SLIDESHOW: county Limerick village's fundraising dance for Lourdes pilgrimage

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


STORM Dennis might have been blowing a gale outside but inside the Millennium Centre everyone was thinking of Our Lady of Lourdes.

This year marks the golden jubilee of the Cashel and Emly pilgrimage to Lourdes. To celebrate this special event the Cashel and Emly Lourdes Fundraising Committee held their annual social tea dance in Caherconlish on Saturday night.

A huge crowd attended especially considering the dreadful weather. The committee organised a special golden jubilee cake to commemorate 50 years of the pilgrimage and launched their grand draw. This usually takes place in March but the committee decided to shake things up a bit by deciding to have the draw in Lourdes on June 15.

Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly was to launch the draw but due to Storm Dennis he sent his apologies. But he had a very able deputy in Doon parish priest, Fr Jimmy Donnelly. “You wouldn’t put a milk bottle out tonight,” joked Fr Donnelly. 

Noreen Stokes, chairperson of the committee, thanked everyone for coming out on such a bad night. She said “how privileged” she was to be chairperson of the pilgrimage in this “special year”. Ms Stokes said they worked hand and hand with two spiritual directors – Fr Joe Tynan, Kilteely-Dromkeen, and Fr Donnelly.

She thanked the fundraising committee for their hard work; Margaret Ryan and her staff at the Millennium Centre for being a fantastic help to them; Chris Dallat for his entertainment and all the sponsors of raffle prizes.

Fr Donnelly stated that considerable expenses are incurred in taking between 80 to 100 assisted pilgrims to Lourdes. Although many local Lourdes committees fundraise to sponsor parishioners to go to Lourdes, they also fundraise at diocesan level to help subsidise all assisted pilgrims, as well as subsidising helpers’ fares and to assist with the high running costs of the pilgrimage. 

Joe Walsh Tours have sponsored the first prize of the draw – €1,500. Tickets can be bought from Ms Stokes on 087 6243336 or any commitee member. 

“All donations kindly accepted and we would like to thank Cllr Gerald Mitchell for his healthy donation from his discretionary fund,” said Ms Stokes.