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Pilgrim Reflections

Leave your account of Lough Derg for generations of future pilgrims.....

If you would like to share your experience of Lough Derg please contact manager@loughderg.org with your name, county/country of origin, date of pilgrimage and comments. Please note that by doing so you are giving your consent to having the comments posted on this webpage. It may not be possible to display all comments received.

"In the book   Pilgrims’ Tales and more  published for the Millenium I said that as long as there would be strength left in my body, I would travel each year between France and Lough Derg as a pilgrim. At the beginning, I have been able to go to the Island regularly.

Each time my three days pilgrimage was an extraordinary moment of contact with God wich filled my heart with love for the whole following year. Slowly, illness has reduced the frequency of our meetings. This year, my cancer being dormant, I thought I would be again able to go to the Island.

Unfortunately, a new illness has kept me at home. All travels are impossible. Until the last day, I have been hoping to fly to Lough Derg. But it seems to me that the Lord did not agree.The season is now over and I am stuck in France.

I fully accept God’s plan. Even if it is very hard, once again, not to be able to go to the lake, I ask Jesus to be a pilgrim next year. Meanwhile, I will do my best to love Him as if we had been in close contact during three marvelous days on the remote Island, in its basilica, around the stony penitential beds, or at the edge of the surrounding water. Even if I do not understand Him, I remain absolutely sure that God, in his infinite Love , chooses always what is best for us. I am the Lord’s servant. May that will happen to me be in accordance with his will."

Vincent, (long-time pilgrim and friend) France - August 2012

"Just finished my 7th pilgrimage on Lough Derg! What can I say it was tough going but it was all worth it in the end we had such great weather while we were there as well which always helps too. Thanks to Fr Mohan and staff for once a again for a great time on Lough Derg and looking forward to seeing everyone again next year"

Mary, Co Antrim - August 2012

"Thanks Lough Derg for my first pilgrimage! Tough going but well worth it! Unfortunately made the mistake of looking back on the way off the island! See you next year I suppose..."

Eoin, Co Derry - August 2012

"Thanks to Fr Mohan staff and fellow pilgrims at Lough Derg for the support and help during the pilgrimage, got home yesterday evening tired but on a spiritual high, it is such a special place to get away from the busy world and reconnect with God and realise what’s truly important in our lives. I will be back again no doubt, it’s tough bus so worth it, God Bless"

Connie, Co Cork - August 2012

"Just home from my first pilgrimage to Lough Derg, and I have to say I really loved it. Had such an amazing time, and met some of the most incredible people ever clerical and lay alike, and heard some of the most inspiring stories from the pilgrims as to why they were there. Truly inspiriting! Good from the soul, and when you finish your 9th station there really is NO feeling on this earthly world like it that I have EVER felt. Thank you, and I will be back again."

Amanda, Co Tyrone - August 2012

Just back today from my first 3 day Pilgrimage...what a fantastic experience!! I feel refreshed & renewed, it was tough, but thru meeting some wonderful people i made it!! Truly wonderful time...thanks to all the wonderful staff & inspiring priests... I'll definitely be back!

Jo, Dublin - July 2012

"I finished my 3 day pilgrimage today. I went for the first time. My dad and his two brothers and my cousin all went with me. I have never felt more alive, I'm at the mountain top as I reflect on my personal achievement of completing it. God is alive and active in his church. Thank God for all of you, priests, singers, toast and tea makers boat men, gardners, counsellors, bed makers and all of you, may God continue to bless you. For now and evermore, Alleluia"

John, Belfast - July 2012

"I first went to Lough Derg when someone mentioned it to me in a conversation and I looked it up. I did not really have any reason for going but decided to make the pilgrimage by myself, which was daunting. However, the island is one of the most stunning places I have ever been too, especially the dawn after the vigil which I honestly will never tire off. Everyone respects your privacy around the basilica, yet if you want company it is always at hand. I first went at 19, but there really is a spectrum of ages, religions and characters enough to satisfy any mind. As soon as I left the island I knew I would be back in subsequent years, it is something that I think of a lot until the next season begins. It has definitely got under my skin and I look forward to my next visit already! It is difficult but truly amazing if you go with the right frame of mind for whatever reason."

