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The Pope addressing the crowd at Croke Park

As it happened: Day 1 of pope's visit comes to an end with Croke Park concert

His packed itinerary took in quite a lot today.

Pope Francis has ended the first day of his official papal visit, the first from a serving pope since John Paul II in 1979.

He arrived in a very changed Ireland to the one Pope John Paul II visited almost 40 years ago, and although crowds of 100,000 were expected to line the streets to see him, initial estimates put the figure far below that.

Here’s what happened today:

We reported everything as it happened throughout the day, and you can read about what took place in more detail below.

The pope is due to arrive at Dublin Airport at 10.30am and he has a packed itinerary.

He’ll be visiting Áras an Uachtaran, Dublin Castle and Croke Park, with a trip to St Mary’s Pro Cathedral and the Capuchin Day Centre also on the schedule.

Not included on this list below is the Dublin city centre parade which takes place just after 4pm.

pope itinerary 1

The aforementioned Nicky Ryan is at Dublin Airport, where the red carpet was literally being hoovered ahead Pope Francis’ arrival.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will greet the pontiff on his arrival. His youngest daughter Annalise will also present the Pope with a bouquet of flowers when he arrives.

The director of the Vatican press office, Greg Burke, took this snap of the pope after boarding the plane in Rome earlier this morning.

As for his arrival time, the site Flightradar estimates that the plane will touch down in Dublin at 10.18am.

Image from iOS

Elsewhere in Dublin this morning, blue ribbons have been tied to the railings of the city’s Ha’penny Bridge in support of abuse victims.

There were a number of campaigners at the bridge this morning, and there are further demonstrations planned over the course of the weekend.

Aside from that, we know that parts of Dublin are effectively shut off today. There are numerous traffic diversions and road closures.

We have a bumper guide for what you need to know here, and here’s a visual guide for the roads in and around the city that’ll be closed to traffic.


When he flies to Knock tomorrow, and back to Rome tomorrow evening, Pope Francis will be travelling with Aer Lingus.

Onboard, he will dine on a “traditional Irish menu”, the airline said.

A number of journalists were onboard the pope’s flight to Ireland, and he greeted them prior to landing.

The plane has now come to a stop, and the pope will disembark shortly.

We’ve a video over on Facebook following it as it happens.

As await the doors to open to the plane at Dublin Airport, Daragh Brophy has been interviewing people on the streets of Dublin.

Here’s the live feed from the airport as the pope will disembark the plane.

And here he is…


He was greeted by Simon Coveney and his family first when he reached the end of the steps.

The smiling pontiff is shaking hands and looks in good form.

rte pope RTÉ RTÉ

Pope Francis is now in a Skoda, and is headed for the Phoenix Park for an official welcome at Áras an Uachtaran.

Just to give you an idea of what to expect, his visit to the Áras will be largely ceremonial where he will meet President Michael D Higgins.

The first time opportunity for him to say anything of note publicly is at Dublin Castle just after midday.

It is there he will meet politicians and other public figures, including An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. It is understood Pope Francis may use this opportunity to make a statement regarding the ongoing scandals of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

RTÉ journalist Tony Connolly speaking on the broadcaster’s coverage now.

He says that the pope made pleasantries with the journalists but didn’t make any statement.

Also, the convoy accompanying Pope Francis is absolutely huge. Huge.

pope convoy RTÉ RTÉ

When he arrives at Áras an Uachtaran, Pope Francis will received a guard of honour from navy personnel.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone is there representing the government, and she just received a salute on site.

As we await the arrival of Pope Francis to Áras an Uachtaran, there’s a few pope-related features on this weekend well worth a look.

If you want to know the pontiff’s full itinerary, Daragh Brophy has you covered.

If you want to know how to get around Dublin, here’s a little something I prepared earlier.

And, if you want to hear about the Tipperary singer who sang a solo for Pope John Paul II back in 1979, Stephen McDermott’s interesting piece here will take care of that need.

