Pilgrims across Ireland will soon be donning their hiking books as they prepare for a 10-day walk to Knock Shrine this month, to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the famous Apparition. Pilgrims will set out from St Mary of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, on August 11, marking the beginning of the 180km walk.
The first stage of the walk will be along by the Nenagh river to Domineer. There will also be a boat trip celebrating Irish Christian heritage on the Ku-ee-tu from Domineer to Portumna with refreshments at the Ferry Inn. Pilgrims will travel then through Co. Galway via the Himany way onto the Suck way through Co. Roscommon to within a few miles of Castlerea before turning due west for Ballyhaunis in Co. Mayo.
The pilgrimage commemorates the silent apparition witnessed by village people at the gable-end of St John the Baptist Church on August 21, 1879.
In March 1880 the first organised pilgrimage to Knock Shrine came from the Redemptorist Holy Family Confraternity, Limerick city. These 50 Limerick pilgrims came by rail to Tuam, and travelled onwards to Knock in nine horse drawn cars.
The second official pilgrimage came from Cork city, who presented Knock Parish Church with a beautiful marble altar. This altar has a depiction of the Pieta set into it, and today it’s the central altar at St John the Baptist Parish Church Knock.
While the 1879 Knock apparition was in silence, this pilgrim walk will be full of talk, laughter and camaraderie with a prayer or two to help guide the pilgrim walkers safely along the way. There will be many times of silence also, as the pilgrim walkers connect with the sound of nature and their true self.
If you would like to join other trekkers on the pilgrimage, contact Donie Mackey on 087 2761442 for further information.