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Holy water! Hardy Irish brave flood-hit Lourdes

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Pilgrims from Dublin have arrived in Lourdes despite continued flooding fears (June 21, 2014)

Pilgrims from Dublin have arrived in Lourdes despite continued flooding fears (June 21, 2014)

Pilgrims from Dublin have arrived in Lourdes despite continued flooding fears (June 21, 2014)

ONE hundred pilgrims from Dublin have arrived in Lourdes, despite continued flooding fears in the area.

Flooding at the pilgrimage site this week has devastated the region, with many visitors forced to evacuate hotels around the site.

However, it hasn't stopped these hardy souls from continuing their pilgrimage.

 

DESTROYED

The group from Dublin, the Lourdes Kindness Pilgrimage, arrived at the Pyrenees town yesterday despite some of the area remaining inaccessible.

Flash floods have destroyed parts of the town after heavy rain and melting snow on the mountains caused destruction.

"It was like something out of a horror movie," Gerard Moynihan, a Lourdes-based tour operator with Joe Walsh Tours, told the Herald. "No words can describe the damage and the intensity of the water. It's so bad that the water has even been rising above the hotel name signs.

"We have 100 over from Dublin now and we're hopeful that they won't be as disrupted as others have been.

"Some hotels have been closed but we've got them in the Hotel Solitude which, thankfully, hasn't been affected by the floods," Mr Moynihan said.

The Rosary Basilica re-opened yesterday morning and the torchlight processions started again at 8pm Irish time last night. The Grotto area is expected to re-open today.

"We had 600 people from the Cashel and Emly diocese here and they have just gone home. Another 500 were supposed to travel over from Limerick but their trip has been cancelled.

"The 600 people we had here arrived on the June 16 and it was 31C at the time, and nobody expected this to happen"

Mr Moynihan, who is from Limerick but lives in the area for the busy visitor season, said that the area has just got its electricity supply back and the damage caused will cost millions to repair.

"People were afraid but they were okay in their hotels and they remained quite positive. We kept people safe and kept them informed.

"Things are starting to improve and the processions are starting again, and we're hoping the grotto will be accessible too.

hnews@herald.ie


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