top of page


Witnesses: Dominick Byrne Sr, Dominick Byrne Jr., Margaret Byrne, Mary Byrne, Mrs. Margaret Byrne, Patrick Byrne, Judith Campbell, John Curry, John Durkan, Mrs. Flatley, Patrick Hill, Mary McLoughlin, Catherine Murray, Bridget Trench, and Patrick Walsh

At 8pm on August 21st 1879, a diverse group of fifteen people including men, women and children, beheld a silent vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary with hands and eyes raised toward Heaven and wearing a crown upon her head, St. Joseph robed in  white with hands joined and head bowed, and St. John the Evangelist wearing a Bishop’s mitre and holding a large Bible. They appeared at the south gable of the Knock Parish Church in a blaze of glorious light. Behind them, to the left of St. John, was a simple altar, with a Lamb (symbol of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God) standing on it. Adoring at the altar was a group of angels.

St. Joseph appeared to be close to middle-age with hints of gray in his hair. He was clothed in white robes, standing bare foot at the Virgin Mary’s right-hand side. His head was inclined forward and appeared to be paying his respects to his Blessed Spouse, and adoring the Lamb on the altar, his hands joined in prayer. He was the figure of humility and of a gentle disposition, in contemplation of the Holy Virgin and the Lamb of God. He is showing the people to have reverence for the Mass and to honor the Mother of God. The faithful must be like St. Joseph in his humility and prayerfulness, setting aside trials and distractions to spend more time in quiet contemplation of God and His works. Below are related some of the eye-witness accounts:

Mary Byrne: I beheld, standing out from the gable, three figures which appeared to be that of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John … They stood a little distance out from the gable wall, and, as well as I could judge a foot and a half or two feet from the ground. The Virgin stood erect, with eyes raised to Heaven … In the figure of St. Joseph, the head was slightly bent, and inclined towards the Blessed Virgin, as if paying her respect. … The third figure appeared to be that of St. John the Evangelist. … Above the altar and resting on it, was a lamb, standing with the face towards St John, thus fronting the western sky.  On the body of the lamb and around it, I saw golden stars.

Patrick Hill: I saw St. Joseph to the Blessed Virgin’s right hand; his head was bent, from the shoulders, forward; he appeared to be paying his respects; I noticed his whiskers; they appeared slightly grey; I saw the feet of St. Joseph, too. His hands were joined like a person at prayer … For the space of an hour and a half we were under the pouring rain; at this time, I was very wet; I noticed that the rain did not wet the figures which appeared before me, although I was wet myself. 

Dominick Byrne: I beheld the three figures: The Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and St. John. The eyes of the images could be seen; they did not speak. I was filled with wonder at the sight I saw; I was so affected that I shed tears.

bottom of page