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National Pilgrim Paths Day, 19th April 2014

04 Apr 2014

Walk the Old Pilgrimage Path to Saints Island along part of the Lough Derg shore on Saturday 19th April 2014. The 19th April, National Pilgrim Paths Day in Ireland, will see for the first time many people join over 10 pilgrim walks around the country. The Old Pilgrimage Path to Saints Island is one of them and it offers the opportunity for walkers to retrace the footsteps of the medieval Lough Derg pilgrim to the threshold of Saints Island which acted as a gateway to Station Island (location of current pilgrimage) hundreds of years ago.

Registration time: 10.30am

Start time: 11.00am

Distance: 12 km

Duration: 3 hours

Cost: €5 includes refreshments


Tel: Sharon 071 9861518




May One Day Retreat Season Opens Saturday 3rd

04 Apr 2014

The Island opens on Saturday 3rd May for the first of the May One Day Retreats. The May One Day Retreats are available on 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, 24, 25, 26. After this they begin again on August 17th and run on certain days until the 21st September. 

"I have been coming on One Day Retreats since they began in the early 1990's. I have an opportunity to take time out from the noise of life and spend a day in a deep and meaningful way that makes a difference to my life" Pilgrim Anne.

To find out more about One Day Retreats go to the bookings page on the website.

Contact the Lough Derg team on 071 9861518 (from NI 028 686 32391) or email


Three Day Pilgrimage Season

04 Apr 2014

The Three Day Pilgrimage Season for 2014 commences on Friday 30th May until Wednesday 13th August. 

The Three Day Pilgrimage follows a 1000 year old pattern and offers peace & personal challenge. There are no outsiders; barefooted everyone is equal. Over the three days pilgrims journey as a Christian community in prayer.

"Doing Lough Derg is when I find my 'still centre'. During the winter when I think of Lough Derg it brings back a feeling of calm and quietness." 

Times: boats are available from 11.00am until 3.00pm daily.

Admission: Pilgrims should be at least 15 years old, able to walk & kneel unaided, undertake the pilgrimage in bare feet and fast*.

Three Day Pilgrimage includes pastoral care, facilitated group prayer & reflection sessions and professional counselling services. Hospitality, hostel-style accommodation (bed linen is provided - please bring towels and toiletries), 24/7 first aid support, all utilities and boat services. Free car & coach parking.

* From midnight prior to arrival pilgrims observe a fast from all food and drink (water and prescribed medication excepted).

One simple 'Lough Derg meal' - plain toast, wheaten bread, oatcakes & black tea/coffee - can be had in the afternoon/evening on each day of the pilgrimage. the fast continues until midnight on the third day. Pilgrims should be free from any illness which is aggravated by fasting.


Ash Wednesday, 5th March, Day of Friendship and Prayer

05 Mar 2014

V. Rev. John Dunlop to mark Ash Wednesday as Guest Speaker

on Lough Derg

 Very Rev John Dunlop, minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (retired) and former Moderator of the resbyterian Church, will join with the new Prior of Lough Derg, Fr Owen J McEneaney in unique circumstances which sees both men mark Ash Wednesday on Lough Derg for the first time.

Ash Wednesday on Lough Derg, an inter-church day, is a unifying occasion where neighbour can reach out to neighbour through their shared Christian heritage on this unique Island made sacred through centuries of prayer.

This is the tenth ecumenical 'Day of Friendship and Prayer' on Lough Derg which continues to experience growing numbers each year from across the Christian traditions. It is a day for peaceful reflection where people  '..are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Gal 3:28)

In advance of his first visit to Lough Derg, Rev John Dunlop shared his thoughts: "I appreciate the generous invitation from the Prior, Fr Owen J McEneaney to participate in the Ash Wednesday events in Lough Derg.  It will be my first visit to the island. Someone from my Presbyterian tradition would look upon Lough Derg as a strange place so I look forward to joining those who will be there. I have always found such inter-church occasions to be enriching.

Given the history of ecclesial conflict and mutual demonization by churches of one another, internationally and in this island, such invitations and the acceptance of them are not to be taken for granted. It has been a long journey to get us to this point.

