Aer Lingus to fly pilgrims from New York to Knock for first time

Cardinal Timothy Dolan: ‘It is an honour for me to open Ireland’s national public novena’

The first transatlantic flight by Aer Lingus from the US to Ireland West Airport Knock, Co Mayo, takes place next August.

It will also be the first official chartered pilgrimage to Ireland’s national marian shrine and the first diocesan pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of New York to Knock.

The special pilgrimage flight, supported by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York will be led by Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. It departs on Saturday August 8th and and returns there from Knock airport on the 16th.

Public novena


During their eight-day visit the pilgrims will visit some of Ireland’s most historic spiritual sites and take take part in Ireland’s national public novena at Knock.

Welcoming the announcement Cardinal Dolan said it would be “an honour for me to travel to the west of Ireland and open Ireland’s national public novena on the 14th of August”in Knock.

Parish priest at Knock Fr Richard Gibbons said the news was "a very important and historic step for the promotion of Knock". It was "hugely significant" that the Archdiocese of New York was "deepening its relationship with Knock shrine and highlighting the spiritual heritage of Irish Americans especially in New York. Knock shrine holds a special place in the hearts of our diaspora," he said.

Welcoming Pilgrims

He also noted that that the airport "was built specifically to welcome pilgrims to Knock shrine as well as to develop the economic life of the west. Monsignor James Horan, I'm sure, would be very proud."

Joe Kennedy, chairman of Knock airport, welcomed Aer Lingus on "their first ever transatlantic service to the west of Ireland."

It was “a major milestone for the airport and the region,” he added.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times