14 April 2023, The Tablet

Biden visits Knock shrine in Co Mayo

Biden visits Knock shrine in Co Mayo

President Joe Biden touches part of the original stonework from the apparition gable at the Knock Shrine as he talks with Father Richard Gibbons, parish priest and rector of Knock Shrine, in Knock, Ireland
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

President Joe Biden has visited Our Lady of Knock in County Mayo, the site of an apparition of Mary in 1879.

He was greeted by crowds of people waving the flags of Ireland, of County Mayo and of the US.

At the shrine, he talked with Father Richard Gibbons, parish priest and shrine rector, who showed him round the basilica. He touched the apparition wall and went into the shrine chapel for quiet reflection.

Fianna Fáil's Dara Calleary said Biden was “really buzzed up about coming to Ballina, looking forward to speaking outside the cathedral and very much invested in his trip to Mayo”.

Biden, the first American president to visit the shrine, will this evening deliver an address at St. Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina, where he believes some of his ancestors were from, such as Edward Blewitt, his great-great-great-grandfather.

Blewitt sold 27,000 bricks to the cathedral for £21 and 12 shillings in 1828, helping build the funds that allowed him, his wife Mary and their eight children to sail to America on the SS Excelsior in 1851.


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