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Guidelines for Media Personnel

 Guidelines for the Communications Media 

  • Lough Derg is a sanctuary for pilgrims.   From 1 June - 15 August each year (29th May -15th August 2015), pilgrims come to Lough Derg and participate in the Three Day Pilgrimage, incorporating the Pilgrimage Exercises and the Three Day Pilgrimage Fast.


  • During their stay at Lough Derg, pilgrims have time to reflect and pray.   The first duty of the Prior of Lough Derg is to ensure privacy and peace and quiet to allow for each pilgrim to participate fully in the pilgrimage.


  • We also have a responsibility to ensure that the offer of the hospitality of Lough Derg is communicated widely in Ireland and overseas and recognise that working effectively with the communications media is an essential part of that task.


  • We welcome all those who are interested in helping us with the task of communicating the authentic message of the spirit of Lough Derg and offer the following suggestions re advance planning of a visit to the pilgrimage site.


  • All media visits, including timing and duration, should be agreed well in advance with the Prior, Very Rev Owen J McEneaney. Visitors can then be facilitated with transport on arrival and accommodation, if an overnight stay is involved.


  • Journalists have the option of :


  • A) Participating in the Pilgrimage and recording the experience on completion of the pilgrimage, after leaving the island


  • B) Working as accredited journalists at Lough Derg and interacting with the pilgrims but not participating directly in any aspect of the pilgrimage exercise or assuming the role of a pilgrim while also taking notes or using tape-recorders.


  • When a journalist/photographer visits the island, an announcement is made to that effect so that pilgrims are aware of the visitor. Pilgrims are told that their privacy is totally respected. For example, they are invited to indicate if they would prefer to be excluded from filming/photography by shading their faces.


  • By keeping a respectful distance from pilgrims at prayer, it is possible to observe and record without disturbing the peace and quiet which is an essential part of the pilgrimage experience.


  • It is usually most convenient to interview pilgrims during rest periods in the pilgrimage. At all times, we ask journalists to respect pilgrim's identity and to use notepads/recorder/cameras in a discreet fashion.


In preparation for the visit to Lough Derg, it may be helpful to be familiar with some background information.

Full details of the Pilgrimage Exercise are posted on the Lough Derg website –

St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg, by Joseph McGuinness (Columba Press 2000) gives the historical background and insights into the elements of the pilgrimage.

Contact details:

Very Rev Owen J McEneaney, Prior 

Lough Derg, Pettigo, Co, Donegal

Telephone:  +353 – 71 – 9861518