Here’s the assembled guard of honour and the army number one band awaiting the pope’s arrival in the Phoenix Park.

The pope’s convoy is making its way to the Phoenix Park via the Ballymun Road.

Motorists are advised to expect delays in the area.

So the convoy is in the park now, but it’ll only be a flying visit to the Áras.

Pope Francis is due to travel to Dublin Castle at midday.

aras pope francis RTÉ RTÉ

And it’s a warm greeting from Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, for Pope Francis.

They’re now playing the anthem of the Vatican which will be followed by Amhrán na bhFiann.

pope miggledy RTÉ RTÉ

An interesting one here from the UCD Archives on what then-President Patrick Hillery said to welcome Pope John Paul II to Ireland in 1979.

“We hope that you will feel at home in our midst,” he said. “The fortitude so often displayed throughout history by the people of your native land is well known to the people of Ireland.”

Pope Francis, President Higgins et al have now gone inside the Áras.

And here’s some pictures of the Coveney family greeting Pope Francis upon his arrival.





Meanwhile, back at the Áras, Pope Francis is signing the visitor’s book with Sabina and Michael D Higgins either side of him.

He’ll now go in for a chat with the President for around 15 minutes or so.

signing pope RTÉ RTÉ

As we’ve mentioned, a demonstration in the city centre marked the arrival of Pope Francis at Dublin Airport.

People were demonstrating about LGBT issues, women’s ordination and clerical abuse, and Daragh Brophy has more here.

hap Rainbow flags and blue ribbons on the Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin city today. Niall Carson / PA Wire/PA Images Niall Carson / PA Wire/PA Images / PA Wire/PA Images

Before the pope travels into the city centre, it’s worth noting again the sheer extent of road closures in Dublin today.

People are urged to take public transport wherever possible, as roads such as O’Connell Street, Westmoreland Street, D’Olier Street, Church Street and many, many others are closed to traffic.

There are also diversions in place on a number of Dublin Bus routes worth taking into account if you’re travelling into or through the city today.

Knock is also on the papal itinerary this weekend, with Pope Francis due to travel there tomorrow morning.

RTÉ’s Juliette Gash is in position already, and has given a whirlwind tour of preparations on site.

For people taking to the streets today to get a glimpse of Pope Francis, this makes for welcome reading:

The pope and President Higgins have emerged from their meeting.

Michael D and Sabina are escorting the pope to the garden, where he will plant an oak tree.

And here he is doing just that:

pope francis digging RTÉ RTÉ

Daragh Brophy reports from Dublin Castle:

Invited guests are beginning to arrive at St Patrick’s Hall at Dublin Castle, where the pope will deliver an address after meeting the Taoiseach outside.

Various clergy and politicians in the audience, including Senator David Norris who in recent months has been speaking on behalf of the LGBT-right advocating religious group We Are Church Ireland.

Joanne O’Riordan, the disability right advocate, is at the top of the room posing for pictures.

The media are located up on the balcony. Translation earpieces are being handed out at the moment.

And it’s time for goodbyes at Áras an Uachtaran, with the President and his wife bidding farewell to the pontiff.

The next stop for Pope Francis – and that massive convoy of cars – is Dublin Castle.

pope francis sabina RTÉ RTÉ

Things are all set in Dublin Castle with crowds packed in awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis.

And the assembled politicians are there. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will speak, as will the pope, himself.

As previously mentioned, it’s understood that Pope Francis will directly address the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church in Ireland when he addresses attendees.

The pope has left the Phoenix Park and is on his way to Dublin Castle now.

And Pope Francis has arrived at Dublin Castle.

pope francis dublin castle RTÉ RTÉ

He’s now in the drawing room of Dublin Castle, and is going to sign the visitor’s book. The Taoiseach is right by his side.

The Taoiseach will address the crowd first.

The pope is having a sit down with Leo Varadkar prior to the speeches starting.

