Knock Shrine and Ireland West Airport will welcome the first trans-Atlantic flight from Boston with Aer Lingus to the airport on Friday, July 15.

The flight, according to a release from Ireland West Airport, represents another milestone for the airport and the region as it will be the first ever trans-Atlantic service operated by Aer Lingus from Boston to Ireland West Airport.

The special flight, which will be supported by the Archdiocese of Boston and led by the Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, will depart Boston on Thursday, July 14 and return to Boston from Ireland West Airport on Thursday, July 21. The highlight of the visit to the west of Ireland will be the re-dedication of Knock Shrine, which will take place on Saturday, July 16.

“The Archdiocese of Boston is blessed and strengthened by the faith of the Irish Catholic community here and also that of our many friends and relations in Ireland,” O’Malley said in a statement.

“We look forward to parishioners from the archdiocese and people from many walks of life coming together as we journey in pilgrimage to the Shrine at Knock for the rededication of Our Lady's Basilica. We look forward to this journey of faith with gratitude for all who are working to provide the very helpful direct transport from Boston to Knock.”

Father Richard Gibbons, rector of Knock Shrine said, “I am delighted and looking forward to welcoming Cardinal O'Malley to Knock for the rededication of the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland on the 16th July. Cardinal O'Malley’s visit with pilgrims from across the U.S. shows the possibilities of pilgrimage growth and the strategic importance of Ireland West Airport to the future of Ireland's National Marian Shrine. “The success of the Shrine's Witness to Hope project to date, which includes the promotion of the shrine at home and abroad, will help renew people's faith in a loving and merciful God. We look forward to deepening our relationship with pilgrims from the U.S. and in particular with those of our own diaspora.”

Joe Kennedy, chairman of Ireland West Airport said, “We are looking forward immensely to welcoming this historic flight with Aer Lingus from Boston next week, which is yet another milestone in the relationship between the airport and Aer Lingus. This follows on from the hugely successful charter program from New York in 2015 and is a further stepping stone in securing regular trans-Atlantic services for the region into the future.”

New York attorney Brian O’Dwyer, international chair of Ireland West Airport added, “This is a further important step in opening the west of Ireland to tourism and to travel from the Irish in the diaspora. I congratulate both Aer Lingus and the staff of the airport for making this possible. I am particularly grateful to Cardinal O’Malley for his unwavering support for this project on behalf of the west of Ireland and his leading presence in this special trip.”