Papal Visit sights and sounds: Pope Francis addresses Croke Park audience

Update 9.51pm Andrea Bocelli closes the concert with Nessun Dorma.

Update 9.47pm: Pope Francis leaves Croke Park

Update 9.00pm Pope Francis addresses Croke Park audience

Pope Francis takes a “selfie’ with Alison Nevin age 12 from the Carrickmines tragedy family at Croke Park
Pope Francis takes a “selfie’ with Alison Nevin age 12 from the Carrickmines tragedy family at Croke Park

Andrea Bocelli serenades the crowd with Ava Maria.

MOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA Wire
MOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA Wire

WMOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA Wire
WMOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA Wire

Riverdance takes to the stage.

A member of the crowd pictured as Pope Francis makes his way through the crowd at Croke Park, Dublin
A member of the crowd pictured as Pope Francis makes his way through the crowd at Croke Park, Dublin

Update 7.33pm:

Pope Francis has arrived at the Festival of Famillies in Croke Park.

Pope Francis arrival through the crowds at Croke Park
Pope Francis arrival through the crowds at Croke Park

Update 7.15pm:

Nathan Carter takes to the stage.

Update 7.01pm:

#FestivalofFamilies is underway at Croke Park as the crowd await the arrival of Pope Francis.

Update 5.59pm:

The Mexican waves have begun.

Croke Park fills up anticpating Pontiff's arrival, a part of the Festival of Families.

Update 5.33pm:

Pontiff makes his way to the Day Centre for Homeless Families of the Capuchin Fathers.

Update 4.05pm:

Pope Francis meets 500 engaged or newly married couples in St. Mary's Cathedral.

"Marriage is not simply an institution but a vocation, a conscious and lifelong decision, to care for, help and protect each other"

Update 3.35pm:

Pope Francis gathers in silence in front of a lighted candle in memory of the victims of sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy.

Update 3.15pm: Pope Francis takes to the streets of Dublin in the Pope Mobile.

Update 1.23pm: Pope Francis and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have both made speeches as the Pontiff arrived at Dublin Castle.

Mr Varadkar has acknowledged the "dark aspects" of the Catholic Church’s history in his speech in front of Pope Francis at Dublin Castle.

The Pope, meanwhile, spoke of his “pain and shame” at the failure of church authorities to tackle the “grave scandal” of clerical abuse in Ireland.

Pope Francis and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar shake hands at Dublin Castle. Picture: Maxwells
Pope Francis and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar shake hands at Dublin Castle. Picture: Maxwells

Update 11.30am: Pope Francis mirrors John Paul II by planting oak tree in Áras

Pope Francis has arrived at the home of the President, Áras an Uachtaráin, in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina. (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina. (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

He was greeted by president Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.

The Irish greeting party also included Irish government minister for children and youth affairs Katherine Zappone.

Pope Francis also planted a tree at Áras an Uachtaráin at his meeting with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins.

The tree-planting ceremony got under way after the pontiff was greeted at the president’s official residence.

Francis planted an Irish oak tree on the lawn in front of the south portico. In doing so, he became the second Pope to plant a tree on the grounds of the residence.

Pope John Paul II planted an Irish oak on the same lawn during the last papal visit in 1979.

Other dignitaries who have planted trees on the lawn at Áras an Uachtaráin include former US presidents John F Kennedy and Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II.

Both the Queen and President Obama planted English oak trees during their visits to Ireland in 2011.

Ireland’s first president Douglas Hyde planted a Cornish elm on the north lawn of Aras in 1939.

Since then, each of the country’s nine presidents has planted an official tree on the grounds of the residence.

Pope Francis plants a tree during a meeting with Irish President Michael D Higgins, at Aras an Uachtarain in Phoenix Park, Dublin, as part of his visit to Ireland. (Joe Giddens/PA)
Pope Francis plants a tree during a meeting with Irish President Michael D Higgins, at Aras an Uachtarain in Phoenix Park, Dublin, as part of his visit to Ireland. (Joe Giddens/PA)

The tree-planting tradition dates back to Queen Victoria, who planted the first official tree on the grounds in the mid 1800s.

On the plane to Ireland, the Pope spoke about this being his second time attending the World Meeting of Families and of returning to Ireland for the first time 38 years.

Earlier: Pope Francis arrives in Ireland

The Pope has touched down at Dublin airport to begin an historic two-day visit to Ireland.

Pope Francis is greeted by members of the clergy, representatives of Government and the local County Council, as he arrives at Dublin International Airport, at the start of his visit to Ireland. (Brian Lawless/PA)
Pope Francis is greeted by members of the clergy, representatives of Government and the local County Council, as he arrives at Dublin International Airport, at the start of his visit to Ireland. (Brian Lawless/PA)

Senior Irish clerics and other dignitaries gathered on the apron of the runway to greet the Pope clapped as the Alitalia flight landed at 10.26am.

Irish and Vatican flags were flown from the cockpit window as the aircraft taxied toward its stand.

Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

After walking down the steps from the plane, the Pope was greeted by Tánaiste Simon Coveney, his wife Ruth and their three daughters Jessica, Beth and Annalise.

Mr Coveney’s youngest daughter, five-year-old Annalise, presented Francis with a bouquet of flowers.

The bouquet included thistles, yellow and white roses and green foliage.

The Boland family, who attended the World Meeting of Families, presented him with a vestment they designed.

In the capital, yellow and white flags of the Vatican were flying along the River Liffey on Saturday morning to mark the Papal visit.

Dublin City Council workers were out in force from before dawn preparing the streets.

Papal Visit sights and sounds: Pope Francis addresses Croke Park audience

One predicted a long day ahead.

"We started putting the barriers and railings out at 4am this morning and we weren't told what time the work would be done," he said.

"It's a big job, so I'm not even sure how many of us they have in the city centre at the minute, but it couldn't be far off 100."

Soline Humbert, from Versailles near Paris and aged 62, was a steward at the last papal visit in 1979 looking after lost children.

She works with Women's Ordination Worldwide and said Vatican files on abuse should be opened.

Blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of clerical sex abuse ahead of the start of the visit to Ireland by Pope Francis. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of clerical sex abuse ahead of the start of the visit to Ireland by Pope Francis. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

"Unless the truth comes out, and we know that as Christians, and we know that as Catholics, there is no movement forward, there is no resurrection, there is no transformation and trust cannot be re-established until the truth is acknowledged.

"It is very painful and it will be very disturbing but the truth is buried in the bottom, in the secret archives, of a lot of dioceses and especially in the Vatican.

"The Pope does need to acknowledge that it was the policy of the Vatican to prevent scandal, and by scandal I mean that the abuse would come to the surface."

- Digital Desk

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