VISITORS to a remote grotto have claimed a statue wept and crosses appeared and disappeared in the night sky this week.
A group of 14 people, who had gathered at the statue of the Virgin Mary, in a rocky outcrop near the town of Dungloe, Co Donegal, on Tuesday night, were transfixed as they watched the phenomenon, which they said lasted almost an hour.
"It was a crazy evening. It was absolutely amazing. I am still on an emotional high. All but one person seemed to see the same thing," recalled James Boyle, from Ardara, who was at the site with his wife Margaret and children, Martin (10) and Mary (11).
The Kerrytown shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims annually, after first becoming the subject of a religious apparition 70 years ago.
James explained how the group had been drawn there last Tuesday night because of a claim by Ballyfermot-based faith healer Joe Coleman that the Virgin Mary had told him in a channelled message that she would appear at the shrine on September 29 at 8pm.
"We went into the shelter facing the rock and at a few minutes to eight someone suggested we should start the rosary. We had no sooner started than someone shouted 'look up'.
"To the left of the cross, another cross appeared in the sky and as soon as it disappeared, another one appeared. It lasted about 10 minutes," he explained.
Then people began noticing that the white statue with its red heart had begun changing colour and form.
"She appeared to have a human face and her head turned and she looked at people. She looked down at the children who were at the front," he said.
One woman explained how the statue began crying and she went up to dry the tears.
"The tears were running down from her eyes," she told Highland Radio.
Speaking to the Irish Independent from his Dublin home, Mr Coleman said that the Virgin Mary, who has been appearing to him for many years, had communicated to him that she would make herself known at Kerrytown on September 29.
He had passed on the details of that message to a small group of people who attended a healing service organised by him in Dungloe last June.
He added that a lot of priests in Co Donegal did not believe he was doing his healing work for the love of God.
Dungloe parish priest, Father Seamus Meehan, said last night that there had been talk about the Kerrytown grotto for years.
"But I would be kind of sceptical about it myself," he added.