Three iconic statues standing at the religious apparition site at Knock, have been restored to pristine condition, with the help of National Lottery players, through their support of the Good Causes Fund.
The statues stood from 1932 to 1979 at the famous sacred site, however, the harsh weather conditions took their toll, leaving the statues in need of repair.
Thanks to Good Causes funding the Knock Museum was able to call on the services of a specialised conservator, who was able to bring the three statues back to their original condition.
Museum Manager Grace Mulqueen explained that these were located at the gable wall of the church and for many years would have been exposed to the elements, so they needed to carry out major conservation work on them.
"Thanks to the funding we were able to call on the services of a specialised conservator who also gave some public workshops so people could see how he worked and what materials he used to restore these statues to their original condition," she said.
The Museum brings visitors back to 1879 when 15 local people claim to have witnessed the Knock Apparition. It combines folklore and religion while also documenting the stories of those who have visited the Shrine down through the decades. Also, on view are the original hand-written testimonies of witnesses to the apparitions at Knock. Compiled in 1883, they were discovered in a forgotten tea-chest in Washington DC as part of an archive and returned to the Mayo town in 1998.
"It was a remarkable discovery and now those original testimonies can be found in the Knock Shrine Museum. We’ve also had them digitised," added Mulqueen who oversees the facility founded by Monsignor James Horan in 1973.
The Museum attracts almost 20,000 visitors-a-year and is constantly upgraded and refreshed. In recent months, new technology has allowed visitors to use an audio guide both inside the museum and out on the grounds of the pilgrimage site.