Pope Francis will visit Dublin in August but will not extend the trip to Northern Ireland, it emerged last week.

The Pope confirmed that he would visit Dublin for the final days of the World Meeting of Families in August. But a Vatican spokesman told ITV that Francis would not travel north of the border.

Last year some media outlets speculated that the Pope might be joined by the Queen on a joint visit to Northern Ireland. Church of Ireland primate Richard Clarke said such a joint visit would be “remarkable and wonderful”.

The Pope will be in Dublin on Saturday August 25 and Sunday August 26. He is expected to speak at the World Meeting of Families and to celebrate Mass in Phoenix Park on the Sunday.

Francis made the announcement last Wednesday when greeting an Irish delegation, led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and including two families from Ireland.

They brought an icon of the Holy Family which is being carried around parishes in Ireland ahead of the meeting. The Pope blessed the icon and gave the iconographer, Romanian artist Mihai Cucu, a thumbs up as well as a blessing. The Pope said he wanted to “thank the civil authorities, the bishops, the Archbishop of Dublin and all those who are helping prepare this trip”. Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, was also part of the group meeting the Pope.

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