An apparition of the Virgin Mary. A multi-million euro restoration project. A plane full of American pilgrims en route. Thousands of faithful seeking a miracle. Strange Occurrences in a small Irish village explores the big question of faith, in a small Irish village.
One dark evening in 1879 in the town of Knock, Ireland, fifteen villagers claim to witness a vision of the Virgin Mary. After two official inquiries, the village was declared a Marian Shrine. Today, Knock’s 2,000 residents welcome over one million pilgrims annually.
In the village, we meet people with compelling stories – invalids seeking cures; the eight sibling owners of rival religious merchandise shops; a woman relieved of multiple sclerosis during a 1970s pilgrimage; feisty Mildred, advocate for gender parity for the shrine’s handmaids; and the staff of the Knock Marriage Bureau, the matchmakers behind one thousand marriages and counting.
Father Richard has a vision of his own – to bring Knock into the twenty-first century. The charismatic, outward-looking Parish Priest is on a mission to entice new transatlantic visitors via Knock Airport.
With references to “the scandals”, falling church attendances, and the modernisation of the shrine and the village itself, Strange Occurrences in a small Irish village presents a timely reflection on the position of the Church in modern Ireland. For the faithful it celebrates a beacon of spiritual hope; for sceptics it opens an enticing window on an anachronistic but thriving world.
An UNDERGROUND FILMS production in association with RTÉ and the BROADCASTING AUTHORITY OF IRELAND in association with SHOOT FOR THE MOON and in association with BORD SCANNÁN NA HÉIREANN / THE IRISH FILM BOARD