Pope Francis arrives at the closing Mass of his Ireland visit at Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday, August 26, 2018.
Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/Getty Images

In pictures: Pope Francis visits Ireland

Updated 11:57 AM ET, Sun August 26, 2018

Pope Francis arrives at the closing Mass of his Ireland visit at Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday, August 26, 2018.
Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/Getty Images

Pope Francis arrived Saturday in Ireland on the first papal visit to the majority Roman Catholic nation in almost 40 years amid one of the worst sexual abuse scandals the church has yet faced.

The 81-year-old pontiff met with President Michael Higgins and Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the start of his 32-hour visit, which comes just a few days after the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of clerical pedophilia and coverups.

Hundreds of thousands of people braved wet and windy weather to attend Pope Francis' Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin on Sunday, while thousands more gathered in the city center for protests against clerical sexual abuse amid fresh reports that the Pontiff ignored allegations stretching back years.