Knock is a small picturesque village located in south Mayo, approximately 30 kilometres from Castlebar, and is home to the famous Roman Catholic pilgrimage site internationally known as Knock Shrine.
The story of Knock involves an apparition believed to have been witnessed by fifteen people on the 21st August, 1879 around 8pm. It is said that the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar appeared at the gable wall of the Parish Church and lasted for two hours. It was said that the witnesses were saturated from the heavy rainfall during the event but the gable wall of the church remained dry.
Five churches form the site including the Apparition Chapel, Parish Church and the Basilica, a modern concrete built building designed by Daithi Hanly and completed in 1976. A Religious bookshop, Caravan and Camping Park, and Knock Museum make up the rest of the site. If you would like to see the story of Knock preserved and illustrated, then a visit to the Knock Folk Museum and cafe is a must where you will see displays of 19th century life in Ireland depicting religious life and daily life including farming, clothing, housing standards and crafts at the time of the apparition.
Accessing Knock was made easier with the building of the airport, Ireland West Airport Knock. It was the brainchild of the famous priest, Monsignor James Horan, who also oversaw the rebuilding of the religious site with the large Basilica beside the original chapel where the apparition occurred. Important visits to this place of pilgrimage include Pope John Paul II who celebrated mass here in 1979 to a congregation of almost half a million. Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited in 1993 and spoke to a crowd of over thirty thousand, while 13,000 pilgrims made their way to Knock in 2011 for Ireland's National Eucharistic Congress. Knock Shrine attracts more than a million and a half pilgrims every year making it one of the most popular shrines in Europe, along with Fatima and Lourdes.