Irish pilgrims caught in floods around Lourdes
HUNDREDS of Irish pilgrims have been caught up in floods that have engulfed Lourdes.
A delegation of around 500 people from the diocese of Cashel and Emly left Shannon Airport for the Catholic pilgrimage site last week.
Floods in south-west France have forced the closure of the site in Lourdes and the evacuation of visitors from nearby hotels.
Water swirled up to 5ft deep in the grotto where nearly six million believers from around the world, many gravely ill, come every year seeking miracles and healing.
It has been a major pilgrimage site since a French girl claimed to have vision of the Virgin Mary there in 1858.
Electricity and phone lines in many parts of the town were down last night.
However, it is understood that the Irish pilgrims have been unharmed. They left on Sunday and are due to return tomorrow.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said that there had been no request for consular assistance at this stage.
Mayor Jean-Pierre Artiganave said that the pilgrimage complex will not reopen until safety can be assured.