The invitation to "come apart as you are and rest awhile" speaks of hospitality and lays down no preconditions. For many people life seems to be relentlessly demanding; with pressures to get qualifications; meet targets; shop; look after family members from infancy to old age; keep up to speed and respond to emails and Face Book and Twitter and whatever else bleeps into our consciousness. Some live in communities of fear and danger with experiences of exclusion and hurt.

God's gift of one day off every week for reflection, worship and recalibration can get lost in the often enticing but demanding environment of doing, getting and surviving.

Accepting the opportunity to go to a safe place where no CV or passport is required, may be a necessary prelude to finding oneself."

Preparing for his first inter-church Ash Wednesday on Lough Derg, the new prior, Fr Owen J McEneaney said: "I am honoured to have the privilege to begin my first season on Lough Derg in union with my Christian brothers and sisters. Ash Wednesday is an opportunity for us to experience our togetherness in Christ as a community of believers, and alongside Rev John Dunlop we extend an invitation to all of you to come and experience the rich benefits of this day of friendship and prayer."

Boats depart for the Island from 10.00am and return at 3.00pm. Boat journey, 10 minutes. Refreshments, Service & Lunch; price €25. 



2014 One Day Retreat Season

02 Dec 2013

In 2014 the One Day Retreat Season will commence on Saturday 3rd May.


May: 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, 24, 25 and 26
August: 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 30 and 31
September: 2, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20 and 21

The One Day Retreat is a guided day of prayer and reflection, it includes Prayers of Intercession and Healing of Memories as well as the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist.

The afternoon offers an opportunity for quiet time and contemplation.

Bookings: Individual or with friends To come on One Day Retreat requires you to book ahead.

Contact us in one of the following ways;

Telephone: 071 9861518 (from NI 028 686 32391)
Online to book direct:

Organised One Day Retreat Retreat Organisers please contact Nuala on 071 9861518 (from NI 028 686 32391).

One Day Retreats are open to all adults; they are not suited to children. Those unable to do the traditional Three Day Pilgrimage are particularly welcome.

The retreats do not require fasting or walking bare-footed.

Each Retreat begins at 10.15am and ends at approx. 5.00pm.
Boats are available from 9.15am.
€40 includes return boat fare, refreshments on arrival & light lunch.
(Group discounts available) Numbers are limited. Advance booking essential.

Saturday 12th October - Grand Prize Draw

07 Oct 2013

The 2013 Annual Prize Draw took place on Saturday 12th October in Pettigo, Co Donegal. Winning tickets will be published on the website on Monday 14th October. All winners will be contacted as soon as possible.

Thank you to all our faithful Pilgrim Friends of Lough Derg who have supported us with the Annual Prize Draw and this year the draw fund is €25,000 in cash prizes.

Winners here

Friday 4th October final closing date for the 2013 Lough Derg Grand Draw

26 Sep 2013

The Annual Friends of Lough Derg Grand Draw will take place on Saturday 12th October 2013. €25,000 in cash prizes to be won. Don’t miss returning your tickets on or before Friday 4th October.

Return tickets to Lough Derg, Pettigo, Co Donegal.

Living with Suicide Day Event, 25th September 2013

03 Sep 2013

A day of support: ‘Living with Suicide’ Wednesday 25th September 2013

Offering you the Gift of Hope, Lough Derg, Co Donegal

‘Living with Suicide is a day dedicated to supporting those who have been affected by suicide, either through personal loss or with suicidal thoughts and for those who minister to the suicide bereaved or working in support services.’

For the first time Lough Derg will hold a special day dedicated to supporting those who are living with suicide and for those involved in ministry and support services.

Lough Derg is a place of welcome for everyone and all who come to this unique island are pilgrims on life’s journey; they come seeking and hoping to find peace.  This ‘Living with Suicide’ day offers those affected, either directly or indirectly, the opportunity for deeper understanding and support to make sense of it all.

Fr Cathal Deery, a priest of the Clogher Diocese who also ministers on Lough Derg, and the event organiser said; “Every year I encounter more people who live with the struggles of suicide and who search for answers to their questions. Many people come to Lough Derg seeking help, and to find meaning for what is happening in their life. But equally so, we are aware that many people live in silence and in isolation. We want to help, and that is why we have organised this day. We invite anyone who has been affected in any way by suicide, including those who minister and support in this area to come to the island. Lough Derg is renowned as a safe place, a place where no one is judged and where all are equal. We invite you to come and listen and be welcomed as you are.”

