotel in the background.

Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland. Trust me, the interior of the basilica is as beautiful as its exterior is ugly.

Near the basilica entrance. The original church was built in 1976 and given basilica status by Pope John Paul when he visited Knock in 1979 for the 100 year anniversary of the Apparition.

Figures painted on the glass walls lining the entrance to the basilica.

The Shrine received a religious art and architecture award for its renovation that began in 2014.

The round altar in the polygonal church.

View of stations 6 and 7 of the Stations of the Cross.

Our visit coincided with a choir rehearsal. Beautiful music!

The Apparition Mosaic looms over the altar.

Replicas of window frames from churches and abbeys all over Ireland adorn the section wall dividers.

Another window frame replica.

And yet another. I guess you can tell what impressed me the most about the renovated church interior!

One more example.

An up-close view of the statue that we can see through the window in the previous photo.

External view of stained glass window in the Knock parish church.

That same stained glass window from the inside.

There are five churches / chapels on the grounds of the Knock Shrine. We visited four of them but skipped the Blessed Sacrament Chapel .

Mostly souvenir shops on this side of Main Street. That tower in the background belongs to the Knock parish church (built in 1828) at the entrance to the shrine.

View of that same block from across the street.

There were more restaurants on the other side of the street. We had lunch at this one. I usually have a sandwich and a beer for lunch. I ordered a nice ham and cheese. But no beer in Knock. I had to settle for bottled water.

We went on an all-day tour of Connemara on our last day in western Ireland. I’ll cover this trip in my next four posts.

Irish Music BonusHard Times by Tommy Fleming

Hard Times was written by America’s great writer of folk songs Stephen Collins Foster more than 150 years ago and it has been pretty much forgotten in this country. But in Ireland the song is revered and has been sung by all the great Irish singers. Tommy Fleming started singing the song when he was with De Danann back in the 90s. Here he is at his 2004 Voice of Hope Tour at the Knock Basilica backed up by a full orchestra and a large choir. Two minutes into the song the guitar player puts down his guitar and picks up his uilleann pipes and the basilica rocks! Note this is the old basilica — before the major refurbishment in 2014.




About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Ireland, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ireland 2019: Knock Shrine

  1. StillWalks says:

    I couldn’t believe the dimensions of the mosaic when I read this – then I looked at the scale of the people beside it. No expense spared from the Irish church I guess! Some good stuff there though, from an artists point of view.

  2. Peter Klopp says:

    I must admit that I have never heard about the Knock shrine. I find the design very unique. The mosaic depicting the apparition is absolutely mind-boggling. After reading your photo essay, I have the impression that the Knock shrine has turned into a gigantic tourist attraction rather than a place of worship. Have a great Sunday!

  3. kzmcb says:

    Thanks for sharing. You’ve taken some beautiful photos and given succinct information.

  4. your images are amazing!! fascinating place and great video and song.

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