The story of Knock began on the 21st August 1879 when 15 people witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary, St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph. An inquiry was carried out to investigate the validity of the apparition, and after it concluded that the testimony of the witnesses was trustworthy and reliable Knock became a recognised shrine.
Until the 1970’s Knock was an important Irish pilgrimage site, but was less well known internationally. However, after the long-term parish priest James Horan presided over a rebuild of the site, including a new large church alongside the original to cope with increasing visitor numbers, Knock’s reputation grew. Then in 1979, on the centenary of the apparition, Knock shrine was given the Vatican seal of approval when Pope John Paul II made a personal pilgrimage here. Mother Teresa also visited the shrine in 1993.
The shrine now attracts pilgrims from all over the world, receiving over one and a half million visitors yearly. The main pilgrimage season runs from the last Sunday in April until the second Sunday in October