Pope announces next visit to Ireland
Pope Francis has announced he will be visiting Ireland in 2018 to preside over the World Meeting of Families which is being held in Dublin.
The Pope was asked by the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin if he would be in attendance, and he confirmed he would, or if not him then his successor.
The Irish Catholic report that the Pope will also include a visit to Northern Ireland during his stay.
Pope John Paul II had planned to visit the North during his trip to Ireland in 1979. However, the threat of violence was considered too great a risk during the Troubles.
Pope Francis, or his successor, will complete that journey into Northern Ireland.
Speculation has been rife that the Pope would travel to Ireland, ever since Dublin was named as the host city for the World Meeting of Families in 2018. The event is supported by the Vatican, and there have been only two occasions that the Pope did not attend since the event first started in 1994.
It is expected that Pope Francis will also make a visit to Knock Shrine during his stay. The site is visited by more than one and half million people each year.
In 1879, on the south side of the parish church, fifteen people witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist appear through the pouring rain.