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FAQs

Three Day Pilgrimages

When does the pilgrimage begin?

The traditional Lough Derg Three Day pilgrimage commences on Friday 30th May 2014 and runs each day until 13th August (The final day for pilgrims departing is 15th August).

What does the three day pilgrimage cost?

The cost price for the three day pilgrimage is €70.00. There is a special concession price for Senior Citizens and Students, on the presentation of a valid student card. (Please note concessionary rates are not available for online bookings)

Payment can be taken by cash, cheque, credit and debit cards.

Are bookings required?

Bookings are not essential for the traditional Three Day Pilgrimage. However booking is advised and places can be reserved online here

Pilgrims can arrive at the lakeshore Visitor Centre from 10:30am to 3pm, with boats running regularly to the Island.

What should I bring

Pilgrims are advised to bring warm and waterproof clothing, rosary beads, sunscreen, insect repellent, personal toiletries and towel, change of clothing, and any prescribed medication. Please note mobile phones, laptops, ipods and MP3 players are not permitted for use during your pilgrimage. If you are a coeliac, you are advised to bring your own bread for toasting.

When does the fast begin and end?

Pilgrims begin their fast at midnight before arriving on the Island (water is permitted), and it ends on the third day at midnight. Pilgrims leave the Island at 10am on the third day. Often the greatest challenge is maintaing their fast back at home. One Lough Derg meal is permitted each day, which consists of dry toast and black tea/coffee. On the third day you should prepare a Lough Derg type meal for yourself. Soft drinks are also permitted on the third day.

What does the pilgrimage involve?

The pilgrimage involves three days of fasting, walking barefoot, repeating ‘station prayers', and maintaining a 24hour vigil. Please see Three Day Pilgrimage Section

I am diabetic; can I do the pilgrimage?

Pilgrims must be fit and able to walk and kneel unaided. Pilgrims must be able to fast and endure 24 hours without sleep. If in doubt, please consult your doctor before coming on to the Island.

I do not attend Church regularly; can I do the pilgrimage?

Pilgrims must be fit and able to walk and kneel unaided. Pilgrims must be able to fast and endure 24 hours without sleep. Lough Derg welcomes those from all religious practices and backgrounds and regular Church attendance is not a pre-requisite of completing the pilgrimage.

My son is fourteen; can he come to Lough Derg?

The pilgrimage is open to those aged fifteen and over. Young people aged less than fifteen may not possess the spiritual or mental maturity to endure the three-day pilgrimage.

I am in Ireland on holidays during July, can I visit Lough Derg for a few hours?

Unfortunately during the traditional pilgrimage season, 1st June to 15th August, other visitors are not permitted to the island out of courtesy and respect to those completing the three day pilgrimage. Visitors are most welcome to view our lake shore facilities, and watch the dvd playing in our visitor centre detailing the Lough Derg pilgrimage. Younger visitors may also like to view the M.V. St Patrick, the boat which would have carried many of their pilgrim ancestors to the island.

What time do the boats go across to the island

Pilgrims are asked to arrive anytime between 10:30am and 3:00pm with the last boat sailing at approx. 3:15pm

The sailing time is 5 minutes. Click here for the detailed sailing times.

General

Where is Lough Derg?

Lough Derg is a small island situated in rural County Donegal, four miles from the village of Pettigo. Please refer to HOW TO GET HERE

I am planning on coming to Lough Derg for the weekend but would like to stay somewhere locally-can you recommend anywhere?

There are various local Bed and Breakfasts situated within five mile from the Island Local Accomodation. Please refer to our accomodation guide for further information.

I am a student interested in the history of Lough Derg, how can I learn more about its history?

Lough Derg has existed as an ancient place of pilgrimage for over one thousand years. As such there is much written about the small island place of purgatory. Several books are available documenting the history, and are available for sale in the shop. There is also a brief historical chronology on the website.

If you have more specific questions, please contact us.

What time is the office open?

Full details on opening times for both the pilgrimage season and off-season are available here

Other Retreats

I am group tour organiser and would like to bring a group of German tourists to Lough Derg. They do not have time to participate in the traditional pilgrimage or retreat but are interested in the history of Lough Derg?

Group visits can be arranged for any size of group from four to 100. Groups can enjoy a guided tour of the scenic lake, watch a documentary of the famous s pilgrimage, celebrate Mass/prayer in St. Brigid's Chapel (small lakeshore chapel), or walk the ancient pilgrim path. During the Off-season, groups are permitted onto the Island for a guided tour and can enjoy tea and scones. For further information please contact groupreservations@loughderg.org

I am interested in bringing my school to Lough Derg, what age do they have to be?

School retreats are available on selected dates in May, September and October. Retreats are open to Leaving Certificate or Year 14 students, with a maximum group size of fifty. Please visit our School Retreats page here.

How do I go about making a private retreat?

Individuals can request permission to undertake a self-guided retreat, outside of the traditional Lough Derg season of June 1st - August 15th. For further information please email info@loughderg.org or call us on +353 71 98 61518

One Day Retreats

What dates are the One Day Retreats offered?

One-Day Retreats are offered from Friday May 4th 2012 until Monday 28th May (each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) and again on selected dates from Saturday 18th August to Tuesday 25th September 2012 (each Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). For further information please refer to the ONE DAY RETREAT SECTION

I do not have access to public transportation, how could I come on a One Day Retreat?

Pilgrimage organisers frequently arrange buses from various towns throughout Ireland. Please ‘contact us' if you would like to check if there is a bus leaving from a town near you.

Do I have to fast when coming on a One Day Retreat

These retreats differ from the traditional pilgrimage with pilgrims not required to fast or walk barefoot. Retreatents are offered tea/coffee and scones upon arrival and a light lunch of soup and sandwiches is provided. Please note that these are included in the cost price of the retreat.

What do the one-day retreats involve?

These retreats are a guided day of prayer, offering Opening Prayers, Way of the Cross-, Prayers of Intercession, Healing of Memories, opportunity for private Prayer, Sacrament of Reconciliation and Celebration of Mass. During 2010, on selected dates only as part of the "With You on Life's Journey" programme, a number of workshops will be offered as an optional extra to the traditional one-day retreat. For further information please see our dedicated One-Day Retreat section.