Religious History & Heritage

Discover our profound religious heritage and its stories.

Knock Museum

Knock Museum: Journeying Through a Miraculous Legacy

Stepping into the Knock Museum is like unlocking the pages of history. Nestled within the greater Knock Shrine complex, this "museum within a museum" meticulously chronicles the famed Knock Apparition of 1879, setting it amidst the backdrop of life in that era.

Permanent Exhibits:

The Spiritual Landscape: Delving into religious beliefs and practices.
Agricultural Life: A look at farming techniques and equipment.
Artisanal Craftsmanship: Highlighting local crafts and skills.
Traditional Residences: Unveiling housing designs and structures.
Attires of the Age: Showcasing clothing trends and materials.

The heart of the museum is the riveting narrative of the Knock Apparition. As the story goes, 15 Roman Catholic locals asserted witnessing divine figures - the Lamb of God, Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist - on a fateful day, 21 August 1879. Visitors can immerse themselves in moving testimonials of miraculous cures and reminiscences of the over 1.5 million annual pilgrims.

Knock's transformation from a quaint hamlet to a global Marian Shrine forms a central narrative. The illustrious visits of Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Mother Teresa in 1993 are given prominence. A special segment pays homage to Monsignor James Horan, the visionary behind Knock Basilica and Knock Airport.

Within the shrine complex, visitors can explore five sacred edifices, from the Apparition Church to the Chapel of Reconciliation. Augmenting the spiritual ambiance are the religious book center, caravan park, hotel, and of course, the Knock Museum. The expansive 100-acre expanse is a tapestry of meticulously designed gardens.

In the Spotlight: The museum bestows a distinctive emphasis on Msgr. James Horan, memorializing his contributions to the shrine's development.

Gift Emporium: Discover authentic local crafts, from St. Brigid's crosses to candles. The shop also offers an extensive array of postcards, literature on the Knock Apparition, and other keepsakes.

Group Expeditions: Customized tours of the Knock Museum and Shrine are available. Reach out to the Hotel to curate your group experience.

Croagh Patrick Trail

Part of the 44 national way-marked trails in Ireland. Recognizable by its distinctive yellow man symbol set against a black backdrop, complete with a direction arrow. Traditional route direction is east to west, initiating from Balla and culminating at the foot of Croagh Patrick, by the Murrisk village. The climb up the mountain isn't part of the trail.

Key Details:

Distance: 63 km

Starting Point: Balla

Termination Point: Murrisk

Duration: Minimum of 3 days

Grade: 2

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Dog Policy: Not allowed

Available Services: None

The trail is a linear route encompassing locations like Balla, Clogher, Ballintubber, Killavally, Aughagower, and finally Murrisk. It’s categorized under the National Waymarked Way, fondly termed the 'Yellow Walk'. It traverses varied terrains such as woodlands, bogs, fields, forestry regions, mountainous tracks, and minor roads. To comfortably navigate these terrains, essential gear includes sturdy trekking boots, rain gear, snacks, and hydration. While the entire distance is 63 km, the trail has varying segments: 

Balla to Ballintubber: 17 km, approximately 4 hours.

Ballintubber to Aghagower: 27 km, roughly 6 hours.

Aghagower to Murrisk: 19 km, around 5 hours.

Trailheads & Services

Information hubs and trailhead spots can be found in Balla, Killawala, Aghagower, and Murrisk. Each of these locations offers amenities such as accommodation, eateries, pubs, and shops.

Starting from Balla, the trail meanders through fields, small roads, woods, and scrub until Ballintubber. Post this, one navigates through bogs, forested areas, fields, and minor roads to reach Killavally. From there, it’s a combination of roads, fields, and bogs until Aghagower. The concluding stretch involves tarmacked paths, mountain tracks, and open bog until the primary path leading to Croagh Patrick Mountain, marking the trail's endpoint. Murrisk village is a short descent from this termination point. 

Caution: There's a brief stretch along the N59. Since it's a bustling road, trekkers should exercise caution.

Augustinian Friary

In the 13th century, the Nangle family, also known as deAngulo, seized the north-western region of what would become the barony of Costello following the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in the west. Around Lake Mannin, a Fitzgeralds branch is notable.

A 1932 newspaper snippet references 1249 as the year the Fitzgeralds established their presence, suggesting they built a manor and fortress on Friary Hill. This Ballyhaunis region eventually transitioned to the Nangles, later adopting the MacCostello name. Notably, the MacJordan Duff (or Dubh) subset of the MacCostello lineage centered around Lake Mannin and Ballyhaunis, establishing Rathnaguppaun as their primary fort. By 1282, the MacJordan Dubh took control of the Ballyhaunis vicinity, maintaining rule until 1586. This Costello line constructed the renowned Augustinian Abbey.

The Abbey entrance bears the date 1430, aligning with Rome's Augustinian records that cite a 1432 'recently founded' Irish Augustinian establishment. Supporting this, Friar Philip Nangle is tied to the foundation, marking Ballyhaunis as the sole Augustinian foundation linked to the Nangle family.