Fr Deery concluded; “What is very important about this day is that there is no expectation on anyone who attends to say or share anything. There will be no other activities on the island during the day. Everyone who comes will have the opportunity to spend time in the many peaceful corners of Lough Derg to rest their thoughts and anxieties either alone or in the company of others. The day will conclude with a time of prayer for healing and strength.”

The Living with Suicide Programme on 25th September is a guided day and presents three areas of focus;

Talk 1: Dealing with grief, loss and bereavement through suicide

            Speaker: Paul Kelly, Founder Director, Console

Talk 2: Restoring Faith: The Journey Beyond Shame

            Speaker: Bronagh Starrs, BA DIP Psychotherapy, MIAPIP.

Talk 3: Beginning the pilgrimage from heartbreak to hope

Speaker: Christy Kinneally, well-known Irish speaker, writer, and broadcaster. Well known for his wisdom and compassion in the area of bereavement. He has ten books in print.

To find out more about the day or to book please contact Maureen at Lough Derg on 071 9861518, from NI phone 028 68632391 or email Bookings can also be made on line at

Annual Pilgrim Path Walk, Sunday 8th September 2013

29 Aug 2013



Annual Lough Derg Pilgrim Walk

Sunday 8th September, 2013


Lough Derg is inviting people to step back in time and walk the medieval pilgrim path that lead pilgrims through the ages to the ancient pilgrimage island.

Centuries ago pilgrims followed this trail to the monastery on Saints Island where the monks then rowed them to Station Island, known today as Lough Derg, to undertake their pilgrimage.

The annual Lough Derg Pilgrim Path Walk is an opportunity for people to visit this ancient site and follow in the pilgrim footsteps of old and experience a little of the history of this unique island, Lough Derg.

On Sunday 8th September the 12k Pilgrim Walk begins at 12 noon with registration at 11.00am.

€20 registration (€10.00 children) includes walk pack and supports the Friends of Lough Derg fund.

At the end of the pilgrim path walk, walkers have an opportunity to take the 10 minute boat journey over to Lough Derg and enjoy refreshments and some time on the island.

Event details:

Walk the Ancient Pilgrim Path Sunday 8th September 2013.
Start Time:  12 noon at the Visitors Centre, Lough Derg, Co Donegal
Entry Fee:  €20 / €10 for children.
Starting at the Visitor Centre, walkers can pick up a guidebook and follow the Pilgrim Markers to complete a journey of 12km.  It is an easy walk, mainly on forestry trail but the walker can enjoy stopping off to see Saint Davog’s Chair and Saint Brigid’s Well as well as getting a good view of where the bridge was which allowed pilgrims to cross over to the monastic Saints Island. Gulls of various kinds, black-backed, herring and the common gull are the most common wild birds, but mallard and teal can be seen and the rare Greenland white-fronted goose can be spotted occasionally. A pair of swans are also a common site but they seem unable to protect their offspring from the local wildlife.

For further information or to register please call 071 986 1518 (from N.I. 028 6863 2391) or email


United in Solidarity with Santiago

25 Jul 2013

United in Solidarity with Santiago

On Lough Derg Monsignor Mohan’s message for the Feast of St James 2013 was recorded beside the fourth and fifth Stations of the Cross in the Basilica of St Patrick.

The Basilica Stations, designed by Harry Clarke, on fourteen oval panels held by the apostles, St Paul and Our Lady of Sorrows are part of the Way of the Cross prayer time at 3pm each day on Lough Derg. St James holds the fourth station – Jesus meets his mother. He is depicted with a walking staff and scallop shell – a reminder of all who travel the Camino de Santiago.

Prayer on Lough Derg is offered up throughout the period of mourning in Spain for all the dead, those injured and their families following the train crash of 24 July 2013.

We have also prayed for the many pilgrims who have walked the Camino and the penitential beds on Lough Derg and for those currently on pilgrimage on the Camino of Santiago de Compostela.

In June 2013 Lough Derg Pilgrim from Waterford, Hugh McGrath, traces a similar pattern to both the Three Day Pilgrimage on Lough Derg and The Camino de Santiago.

pilgrim stories

View Lough Derg video library on


quote of the day

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

Pilgrim Sean, Derry