The International Knock
When Bus Eiraenn service number 64 from Sligo arrived at Knock, County Mayo of West Ireland, one third of the passengers got off the bus.
Bus Eiraenn arriving Knock
“The Knock of 1879 was an out-of-the-way village, not long recovered from the Great Famine. On the evening of August 21st, with the rain lashing, 15 villagers claimed to see holy apparitions on the side of the Catholic Church, suddenly aglow. In the centre appeared the Virgin Mary, her eyes trained heavenward, and, by her side, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist. The images neither moved nor spoke.” – The Irish Times, May 14, 2017
Two church commissions in 1879 and 1936 investigated the Apparition to confirm the claim was ‘trustworthy and satisfactory’. Visit of Pope John Paul II in the centenary of the Knock Apparition in 1979 and Mother Teresa’s visit in 1993 made Knock well-known to the world.
The Church of Apparition Knock
Statue in the rain
Rachael Salmon’s great-grandfather Dominick Byrne (Senior) was one of the 15 Apparition visionaries. At age 3 or 4, Rachael was first told by her grandmother about the Apparition but she was too young to understand.
“Statue in the rain, is all I can remember from what grandma told me.” Rachael smiled.
Across the Main Road on the other side of Knock Shrine, the Salmon family bought, renovated and opened a holiday lodging The International in 2016, caters for groups of 12-36 people.
Tranquil at day and peaceful at night, The International amazingly makes people feel like an extension of Knock Shrine.
Rachael manages the property for her brother-in-law Frank Salmon, a businessman based in London yet very keen on investing in his home town Knock.
The International – kitchen & lounge
East Mayo Ramblers
Mayo is one of Ireland’s largest counties which offers a range of sceneries and landscapes including a Greenway stretching from Westport to Achill along the Atlantic Coastline.
With much dedicated efforts by enthusiastic walker Michael Sloyan and his fellow East Mayo Ramblers, Knock will soon be officially included in the Irish Greenway which ultimately would be extended to Dublin.
I was lucky to have Michael spending a day with me walking through the then and now of Knock, then joined the East Mayo Ramblers for their usual evening walk.
East Mayo Ramblers
Ancient road of Knock
Catherine Murray’s miracle story
At Bekan Village Cemetery, Michael told Catherine Murray’s miracle story.
9-year-old Catherine was the second youngest of the 15 visionaries to the Apparition at Knock. She passed away at age 14 in 1884. 70 years later, the Murray family tried to bury the grandmother with Catherine to discover that Catherine’s body remained the same as she was buried 70 years ago.
Catherine’s grave has become a praying site for healing of sickness.
Bekan Village Cemetery
John Curry the youngest and last surviving visionary
We visited an authentic Irish thatched-roof house with a connection to John Curry. John was the youngest and last surviving visionary of the Apparition at Knock. 5-year-old John had to be lifted up by an 11-year-old cousin to see over a wall what he called the “grand babies” in the Apparition.
Eugene, father of the present property owner, generously showed us in the house.
The rendezvous of Michael the ‘carpenter’ and Dennis the ‘thatcher’ was somehow miraculous to me. Michael did the wood base and Dennis thatched the roof of the house without knowing each other. Decades later, the two masons returned to meet for the first time in this legendary house.
200-year-old thatched-roof house
Knitting and crocheting “ the story behind
Knitting and crocheting is popular in Ireland as sheep farming produces high quality woollen. For Rachael Salmon’s friend Leonie Kilroy, the craft reminds her of the irreversible years she and her sister spending together. It began as Leonie accompanied her beloved sister in illness. The nurse told them to “find something to do with the hands to release the mind”. Perhaps that’s why Leonie’s craft pieces seem to carry a special sentiment “the beautiful flower bouquet, ladies hats, shawls, bags, shoes and baby garments”. Some of Leonie’s knitting & crocheting works can be purchased in the Knock Museum, weekend market and Christmas market.
Rachael Salmon (right) & friend Leonie Kilroy (left)
Knock Shrine holy water
Pilgrimage visitors fill bottles of Knock Shrine holy water to bring home to family, relatives and friends. I did not. I am graceful for being blessed by this miracle village with friendship, adventure and a most wonderful stay at The International.
Bus Eiraenn – http://www.buseireann.ie/
The International – http://theinternational.ie/
10 unsuited bedrooms for groups of 12-36 people (485 Euro/night up to 20 people, 18 Euro/person/night thereafter)
To visit & to do
Knock Shrine – https://www.knockshrine.ie/
Knock Museum – http://www.museumsofmayo.com/knockfolk.htm
East Mayo Ramblers – https://www.facebook.com/East-Mayo-Ramblers-1443417039280159/
It’ a Mad Hatter – https://www.facebook.com/Its-The-Mad-Hatter-1379363085649746/
Photos by Troy Nam