A bomb scare at the religious shrine in Lourdes, France forced over 30,000 pilgrims – including 700 Irish citizens- to evacuate the area on one of the busiest days of the year on Sunday.
French police received a call from an anonymous telephone warning that four bombs were ready to explode at the site. The person who called in the warning said they would go off at 3 p.m. French time.
Sunday was the Feast of the Assumption and every year it draws thousands of tourists to the region.
A spokesperson for the Republic’s Department of Foreign Affairs said that no Irish people had been affected apart from having to evacuate.
Breda Meyler, a pilgrim from Lucan, Co. Dublin was with a group of approximately 50 Irish people when they heard the news.
Said Meyler, “We got word in the hotel later on to say the five o'clock procession was going ahead so we're down here now heading to the crypt.
“Lourdes is very, very packed today and I think that's what they were focusing on — disrupting the afternoon.”
The group was leaving their hotel on Sunday morning for the day’s services when they were told to turn around because the area was being closed down.