There’s a quite wide array of people in attendance, with political figures including former President Mary McAleese and former Taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern.

McAleese has spoken strongly on the World Meeting of Families and the abuse scandals in the Church in recent weeks.

leo v pope RTÉ RTÉ

Ahead of the pope’s visit, images of people who have spoken out about about abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland were projected onto buildings in Dublin city last night.

The images were projected onto the buildings ahead of Stand for Truth, a demonstration in solidarity with Church abuse survivors, which is due to take place at 3pm in Dublin city centre tomorrow to coincide with Pope Francis’ Mass in the Phoenix Park.

My colleague Órla Ryan has more.

Leo’s been tweeting, and says Pope Francis is visiting a “very different Ireland” to the one Pope John Paul II visited in 1979.

Michael D Higgins has issued a statement on his meeting with the pope.

“President Higgins and His Holiness Pope Francis continued their previous discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual concern, emphasising the need for concerted international action to address the challenges of climate change, inequality, poverty, violent conflict and migration,” it says.

President Higgins raised with His Holiness the immense suffering and hurt caused by child sex abuse perpetrated by some within the Catholic Church. He spoke of the anger which had been conveyed to him at what was perceived to be the impunity enjoyed by those who had the responsibility of bringing such abuses for action by the appropriate authorities and have not done so.

The President welcomed the honest and forthright language that His Holiness used when addressing the issue in his recent Letter to the People of God. He conveyed to Pope Francis the widely held view that all would benefit from a set of actions that gave the necessary assurances to all citizens past, present and future, of all faiths and none.

While that’s happening, the pope and Leo Varadkar are on stage.

The Taoiseach will speak first.

leo v pope again RTÉ RTÉ

The Taoiseach says that, when the State was formed, the Catholic Church helped to provide essential services such as education and health and “we remain profoundly grateful for that contribution”.

Varadkar, however, describes the history of failures from the Church and the State as a history of “sorrow and shame”.

“In place of Christian charity, forgiveness and compassion, far too often there was judgement, severity and cruelty, in particular, towards women and children and those on the margins,” he says.

Magdalene Laundries, Mother and Baby Homes, industrial schools, illegal adoptions and clerical child abuse are stains on our State, our society and also the Catholic Church.  Wounds are still open and there is much to be done to bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors.

In recent weeks, we have all listened to heart-breaking stories from Pennsylvania of brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic Church, and then obscured to protect the institution at the expense of innocent victims.  It is a story that was all too tragically familiar here in Ireland.

Varadkar asks the pope to listen to the victims, and says that “we must ensure that from words flow actions”.

“We know that you will do that,” Varadkar adds on his wish for Pope Francis to speak with victims and survivors of clerical abuse.

varadkar pope RTÉ RTÉ

Varadkar goes on: “Building on our intertwined history, and learning from our shared mistakes, it can be one in which religion is no longer at the centre of our society, but in which it still has an important place.”

He calls for a more “mature” relationship between Church and State.

“Ireland is a different country than it was 39 years ago when we last welcomed a pope to these shores. But make no mistake, modern Ireland is still a country with faith and spirit and values.  Family, community, enterprise, social justice, diversity, openness and internationalism, equality before the law, and individual liberty. These values describe the Republic which we aspire to build,” the Taoiseach adds.

Your holiness, we thank you for your visit, and ask for your prayers.

Pope Francis takes to the stage now for his speech.

He’s speaking in Italian, but RTÉ have a translator.

The pope thanks the Taoiseach for his welcome. He also begins by talking at length about the importance of the World Meeting of Families.

pope speech RTÉ RTÉ

Pope Francis uses a section of his speech to discuss the abuse scandals in the church in Ireland directly.

He says: “I am very conscious of the circumstances of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters – I think especially of those women and children who in the past have endured particularly difficult situations.

With regard to the most vulnerable, I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education.

