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Pope Francis to visit Ireland in August

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    Pope Francis is to visit Ireland in August – the first papal visit to the country for almost 40 years.

    He will arrive in Dublin as the city hosts of the World Meeting of Families, an international Catholic event which is staged every three years.

    The last pontiff to visit the Republic of Ireland was Pope John Paul II. He drew crowds of over 2.5m – more than half the state’s population – in 1979.

    Like John Paul II, he will celebrate mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

    He will also take part in the ‘Festival of Families’ in Croke Park, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). It is one of the largest stadiums in Europe with a capacity of more than 82,000.

    Pope Francis will arrive in a vastly changed and much more secular Ireland.

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