Chantelle, Co Down

"My wife and I have attended Lough Derg on 3 occasions over the last 3 years. Each time we have visited we have found it a place of calm, peace and spiritual renewal. It is a truly inclusive place. She is a Methodist and I am a Catholic. It is, unfortunately very rare for us to find a place where both of us feel equally welcome but Lough Derg is such a place."

Joe, Co. Wicklow

"I first visited Lough Derg with my father in 1988. He passed away 6 months later. Twenty One years passed before by chance I visited again. I realised I had never got over his passing. It was a tough, emotional pilgrimage for me. I sat on my own and will never forget the kindness of a second night pilgrim on talking to me before she went to bed. She smiled, touched my hand and told me my father would be with me all night. She had troubles way beyond my own. It gave me great courage for the night ahead. I left the island a happy - healed man. I have been back every year since. Profound thanks to all who work there for maintaining and caring for such a special place."

John, Co. Kilkenny

"My trip to Lough Derg was more than a miracle.  It really has sustained me during my mother's illness and recovery.  I must have told everyone of the energy and peace I felt on the island.  Many of my friends attended the closing weekend in August.  Even though they found it challenging, they are also finding that the pilgrimage gave deep sustenance to their life & they have really benefited from the experiences & miracles gained from Lough Derg. I hope I will not wait another 20 years to return"

Kate, Dublin 

I would like to let you know I absolutely loved the three day pilgrimage; must have done it around 25 times. Went for the first time when I was 18 in 1943. When I got engaged in 1952 and all through my happily married life, I went when I could. I always felt so good. I always loved my trip to Lough Derg and my prayers were answered one way or another.”                                                                         

Sheila, Co. Limerick

“I felt strongly that I was sustained and motivated and inspired by the art in Lough Derg and there was no reference made to it. So I feel this could be helpful and beneficial to many pilgrims. For example the hardest time for me was when the Basilica doors closed for the night vigil, I felt scared, regretful, trapped. So I looked at the Harry Clarke windows and the light was so beautiful on them. As we walked in circles all night I studied each one and they are all so delicate and intricate. I looked at them for hours and they change with light as he would have planned. He illustrated fairy tales, and they have that magical quality, while illustrating biblical scenes. His talent and expression kept me going through the night, and I realised that I had, as did the others, have the privilege of spending as much time as I wanted with this extraordinary work, in silence.  It was my first time in Lough Derg and it was hard, and I did not know how to approach my pilgrimage with courage, so the work of Harry Clarke, the words of Patrick Kavanagh, and Seamus Heaney on Lough Derg, and the ancient, Saint’s Chair, a kind of work of outdoor sculpture in itself, if you will were the objects of consolation and motivation for me.”                                                                          

Maeve, 1st time pilgrim, July 2010

“I just completed my pilgrimage yesterday and, despite a slight stiffness in my calf muscles, I am none the worse for wear! I emailed to say thanks to all you and all your staff, but especially to Rachel, who did most of the singing over the Friday and Saturday. I spoke to many people who agreed that here singing voice alone would entice anyone back, no matter how sore the knees, or how bleary the eyes. The highlights for me were all of the Masses and events in the Basilica which were so enriched by her singing”        

Pilgrim, July 2010

I had a most wonderful time on the island. It was even more special, restorative, and reflective because I had the whole place to myself. I spent some time in the basilica at the foot of the cross, just as the sun was setting. It was definitely what I needed and I’ve been sharing with others that my time spent there was a re-calibration of my spiritual life.”                                                                                            

Deanna Kwan, USA, 2009

From the minute I stepped onto the island I knew I was in a special place…I have been to quite a few places of pilgrimage but now I can say I have been to the best. It’s always the same; you have to see other things before you can appreciate what you already have on your doorstep.”                        

Tony, Co. Louth, 2009

“I have left the island this year with an unexplainable feeling, the nearest I can describe it as the feeling you get after having your first child – a feeling of no words – a well being that embraces all of you.

Helen, Waterford, 2009


pilgrim stories

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quote of the day

“Lough Derg is an experience of real humility where the material world takes a back seat.”

Pilgrim Sean, Derry