Pope Francis says that the words of the Minister of Children still echo in his heart, and he thanks her for her words.

He goes on: “The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address the repellant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments.”

He now references words from his predecessor.

Pope Francis says: “My predecessor, Pope Benedict, spared no words in recognising both the gravity of the situation and demanding that “truly evangelical, just and effective” measures be taken in response to this betrayal of trust.

His frank and decisive intervention continues to serve as an incentive for the efforts of the Church leadership both to remedy past mistakes and to adopt stringent norms meant to ensure that they do not happen again.

He says the Church has played a role in promoting the welfare of children in Ireland “cannot be obscured”.

The pope says the abuse scandals will “serve to emphasise the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults”.

So far, Pope Francis has stopped short of issuing an apology to victims of clerical abuse.

Pope Francis is now talking about the faith of the people of Ireland.

He says: “Even in Ireland’s darkest hours, they found in that faith a source of the courage and commitment needed to forge a future of freedom and dignity, justice and solidarity.”

“With these thoughts, I cordially invoke upon you, and upon all the beloved Irish people, God’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace. Thank you,” he concludes.

So that’s it. That’s his speech over.

An acknowledgement but no apology for victims in the keynote speech. Órla Ryan was following it closely, and has more here.

And here’s a rundown of what the Taoiseach said in his speech.

The pope was greeted with applause following his speech.

Attendee Colm O’Gorman, a human rights campaigner and a clerical abuse victim, however, has been sharply critical of the pope’s speech.

The Taoiseach, on the other hand, directly referenced Magdalene Laundries and mother-and-baby homes in his speech.

Just a reminder, he said that there can “only be zero tolerance for those who abuse innocent children or who facilitate that abuse”.

He said that actions should now flow from words.

The next event for Pope Francis to attend isn’t for a couple of hours.

Here are some of the best photos from the visit so far.

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Images PA Images

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Images PA Images

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Images PA Images

Papal Visit to Ireland 2018 Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

ARAS POPE 472_90552310 Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Nicky Ryan has been outside Dublin Castle, and here he talks to some who’ve turned out to see Pope Francis.

Some people have travelled from abroad for the pope’s visit, including this man who spoke to Nicky Ryan outside Dublin Castle.

There was quite a crowd to wave the pope off.

Here’s Pope Francis talking earlier.

He said: “The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address the repellant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community.”

The installation from Councillor Mannix Flynn in Temple Bar, going in depth about the abuse scandals in Ireland is making many stop and look this afternoon.

So just a refresher for what’s next today.

Pope Francis will visit St Mary’s Pro Cathedral on Marlborough Street after 3pm.

He’s then due to board the popemobile for a parade through Dublin city centre from 4pm, which will end at the Capuchin Day Centre off Arran Quay.

Then he will attend the festival of families at Croke Park this evening.

Speaking earlier this week, Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy said he expected 100,000 to throng the streets of Dublin for the parade.

Diversions kicked in for dozens of Dublin Bus routes took effect from 1pm.

The real time passenger information isn’t working all weekend so don’t be counting on that if you’re taking a bus.

Here’s a picture of the crowds in Dublin Castle earlier as Pope Francis left the hall with Leo Varadkar behind him (with government ministers at the top left).


It had been believed that Pope Francis may meet abuse victims and survivors at some stage over his two-day visit.

RTÉ are reporting that it has been confirmed by Health Minister Simon Harris that this will happen later today.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, and it’s not the best of news for anyone going to the Phoenix Park.

It’s going to rain quite a bit in the morning, but it should clear up by the time of the mass after 3pm.

Survivors group One in Four has issued a statement responding to Pope Francis’ speech at Dublin Castle.

It is critical, calling it a “missed opportunity” to outline what concrete steps the Vatican would take to deal with the crimes of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Its executive director Maeve Lewis has said: “No pope has ever accepted responsibility for the Vatican’s role in the cover-ups. Acknowledgement of this complicity would have been a good start in Dublin Castle today.

