Cavan clergy decorate Christmas tree with soap

Cavan clergy member decorates Christmas tree with bar of soap to show support for those struggling with coronavirus around the world

A new festive tradition began in Cavan this week when a local clergy member added a bar of soap to the decorations adorning the Christmas tree in Kilmore cathedral near Cavan town.

Rev Nigel Crossey, Dean of the cathedral attached a piece of soap to the cathedral tree as part of a campaign by the charity Christian Aid Ireland to celebrate the life-saving power of soap and to raise awareness of the millions who still lack easy access to soap and water.

Regularly washing your hands with soap is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, however an estimated three billion people, 40% of the world’s population, don’t have soap and water in their homes.

As part of its global coronavirus response, Christian Aid has so far managed to distribute soap to nearly 250,000 people in 18 countries as part of their effort to prevent the virus spreading in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.

Rosamond Bennett, Chief Executive of Christian Aid Ireland thanked Dean Nigel for taking part in the campaign.

“While we all wait for the coronavirus vaccine, the humble bar of soap remains one of the best ways to help keep us safe by preventing the spread of the virus. However, the reality is that far too many of the world’s poorest families don’t have the basics like soap and water at home to help keep them safe,” she explained. “As a Christmas decoration, soap is a sign of hope that we can beat both the virus and extreme poverty.”

Christian Aid Ireland is now asking people to take a photo of their soap Christmas tree decoration and share it on social media with the hashtag #SoapBuildsHope.

Soap also plays an important role in helping fight poverty too.

In Ethiopia, as well as the impact of coronavirus, the climate crisis is increasing the risk of drought and famine, which is pushing farming communities further into poverty.

Christian Aid is providing women with the tools they need to run a successful soap-making business. Mother-of-three Kumana Kurasho (26) has been trained in soap-making by Christian Aid using the drought-resistant aloe vera plant native to the area which thrives where other crops fail.

This year, Christian Aid has expanded its virtual gift selection to include a Charity Gift priced at €15 enabling supporters to help train more women to make soap.

To support Christian Aid and help other mothers like Kumana, visit