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Sacred spaces at Knock Shrine

There are five churches in the Shrine grounds, each with its own unique and exquisite features. From the Parish Church, built in 1828, to the Basilica constructed to give shelter to the millions that visit here each year, there is a wealth of architectural and decorative features to be enjoyed.

Apparition Chapel close up

The Apparition Chapel

The Apparition Chapel encloses the original gable wall of the Parish Church. Pilgrims can visit the very spot where the Apparition was witnessed in 1879.  The Chapel  is quiet and peaceful  and provides a space for reflective prayer and contemplation. Groups who are travelling to Knock with a priest can book a private Mass here.

The original gable wall has been preserved in its original appearance, highlighting the brilliant white Carrara marble carvings of Our Lady with St. John the Evangelist to her right and St. Joseph to her left. The Lamb is placed in the centre of the chapel on an altar surrounded by beautifully carved angels. Careful consideration was given to designing the scene to replicate the Apparition as described by the fifteen witnesses. The figures were sculpted by Professor Lorenzo Ferri in Italy in 1960 before being transported to Knock.

Pope John Paul II blessed the statues in the Chapel on his visit to Knock Shrine in September 1979 and Pope Francis spent time in quiet prayer at the site of the Apparition as part of his visit to Ireland in August 2018.

Knock Parish Church

Knock Parish Church has been at the spiritual heart of the village since 1828. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist, a simple plaque on its West elevation prophetically states ‘My House shall be called the house of Prayer to all Nations’ (Matt 11)

This historic Church has been carefully and sensitively restored for future generations of parishioners and pilgrims and stands as a testament to the faithful devotion of those who have gathered at this sacred place for almost 200 years.

The beautiful high altar in the Parish Church was made in the studio of Mr. P. J Scannell of Cork and was presented as a gift during a pilgrimage in 1880.

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The Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland

With its impressive spire clearly visible across the rural Western skyline, this iconic church was constructed in honour of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland and dedicated in 1976 to provide for the thousands of pilgrims who visit Knock Shrine each year.

The church was elevated to the status of Basilica by Pope John Paul II when he visited Knock Shrine in 1979 and extensively redeveloped in 2015. Its stunning interior can be equally described as aesthetically beautiful and spiritually uplifting. The window frames that divide each chapel are replicas from ancient churches and abbeys in each of the four provinces in Ireland and pay homage to our rich ecclesiastical heritage.

Knock Basilica forms a serene backdrop for ceremonies throughout the pilgrimage season, most notably the National Novena to Our Lady of Knock which continues unbroken since 1977.

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 to the atmospheric lighting.

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 designed here in Ireland by the renowned illustrator, PJ Lynch.

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The Chapel of Reconciliation

This Chapel was designed by Architects de Blacam & Meagher following an Architectural competition in 1988, which was held by Monsignor Greally, P.P., and Director of the Knock Shrine at this time. Going to Confessions or receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation is an important part of pilgrimage at Knock. The Chapel is beautifully constructed on a low site, which is of symbolic significance as the descent into the chapel recalls the rite of Baptism. In the early centuries, Baptism was conferred by immersion in a pool which was approached by a descent from higher ground.

Today, the Chapel of Reconciliation provides daily Confessions and is also home to Knock Counselling Centre.

The beautiful mosaic in the Chapel of Reconciliation was designed by Sr. Angelica Ballan, Order of the Divine Master in Rome. The gold spirals or rays surrounding the Crucifixion represent hope rising up from the scene, with the broader theme of the mosaic design focused around that same theme of hope. The lantern in the sanctuary represents a beacon of light in the centre of the building, which is otherwise quite dark. The idea behind this is that when one approaches the centre from the entrance, the scene becomes brighter. This is also in keeping with the design of the building itself which goes below ground level, with only a single shaft of light coming down through the high roof in the center so the lighting is naturally dark making the Reredos a central focus of light, brightness and hope.

The Blessed Sacrament Chapel

The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is a space dedicated to the Exposition of the Eucharist at Knock Shrine.  This is a quiet place within the Shrine grounds in which to spend time in contemplative prayer  in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration is a sign of devotion to and worship of Jesus Christ, who is  present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, under the appearance of the consecrated host.

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament  takes place daily throughout the pilgrimage season from 11.30 am to 6 pm.