The Vatican requested four vehicles (one for Dublin, another for Knock, and an additional one for each location as backup). The modification of each of these vehicles took approximately 16 hours. Three cars were also issued special number plates. The first one, 182-C-1979, referred to the last Papal visit to Ireland by John Paul II in 1979, while the second, 182-C-2018, referred to the year of the current visit. The third RAPID SPACEBACK bore the plates 182-D-9093, where the numbers 9093 are visually similar to the word POPE.
ŠKODA RAPID SPACEBACK carried Pope Francis for the first time on Saturday 25 August from the Dublin airport to the city for a meeting with government representatives. The following points in the agenda consisted in visiting a centre for homeless families and attending a concert at Croke Park. On Sunday 26 August, after a short flight, the second vehicle drove him to the well-known Marian Shrine in Knock approximately 200 km from Dublin, after which the Pope came back to Dublin to celebrate Holy Mass, which was attended by 500,000 people. Afterwards, ŠKODA RAPID SPACEBACK drove him back to the airport from whence the Pope flew back to Rome.
The two vehicles that were used to transport Pope Francis in Ireland will be used for charitable purposes. It is certain that one of them will be used by the Crosscare agency that provides care to homeless families.
World Meeting of Families, Dublin 2018
Christian families and others from all around the world met in Dublin this year. The first part of the meeting was a theological and pastoral congress. Early Saturday evening, there followed a gathering for families in the form of a festive concert, and the meeting culminated in a Holy Mass with the Pope as its main celebrant on Sunday morning. This was the ninth such event, first held in 1994 and repeating every three years.