Dublin Airport could break a 76-year tradition of blessing planes because of new safety rules.

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Tradition is one of the many ways people navigate the mind-boggling feat of flight.


Every Christmas Day for the past 76 years, a priest has blessed the planes with a chalice of water on the quiet runway at Dublin Airport.

But that tradition is up in the air because of new safety protocols at the busy international hub.

“Due to recent changes in security protocol, airside access is now limited to airport operations only,” a spokesperson for airport operator DAA told Euronews Travel.

“For this reason, non-operational activities can no longer be facilitated airside. We are currently working on a new approach to facilitate the traditional Christmas blessing of aircraft at Dublin Airport.

gave Airport X (formerly Twitter) set the record straight after reports that the change was in response to a secular campaigner requesting a non-religious blessing.

The campaigner – John Hamill, a former officer of the advocacy group Atheists Ireland – did not, however, accept this explanation.

“It’s been going on for 75 years, yet they realize it’s a security risk despite nothing happening, coincidentally only two weeks after someone else asked to join the clergy,” he wrote on X. .

How did Dublin’s tradition of blessing the plane begin?

Dublin Airport’s Catholic aircraft blessing ceremony dates back to the summer of 1947. It originally only included the flagship. Aer Lingus The aircraft, named after Irish Christian saints.

At that time the sky was quite calm over Dublin. As traffic increased, the event moved to Christmas Day in 1967: the only day of the year when the airport is closed.

Last year, 32 million people passed through Dublin Airport’s terminals. But on December 25, only a skeleton crew remained – airport chaplain Father Desmond “Des” Doyle at the Inn.

Budget Airline RyanairThe planes are also now included in the event. But each plane has too many vehicles to get individual attention on the runway.

Instead, DAA spokesman Graeme McQueen told media last year, the priest gives a general blessing from the airport. “These days the annual blessing is secular and covers the general fleet,” McQueen told CNN.

Dublin Airport is currently reviewing how the event can proceed in 2024, in light of new airside protocols mandated by its regulator, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

The IAA has been contacted for comment on the security changes.

How else do airports make room for religion?

Father Doyle is pastor-in-residence at the airport’s church, Our Lady Queen of Heaven, which is located between the two terminals. Like most airports, Dublin There is also a multi-faith prayer room.

These 24/7 rooms are important places for prayer and meditation, as people travel or pray for loved ones.

Many airlines also cater to the religious needs of their passengers. Some major airlines in the Middle East in particular – Saudi for example – have reserved places for their Muslim passengers to pray on board.

Others, e.g Qatar Airways, let people know the direction of Mecca through their screens, help them in their prayers. And they recite a prayer (shown on all screens) before departure.


As for airplane blessings, the tradition goes back to 1920 — shortly after the first nonstop. Transatlantic flight.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Sacred Rites has approved the blessing of an aircraft that “connects the air to various spiritual truths.” Catholic News site Alitia explains.

In three parts, the benediction prays that the plane “gives nourishment to the souls of all the faithful who travel in it who desire the things above”; the demand for the protection of the Virgin Mary; and asks a guardian angel to guide the plane safely.

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