A man has been taken to hospital after being struck by a car in a crowded St Patrick's Cemetery in Dundalk, Co Louth, during the annual blessing of the graves.

According to initial investigations, a dark-coloured car drove at a number of persons in the cemetery.

One man received head injuries and a number of others sustained minor injuries.

The offending car then drove out of the cemetery onto the public road and collided with a number of parked cars before coming to a stop.

A man in his late 20s, believed to be the driver, was arrested at the scene. He remains in garda custody.

One eyewitness said people had to jump out of the path of the car.

The priest who was officiating at the blessing of the graves ceremony has described the incident there this afternoon as "very frightening". 

Fr Mark O'Hagan said he had heard screaming from where he was standing on the podium in the cemetery, and saw people running as the car approached at speed.

There were shouts for somebody to call an ambulance, he said.

He said he had jumped out of the way as the car was driven towards him. 

Fr O'Hagan said the incident happened towards the end of the service, and he said it could have resulted in multiple serious injuries. 

The priest said he was still trembling after the incident.

Additional Reporting Sharon Gaffney