Knock International Airport

Knock International Airport as it was in October '85 with the first plane to land there, shown on right.

Monsignor Horan points to the splendid run-way at Knock Airport - January '85.

A delighted Monsignor waves goodbye as he departs for Rome on the first flight from Knock Airport. - 10/25/85

First Direct Flight, America-Knock

Finally, as the year drew to a close the first direct flight from John F. Kennedy, New York to Horan International, Knock Airport, landed. Organized by Mr. Ed O'Brien, Washington, Director of the Knock Shrine Association of America who had overcome enormous obstacles which had been put in his way, it was the culmination of a great deal of hard work, determination and inevitably, anxiety. In the best tradition of the airport a huge crowd turned out to meet the travelers - over two hundred and fifty of them - for their homecoming. Counties Mayo, Sligo and Donegal were represented to cheer them in. As dawn broke across the airfield on Christmas Eve they came from their plane, an lcelandair jet, and it was at once clear that everybody was delighted to be home. Before they got home however; there was one more thing to do, a party of the visitors traveled to Knock Shrine to lay a wreath of scarlet poinsettias draped with scarlet ribbons on the grave of the man who made it all possible, the late Monsignor Horan. Then, after breakfast and official welcomes they left the Shrine, to begin their first ever homecoming, via Knock for Christmas.

The Icelandair Jet - first direct flight from U.S.A. to Knock Airport, lands as dawn breaks on Christmas Eve 1988.  the flight was organized in Washington by Mr. Ed O'Brien.  Following a tremendous welcome they proceeded to Knock Shrine where they placed a wreath on Monsignor Horan's grave.

Monsignor Horan's grave showing the wreath.

Picture of the organizer, Mr. Ed O'Brien with Mgr D. Grealy, P.P., Knock, who extended a very warm welcome to the American pilgrims in 1988.  Behind Ed O'Brien is Adrian Flannelly who played a big role in the success of the flight.



The great jets lift
From off the heights of Barnacogue,
Apex of the western province;
Barnalyra - apex of the plain.
Strange the miracle of transformation,
Where once Fir Bolg and De Danann played,
And early man was slain.
A wedge-tomb speaks these ancient tales,
On the plateau high.
Can anything good come out of here?
The same was said of Nazareth.
And yet, the moorland wild
Another hue has donned.
A new creation blossoms for to-day.
Like the restless waters
Of a restless sea,
The very earth has shifted here.
The rocky mass has levelled out.
The crooked now is straight
And the rough is plain -
A runway to eternity.
Faith, it's said, can move the mountains.
Faith indeed has moved them here -
A great man's faith
In God and Mary,
In his people and his place.
For what? For what?
For the land of Maeve - for Connacht;
For the holy Shrine of Mary and the Lamb.
For Cnoc Mhuire of the angels and the saints;
For the tourists and the pilgrims,
Sick and Well.
The great jets drop
Upon the heights of Barnacogue,
In the very lap of Knock itself -
Apex of a miraculous land.
                               Tom Neary

Ireland West's Airport Website is available at