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Photographer's Note

This is a photo of the small chapel on the site of Our Lady of Knock, which was used before the larger cathedral was built. Knock is a major pilgrimage site. It remained largely an Irish pilgrimage site for about 100 years, but went global, as it were, in the last quarter of the 20th century, largely due to the work of longtime parish priest James Horan, who presided over a major rebuilding of the site, with the provision of a new Knock Basilica, the first in Ireland, alongside the old church, which could not accomodate the number of visitors. Many criticized the building of the large basilica because the Irish economy was in depression during that time and there was a great deal of emigration; things became even more heated upon the construction of Horan International Airport, now known as Ireland West Airport Knock, which utilized millions of pounds of state aid. Horan's efforts were largely rewarded, however, in that the airport became a commercial success and the site continued to grow in popularity. In fact, in 1979, to mark the centenary of the apparition, Pope John Paul II, himself a devotee of Mary, visited the shrine.

The story behind this site is as follows: On August 21, 1879, Margaret Beirne, a resident of Cnoc Mhuine, went to lock up the church for the evening. As she was leaving, she noticed a strange brightness hovering over the church. About 7 PM, the church's housekeeper, one Mary McLoughlin, 45, passed by the church. Upon passing the south gable, she saw what she believed to be figures: "On passing by the chapel and at a little distance from it, I saw a wonderful number of strange figures at the gable; one like the Blessed Virgin Mary, and one like St. Joseph; I saw an altar." Initially Mary thought that the Archdeacon had purchased statues from Dublin, and didn't report anything at that time. A short time later in the evening, however, reportedly, thirteen others also witnessed the apparition, a woman said to have been clothed in white garments wearing a crown. A number of those who supposedly witnessed the vision were village children. The vision reportedly lasted more than two hours. Even persons who were were not at the apparition site reported that they saw a bright light illuminating the area where the church was. At his home about a half a mile from the parish church, Patrick Walsh noted that "I saw a very bright light on the southern gable end of the chapel; it seemed to me to be a large globe of golden beer; I never saw, I thought, so brilliant a light before; it appeared high up in the air above around the chapel gable and it was circular in appearance. It was quite stationary, and it seemed to retain the same brilliancy all around." An ecclesiastical commission of inquiry was established by the Archbishop of Tuam, the Rev. Dr. John MacHale. The verdict was that the testimony of the witnesses "taken as a whole was trustworthy and satisfactory." At a second Commission in 1936, surviving witnesses confirmed the evidence they gave to the first commission. There's still some controversy over the validity of the vision, not surprisingly, but it remains a major attraction and one of the most significant religious sites in Ireland.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 606] (1372)
  • Genre: Lieux
  • Medium: Couleur
  • Date Taken: 2006-07-00
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Versions: version originale
  • Date Submitted: 2008-06-13 17:23
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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 606] (1372)
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