It is a great credit to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that in his speech today he acknowledged the role of the Irish State in colluding with the Catholic Church in the abuse of women and children and he was wholly unequivocal in calling for zero tolerance of child sexual abuse. What a missed opportunity for the pope to do the same.

So what’s actually happening when the pope goes to St Mary’s Pro Cathedral?

Newly married and soon-to-be-married couples will be inside to greet the pontiff at the only church he’ll visit in Dublin.

Speaking of the world’s media, here’s how a few international publications are covering the visit of the pope to Ireland.

The New York Times is running with the headline: “Pope Francis in Ireland under a cloud of Church abuse scandals”.

The BBC says: “Pope shamed by Church’s abuse failures”.

The Guardian has ran with: “Irish PM calls for ‘new relationship’ between Church and State.”

The Boston Globe – of Spotlight fame for highlighting clerical child abuse in the US – says: “Pope says he shares outrage over cover-up of ‘repugnant crimes’ of priests who committed sex abuse.”

The Rome-based La Repubblica reports: “The pope in Ireland: ‘The Church has failed, I feel pain and shame’.”

This was the powerful message from councillor and abuse survivor Mannix Flynn earlier as he and others held a quiet protest where crowds had gathered to see the pope at Dublin Castle.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was speaking outside Dublin Castle after the pope’s speech, and said he would have appreciated a “greater focus” on the actions that would follow on from clerical sex abuse scandals.

Here was the queue onto Gardiner Street in Dublin earlier, waiting for the pope to attend St Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

Colm O’Gorman was also speaking to reporters outside after the pope’s speech.

Like his earlier tweets, he was critical of the contents of Pope Francis’ speech.

He said: “He could have talked to the people of Ireland… he could have talked in a way that was blunt, frank and human… he refused to do so… I think it’s rather disgraceful.”

After all that excitement it’s time for a break, so I will leave you in the very capable hands of my colleague Stephen McDermott for the next while.

Take it away…

Thanks Seán.

There’s still a bit of a lull in proceedings, but if you have any thoughts, pictures, or other pope-related stuff you’d like to share, get in touch by email at or tweet me @Ste_McDermott.

Latest from the Pro Cathedral, where Fr Kieran (no relation) is raring to go.

Not too long now. The pope is expected to arrive at the Pro Cathedral in the next few minutes.

The pope has officially arrived at the Pro Cathedral. He’s currently engaging in silent prayer at the Candle of Innocence, which has been lit since 2011 to remember the victims of child sexual abuse by priests.

Elsewhere, crowds are gathering in Dublin city centre to catch a glimpse of the pope as he travels through town in the popemobile.

Initial estimates put the figure at 100,000 people, but it seems like there are considerably fewer than that out there.

The pope is now about to bless newly-married couples.

Before he does that though, he’s going to bless the marriage of a couple, Teresa and Vincent, who have been married for 50 years.

“Family life was not easy for us,” Teresa says. “But we were supported in a special way by prayer, which kept us going when things were hard.”

The pope offering a wisecrack as he blesses the marriages of young couples in the Pro Cathedral.

“Older people are wise,” he says. “Even the mothers-in-law.”


Roving reporter Daragh Brophy is currently walking along the parade route, where he’s spotted pope fans, protesters, and a plucky ‘entrepreneur’.

And just as the pope concludes his advice for young couples in the Pro Cathedral, Seán Murray has returned to the office (no coincidence).

He’ll be resuming live blog duties for the next couple of hours. Over to you Seán…

Thanks Stephen (I think).

After that service in St Mary’s, the pope is set to get back into the popemobile for his parade around the city centre.

Last stop: the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin 7.

popemobile RTÉ RTÉ

He’s just crossed the Liffey onto Westmoreland Street.

crowds popemobile RTÉ RTÉ

crowds popemobile 2 RTÉ RTÉ

This isn’t like your typical St Patrick’s Day parade. The popemobile is going quickly enough through the city.

