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Celeb economist David McWilliams reveals teenage pal lost her virginity at Mass in honour of John Paul II

The chief celebrants at the Mass with the late Pope were Bishop Eamon Casey and Fr Michael Cleary - both of whom were revealed in later years to have fathered children
Thousands gather for Mass in Galway during the visit of Pope John Paul II

Thousands gather for Mass in Galway during the visit of Pope John Paul II

Eugene Masterson

CELEBRITY economist David McWilliams has revealed how a female teenage friend of his lost her virginity at the famous youth mass in Galway in honour of John Paul II in 1979.

Over 50,000 young people from across Ireland flocked to the Ballybrit racecourse for the special Mass, at which the chief celebrants in attendance with the late Pope were Bishop Eamon Casey and Fr Michael Cleary - both of whom were revealed in later years to have fathered children.

McWilliams was aged 13 when a group of youngsters took a bus to Galway from his neighbourhood in Monkstown, south Dublin.

He was brought up in an estate built in the 1950s called Windsor Park.

David McWilliams recalls a drunken trip to Galway

David McWilliams recalls a drunken trip to Galway

"All the newly-weds got together and they paid 12,000 quid for each house, which was a lot of money at the time and they got together and said, 'what are we going to call the estate," he recalls.

One woman came up with the idea of calling it Pope Pius X Avenue and it went to a vote, but there was a rear-guard action against it.

"So, they got together and apparently met in my kitchen.. and they came up with Windsor, in the jubilee year," McWilliams said at the launch in Dublin of his new podcast backed by Island's Edge stout.

"When the Pope came and they announced there would be a youth Mass, which was a really bad idea," jokes McWilliams, who wrote best- selling book The Pope's Children.

The visit of Pope John Paul II

The visit of Pope John Paul II

He adds that older teenagers from his estate went on the trip to Galway.

"So, they rented one of those Ford minivans and you could hear the clank of flagons of cider," he chuckled. "I remember they all got totally drunk. It was like the Electric Picnic for Catholics. By the time they got to Athlone, one of the girls lost her virginity at the Pope's Mass."

He added there was a population explosion nationwide nine months after the Pope's visit.


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