It was the great wish of Monsignor Horan, P.P., Knock 1967-1986 to give shelter to the thousands of pilgrims visiting Knock Shrine. The foundation stone for the Basilica was blessed on 6 June 1974 by John Paul VI and laid by Dr. Joseph Cunnane, Archbishop of Tuam on the 15 August 1974, the feast of the Assumption. The Basilica was designed by Architects Louis J. Brennan, Brian Brennan, and Dáithí P. Hanly and was officially opened on the 18th July 1976. Originally, the Basilica held the title ‘Church of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland’, however it was raised to the status of Basilica during the Papal visit in 1979.
Knock Basilica has recently undergone an enormous refurbishment programme which was carried out by A&D Wejcherts Architects, Dublin. The new award-winning interior radiates an atmosphere of warmth and welcome in a space that is sacred and peaceful. Every detail has been developed with the comfort of pilgrims in mind, from the beautiful ash wood seating designed and installed by Irish Contract Seating to the clear acoustics and atmospheric lighting.
Basilica Apparition Mosaic
The artistic highlight of Knock Basilica is the spectacular mosaic depicting the Knock Apparition scene of 1879. The mosaic is the largest of its kind in Europe, comprising 1.5 million pieces of individual mosaic tiles. It was crafted in Spilimbergo, Italy by Travisanutto, Artisan Mosaic makers and was deigned here in Ireland by the renowned illustrator, PJ Lynch.
The entire mosaic, from commissioning the project to the official unveiling, took more than two years and took over eight months to piece together in Italy before being transported in over 300 sections to Knock. The mosaic is made predominantly (approx 80 %) from Venetian glass smalti (traditional hand-cut mosaic glass). The rest (15%) is natural marble mosaic and the remaining 5% is made of gold smalti (glass and gold leaf). The mosaic at Knock Shrine is a ‘Beacon of Light and Hope for pilgrims’ (Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary) and was developed under ‘Witness to Hope’, a major renewal project at Knock Shrine.
Find out more amazing facts about the Mosaic…
The focal point of the Basilica is the brilliant white Sivec marble sanctuary which incorporates the Lamb of God mosaic. Sivec marble, mined in Macedonia, is famous for its pure white, unblemished characteristics and its use can be traced back thousands of years. The carefully restored Blessed Sacrament Chapel provides quiet space for worship and contemplation.
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