Already down Dame Street.

popemobile 2 RTÉ RTÉ

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 Yui Mok / PA Images Yui Mok / PA Images / PA Images

Going back to earlier this afternoon, we’ve heard details of what Pope Francis and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar talked about during their brief meeting at Dublin Castle.

We’ve received this from our political reporter, Christina Finn:

“Pope Francis thanked the Taoiseach for the work the Government and State authorities had put into the visit, and for the warm welcome he has received.

They spoke about legacy issues and the Taoiseach said to the Pope that there are huge numbers of people here who have faith in their heart but who feel excluded and alienated from the Church because of what happened. The Taoiseach said these people want to believe again, and want to be called back to the Church.

The pope is getting closer to the Capuchin centre where he will meet Brother Kevin Crowley and see the work done at the homeless services centre.

Someone has put a rainbow flag up on a house directly opposite where the popemobile is stopping at the centre in Smithfield.

Image from iOS

The pope has arrived at the Capuchin centre where Brother Kevin was there to greet him.

brother kevin pope RTÉ RTÉ

Applause at the Capuchin Centre after a speech from Brother Kevin where he describes how the centre, “from humble beginnings”, now provides 800 hot meals to vulnerable and needy families every day.

He also pays tribute to Pope Francis, who now takes to the stage himself in the centre.

rte pope capuchin RTÉ RTÉ

Daragh Brophy is still out and about in the city.

He’s just passed this group calling for redress for victims of historic abuse. They’ve laid out dozens of children’s shoes on the path.

Here’s a collection of photos from St Mary’s earlier this afternoon.





Pope Francis referenced words that “echoed in [his] heart” from Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone in his Dublin Castle speech earlier on.

A spokesperson has told TV3′s Zara King that these words were about the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

So just to recap, Pope Francis has visited Áras an Uachtaran, Dublin Castle, St Mary’s Pro Cathedral and the Capuchin Day Centre so far today.

The main event is still to come, where he is due to give a speech at the World Meeting of Families in Croke Park at 7.45pm this evening.

It is also understood that he may be meeting victims of clerical sex abuse before Croke Park but no details have been made public on that as of yet.

A timely reminder from Irish Rail: tickets are now sold out on a number of routes ahead of the mass tomorrow.

Intercity advance booking is mandatory, while Dart and Dublin Commuter services are free with a papal mass ticket.

And, for Croke Park tonight, there are extra trains on the Maynooth/Dublin line and extra late night services from Dublin to Cork, Limerick and Galway.

It was a big moment for the Coveney family this morning as they were the first to welcome Pope Francis when he arrived.

Simon Coveney has tweeted that it was a “privilege and a humbling experience”.

He’s also tweeted criticism of a Conservative MP for “ill informed” comments about the Irish border. (More on that on in the next few minutes.)

Not the only one who thought the popemobile went rather fast?

Daragh Brophy and Nicky Ryan have compiled this good piece on the unanticipated haste of the pope’s convoy.

Papal Visit to Ireland 2018 Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

From that piece on the speed of the popemobile:

“That was a bit too fast, wasn’t it? You wouldn’t even have time to have a selfie,” one man, who insisted he had no particular interest in the pope but happened to be in town anyway, said.

Sitting close to him on the wall of O’Connell Bridge, a couple who had travelled from the North for the weekend’s events agreed he had gone by faster than expected.

Behind us, another member of the crowd observed: “Well … that’s it then.”

It’s been a relatively nice day in Dublin today, but this doesn’t look good.

The Croke Park attendees, however, should manage to avoid the rain.

Well that’s it from me today.

I again leave you in the hands of the esteemed Mr Stephen McDermott, who’ll take you through the Croke Park event featuring Daniel O’Donnell, Nathan Carter and, of course, Pope Francis.


