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11th Apr 2023

Biden adds Knock Shrine visit to Irish travel itinerary

Fiona Frawley

Sure you could hardly miss it out.

Joe Biden’s four-day trip to Ireland gets underway today, starting in Belfast, but the President has just added an extra location to his list.

President Biden will stop off at Knock Shrine during his visit to Mayo, where he has ancestral roots.

According to the Irish Times, the White House confirmed Mr Biden’s planned tour of the sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock, along with a visit to the North Mayo Heritage and Geneological Centre’s family history research unit.

“A personal visit”

Speaking about the President’s scheduled visit to the holy location, Fr Richard Gibbons of Knock said:

“We are delighted to welcome President Joe Biden to Knock Shrine. This is a huge honour and will be the first visit of a US President to Knock Shrine. The Shrine is a special and unique place on the island of Ireland. We have previously been honoured by the visit of Saint John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Francis in 2018. We are delighted to have been included as part of the Presidents personal visits to Mayo.”

The Apparition Chapel at Knock Shrine, via

Biden’s Itinerary

While his main political appointments are in Belfast and Dublin, the President will visit Co Louth and Co Mayo, where he has family connections.

Mr Biden is due to arrive in Belfast shortly after 9pm and is expected to meet representatives from five of the North’s political parties in advance of a speech at Ulster University on Wednesday.

Following this, the President will head south towards Dublin Airport before moving north again to Co. Louth, where he will visit Carlingford. He will then return to Dublin where he is believed to be staying in a city centre hotel.

President Biden’s trip gets underway in Belfast this evening. Image via Instagram/POTUS

On Thursday, Mr Biden will pay a visit to Áras an Uachtaráin, before making an address to the Oireachtas that afternoon. The Dáil and Seanad are being recalled from their Easter break to attend.

Two popes have visited Knock and two saints: Pope St John Paul, who visited in 1979 to mark the centenary of the apparitions; St Teresa of Calcutta was there in June 1993, and Pope Francis who visited in 2018.

Header image via Shutterstock/Knock Shrine