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When the Pope came to the Park.....

When Pope John Paul II came to the Phoenix Park in 1979 the following arrangements were in place:

At each gate people were issued with a sticker featuring a number and a letter. The number and letter were clearly marked by a big poster to easily identify the site the person was to go to.

The people were divided into groups of 1,000, and the number referred to each of these areas. The nine rows of corrals were each marked by a different colour. Moving out from the altar area the colours were red, orange, yellow, green, royal blue, purple, pink, grey, black.

The site was designed for safety and comfort of everyone, and it was advised that children under 7 years should not attend.

Between each pair of corrals was an avenue – 40ft wide, so that sight lines would not be obstructed, and all would be near the Pope as he passed through in his Pope Mobile! It took almost an hour to drive among the people.

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Here we have Triona Walsh’s sticker and badge from that day nearly thirty-nine years ago. She was in area 41 of the yellow corral.

While many Lucan people headed for the Phoenix Park, others went to the Youth Mass in Knock on the Sunday, or Maynooth College the following Monday.

Local man, Michael Griffin actually drove the Pope Mobile in Knock.