On the 29th of September 1979, Pope John Paul II arrived in the Republic of Ireland where he spent an intensive three days touring the country. His first public engagement was to say Mass for a staggering one and a quarter million people at a designated site in The Phoenix Park, Dublin, the largest municipal park in Europe. Other public Masses during his visit were held in Galway and Drogheda.
The Pontif, also made the time to parade through parts of the country in his "Popemobile". A converted Ford Transit with an open top glazed rear section, it allowed the public maximum viewing angles of the Pope. Apparently the vehicle was upholstered with a silk and Teflon weave, the most expensive carpet ever made in Dublin at 95 Irish Punts per square metre.
Ireland's state television channel, RTÉ 1, televised the whole visit, including the Popemobile tours.
Beginning on the 29th of September 2004, I wanted to get a television crew to film all the sites from the original RTÉ broadcast of the Pope's visit, copying the shots as if the events were unfolding live. These images would be broadcast over three days as the crew would follow the Pontif's original tour schedule. The programmes would emulate the '79 programmes' edit structure and timing but of course without the original content.
The project would be a portrait of contemporary Ireland using a filming and editing structure developed from the 'coronation' broadcast of the Republic of Ireland's favourite Catholic.