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29-09-1979

Pope John Paul II speaks to millions in Dublin visit

In his first visit to Ireland, Pope John Paul II addresses a crowd of more than one million in Dublin and makes an impassioned plea for an end to violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. In 1978, Pope John Paul II, born as Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland became the first Polish Pope in history and the first non-Italian pope in 456 years.

Fluent in seven modern languages and Latin, the pope fully embraced his role as ambassador of the Roman Catholic Church, and travelled more extensively than any other pope in history. Known for his staunch anti-communism, the Pope was an outspoken supporter of democratic movements in his native Poland and elsewhere during the 1980s. He survived being shot in an assassination attempt in 1981 and died from a heart condition aged 84 in April 2005.