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8km tailbacks, a €76,000 catering bill and a 36-hour visit: the numbers behind Pope Francis' visit to Ireland

The pope’s two-day visit was one of the most widely anticipated events of the year.

Pope Francis ahead of his speech in St Patrick's Hall at Dublin Castle in August
Pope Francis ahead of his speech in St Patrick's Hall at Dublin Castle in August
Image: PA Images

IN AUGUST, POPE Francis I visited Ireland for two days to coincide with the World Meeting of Families, the first trip here by a pontiff in almost four decades.

The pope’s itinerary included a meeting with President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaran, a parade through Dublin city centre, a trip to Knock, and a two-hour mass in the Phoenix Park.

The event saw large parts of Dublin closed over 25 August and 26 August, as well as hours worth of television coverage and months of planning.

Here’s how the numbers stacked up:

36: The number of hours the Pope spent in Ireland.

€18,000,000: The amount the Office of Public Works spent on the two-day event.

39 years: The length of time that had elapsed since Ireland’s previous papal visit.

157: Number of roads closed in Dublin over the course of the two days the Pope was in Ireland.

17: The number of hours of television coverage RTÉ gave to the visit.

950: The number of emails and phone-calls RTÉ received from members of the public about its coverage.

€136,000: The amount the national broadcaster spent on its coverage.

76: The number of broadcasters who covered the visit across the world.

100,000: The number of people gardaí expected to line the streets of Dublin to see the Pope travel through the city on 25 August.

15 minutes: The length of time the Pope spent touring the streets of Dublin between meeting officials at Dublin Castle and visiting the Capuchin Day Centre.

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8km: The length of tailbacks outside Knock, Co Mayo on the day the pope visited Knock Shrine on 26 August.

1.1 million: The number of people who tuned in to RTÉ One at some point during the broadcast of the Papal Mass the same day.

€76,845: The amount that the Office of Public Works spent on catering the Phoenix Park mass.

500,000: The number of people the World Meeting of Families expected to attend the mass.

130,000: The number of members of the public (roughly) who did attend.

20,000: The number of special guests, including choir singers and security, who were used at the mass.

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