Thanks Sean. We’re into the final few hours of day one of the pope’s visit, so if you’ve any thoughts you’d like to share with me, send them to or @Ste_McDermott on Twitter.

Daniel O’Donnell has been spotted in Croke Park ahead of the pope’s final engagement of the day.

We’re not entirely sure how we feel about that dinner jacket…

Acts have taken the stage at the Festival of Families at Croke Park.

We’ve just had the Irish language section of the event, and now former Galway dual star Alan Kerins is addressing the crowd.

In other words, it’s business as usual at GAA HQ.

Anyone else getting a misplaced sense of Eurovision fever?

Gardaí have shared some aerial photos of Dublin as Pope Francis made his way to the Pro Cathedral.

Crowds look to have been three people deep at most at the junction of Sean McDermott Street and Gardiner Street, shown in the picture on the right.

The Vatican says that Pope Francis met with eight survivors of clergy abuse earlier today, according to AP.

Among the victims he met was Marie Collins, who resigned from the Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors last year.

We’ll have more on this shortly.

Over at the Festival of Families, they’re taking a break from proceedings before the pope’s arrival in the next few minutes.

A spokesman has just taken the stage to say the pontiff has gotten stuck in traffic, so it’s good to know he’s getting to experience Dublin like a local.

And the pope has finally arrived in Croke Park to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Anthem’. Hallelujah.

Vincent Browne questioned why Ireland was welcoming the pope, saying the Vatican knew about child sex abuse in Pennsylvania in the US, where more than 1,000 children were recently found to have been abused by priests.

Our tireless reporter Daragh Brophy has more on the pope’s meeting with eight survivors of clerical sex abuse, which you can read here.

Manuela Spinelli, last seen translating for Giovanni Trapattoni, is on hand in the RTÉ studio to do the same for the pope. Not a bad CV by any stretch.

Sportsfile with a late contender for photo caption of the day.

Here’s some images of the pope after his arrival in Croke Park earlier.

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Kudos to this girl who didn’t think twice about asking the pope for a selfie in front of 82,500 people.

Pope selfie RTE RTE

Daragh Brophy spotted this entrepreneur selling bottles of Pope Francis holy water this afternoon. He chatted a number of people selling pope-related paraphernalia on the streets of Dublin today, which you can take a look at here.

Pope Francis visit to Ireland - Day 1 PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

We’re nearly there. The pope has just started his address to the audience at Croke Park, starting off by addressing the crowd in Irish: “Dia daoibh”.

The pope opens his address with an emphasis on parents baptising their children.

He calls the Church the “family of God” and calls for children to be baptised as soon as possible to “everyone is invited to the party”.

He also makes a distinction between children who are baptised and those who aren’t, claiming the former group are “stronger” because it guarantees they have “the strength of God” within them.

The pope makes another reference to female in-laws in his Festival of Families speech.

He said that “mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law” are also included in the family, adding that it isn’t always easy to get on with family members.

Earlier at the Pro Cathedral, he said “the old people have wisdom…even mothers-in-law”.

Pretty mundane stuff so far.

The pope did show some 21st century credentials by praising the possibilities of social media, but also warned about the threat it can present to real-life relationships.

Earlier, he gave some advice on how to make a good cup of tea, saying “it’s easy to bring water to a boil but a good cup of tea takes time and patience; it needs to brew.”

Meanwhile, professional atheist and Englishman Richard Dawkins has chimed in on the pope’s Irish trip.

Back at Croke Park, the pope is finishing up his speech to rapturous applause.

He’s changed over to English to lead the crowd through the official World Meeting of Families prayer.

And that’s that.

There’ll be a bit more music from Croke Park to close off the Festival of Families, but the pope will be whisked away to a secret location for the night, before the second and final day of his visit tomorrow.

We’ll resume our pope-related coverage then, but for now it’s goodnight from me and everyone else here at Journal Towers.

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