Knock Basilica, Co Mayo, Ireland

The Building

Knock Shrine is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage site and National Shrine in the village of Knock, County Mayo, Ireland.

On the evening of Thursday, 21 August 1879, at about 8 o’clock, fifteen people witnessed what they stated was an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist, angels and Jesus Christ. Two women, passing by the church, first noticed it and summoned what would become a small crowd of 15.

Msgr. James Horan was Parish Priest, Knock Shrine from 1967 – 1986. Under his direction, Knock Basilica plus Knock Airport was built. He also arranged the papal visit to Knock in the centenary year of the Apparition.

Msgr. Horan died suddenly whilst on pilgrimage in Lourdes on August 1st 1986 and his coffin was the first to be flown into Knock Airport. Msgr. Horan is buried outside the Basilica.


A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects, Dublin

Main Contractor

Stewart Builders, Galway

Design Engineers

IN2 Engineering Design Partnership, Dublin

Special Architectural Features of the Lift

The bespoke wheelchair lift at Knock Basilica was an interesting design challenge for our Sesame Design and Innovation Team.

Can we clad the lift with marble? Yes we can.

Can it transport seated and standing pedestrians to upper landing level? Yes it can.

Can we have a six step horizontally retracting lift? Yes you can.

Oh.. by the way..can we have the steps curved please to match the curve of the alter? What??

…then after a few days of design and engineering blue sky thinking…the answer was “Yes you can”

“Wow!” Moment For Sesame

Knock Basilica is known to be the second most important Catholic pilgrimage site after Lourdes, France. It has undergone a beautiful renovation, particularly the marble clad circular alter.