Although the heavens were opened on Sunday mornings with torrential rains, it did not stop the pilgrims from Northern Cork from going out before sunrise to join the thousands of people from all over the country who traveled to Pope Francis in Pheonix Park. to see.
People from Kanturk, Lismire, Newmarket, Meelin and Rockchapel who traveled with Clifford Coaches were happy to share their thoughts on this historic occasion with the Corkman when they came home tired and elated on Monday morning at 12.30.
Fr. John was in Galway in 1979 to see Pope John Paul II. At that moment he was married and he had his daughter with him. Fast forward 39 years and Fr. John's life has changed a lot.
"That time when I was in Galway, I never thought I would attend the papal visit as a Pope in 2018!" Fr. John said.
After his wife died, he felt attracted to the priesthood and was consecrated last year. He was born in Whitechurch and was then assigned to the Kanturk Parish.
His daughter Gemma, who was a baby at the time of Pope John Paul II's visit, accompanied fr John to visit Pope Francis last Sunday, she was a volunteer and a Eucharistic minister.
Meanwhile, Fr. John was one of the hundreds of priests who competed the Mass with the Pope.
"It was a great opportunity and will provide us with a great lift," Fr. John said.
"When Pope Francis asked for forgiveness, I do not think people expected it and it could be a way to cure much of the bitterness and pain that people feel." he said.
"Even though we have lived through the winter, we are now hoping for a new spring" Besides the honor of begging the Mass together with Pope Francis, Father Fr. John had the opportunity to meet his many friends in the priesthood from all over the country.
"Everyone had a great day, it was so uplifting and peaceful, the bus service was great, thank you all for their cooperation to make it so nice day".
"I really enjoyed the day, it was everything I expected, the general people were great, there was a wonderful atmosphere, and it was a great honor to have Pope Francis travel to Ireland, we had to walk 90 minutes from the coach park to come to the Pheonix Park I did not mind the walk, but I think some people were put off by the prospect of such a long walk and back.I want to compliment those who organized the event locally for us with their great work ".
"It was a journey of your life, so glad that I could be there, I traveled with Clifford Coaches, it was really comfortable and the pilot was great".
Traffic management was absolutely brilliant with a special bus lane from the Red Cow roundabout to the Kylemore coach park. This accelerated things endlessly, even faster than a normal day.
However, it was a 5.9 km walk for people from the coach park to the Phoenix Park, which made it very difficult for the elderly or parents with young children. There should be a shuttle bus service that runs back and forth throughout the day. We were only allowed to get out of the coach park at 8 pm, the traffic was a bit slow at the beginning but soon started to move freely and the N7 stayed nice.