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Pope Francis said on Wednesday he will make the first papal trip to Ireland in nearly 40 years, visiting Dublin August 25th and 26th for a Church meeting on families.

There had been speculation that the pope would also visit Northern Ireland, whose leaders had floated the idea of a papal visit.

The World Meeting of Families is taking place in Dublin from August 21st-26th. The pope will preside at the closing ceremonies on the final two days.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference welcomed the announcement in a statement.

It said Pope Francis (81) will arrive in Dublin on Saturday, August 25th and will take part in the Festival of Families in Croke Park. The next day, Sunday August 26th, Pope Francis will be the chief celebrant at mass in the Phoenix Park and this event will bring to a conclusion the World Meeting of Families 2018.

Full details of the papal schedule will be released at a later date.

More to follow