When it comes to vehicles and the Pope, the famous ‘Popemobiles’ usually spring to mind first – but the pontiff’s ride for his visit to Ireland at the weekend took many by surprise.
Pope Francis toured the Republic of Ireland in a Skoda Rapid hatchback which, despite minor modifications, gave very little indication of being an official papal vehicle.
Locals took to social media to express their confusion, amazement and disbelief at the Pope’s set of wheels. One Twitter user shared an image of the car, asking: “can someone explain why pope francis is going around dublin in a skoda”.
Even from afar, there was a sense of confusion. Another user said: “Turned on the TV and first thing I heard was ‘pope francis returns to his skoda’”.
Others pictured the scene as something from fiction, with one user imagining it as an episode of a certain cult Channel 4 comedy show and tweeting: “The Pope has drove around Ballymun in a skoda, signed a Mayo jersey and has watched Daniel O’Donnell sing live on stage. This is as close to a Father Ted episode we are ever gonna get #PopeInIreand”.
While Pope Francis in a Skoda may have baffled many, a number of people were just happy to witness it. One tweeter said: “How cool is this The Pope just Drove passed my house in a Blue Skoda.”
The global leader of the Catholic Church did later switch to a more traditional Popemobile, based on a Ram pick-up truck – although this time he seemed to be in no mood to dawdle. As he passed crowds, a video shows the vehicle moving at a brisk pace – with the tweeter saying: “He doesn’t hang around #PopeFrancis #Popemobile”.
While the Pope’s visit to Ireland may now be over, the Skoda Rapid used as his transport will get a new lease of life there. The charity Crosscare, which helps families living in emergency accommodation, has been given the hatchback to transport those in need between homes.