Pope Francis announces six-day visit to Ireland in the summer
Pope Francis is to visit Ireland for six days in August, it has been confirmed.
The 81-year-old Pontiff will arrive in Dublin on Saturday August 25 and will take part in the Festival of Families, a faith-based cultural concert, in Croke Park.
He will also celebrate Mass in the Phoenix Park on Sunday August 26.
Further details of the papal schedule are to be released at a later date and it is not known whether Pope Francis will travel across the border into Northern Ireland.
Confirmation of the visit comes after months of speculation.
The announcement has been welcomed by the Catholic Bishops' Conference.
In a statement, the bishops said: "We are deeply honoured that Pope Francis will come to our country to participate in this universal church celebration of faith and joy, as well as of the contemporary challenges which face families. With great anticipation we also look forward to hearing the apostolic guidance of His Holiness during his stay with us.
"Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, as President of the World Meeting of Families 2018, has been charged with undertaking the significant task of organising this global celebration and each of the other 25 dioceses on the island of Ireland is supporting the host diocese to ensure its success for the whole country and for the world."
"We eagerly await the visit of Pope Francis, which no doubt will be an occasion of spiritual renewal for our laity, religious and clergy as well as a strengthening of Christian family life."
When Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in 1979, more than a million people turned out for an open air Mass at Pheonix Park.