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Annual Draw Tickets to be returned by Friday 17th October

13 Oct 2014

Last day to return tickets for the Lough Derg Annual Draw is Friday 17th October. Draw will take place on Saturday 25th October 2014. Thank you to the many thousands of people who have already returned tickets. 

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day next week Lough Derg announces a response to support people who are living with suicide in their lives

04 Sep 2014

A minimum of 6 people will suffer intense grief following a suicide, more than 50 people will have strong emotions and a further 13 to 30 will experience moderate grief as a result of death by suicide'
Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day next week Lough Derg announces a response to support people who are living with suicide in their lives:
Living with Suicide Retreat - ‘Seeking Strength, Finding Comfort'
on Wednesday 24th September 2014

Fr Cathal Deery, Spiritual Director of the Living with Suicide Retreat Day on Lough Derg, speaks about the true reality of the numbers of people impacted by suicide: "It is estimated that around 1,000 people die by suicide in the island of Ireland every year - a reality that casts a shadow on the lives of hundreds more; families, extended families, personal and professional networks, whole communities, the extent of which can reach tens of thousands of people."

Fr Cathal, also a member of the Lough Derg team, continued: "During this year's pilgrimage season we continued to encounter many pilgrims who shared their witness to the heartache of living with suicide in their lives. We wanted to do something once again to support those people who have been affected by suicide, either through personal loss or with suicidal ideation, or for those ministering to the suicide bereaved or working in support services. The Living with Suicide Day Retreat is not a conference in the secular sense of the word but rather an invitation to people to come to a safe place where they might find some sense of healing and peace in the midst of pain and struggle."

Lough Derg is a sacred place known over the years for offering a welcome and an opportunity for healing and hope to thousands of pilgrims. Christy Kenneally is a guest speaker and comments ahead of the Living with Suicide Retreat on 24th September: "I came to Lough Derg in 2013 for the first time and found it an oasis of calm and safety - no one is judged and everyone is welcome. Coming away for a few hours to Lough Derg from the everyday living with suicide gives us the distance to establish perspective and focus on what really matters. The retreat offers a degree of silence unlike any other where one can listen - listen to the interior voice. To unburden ourselves from the expectations of others and the expectations we burden ourselves with. We can come to be grounded in our reality, resilience and in our relationship with God. We can come to allow our spirits some breathing space and to gain sanctuary from ‘have to', ‘must do' constraints.

The Retreat on Lough Derg helps one to know that moving beyond coping is possible. Coping gives us a framework for existence but existence is not life. It takes a different kind of strength to transform our reality rather than just endure it. The essential strength to move on is within us. A day in a ‘quite place - a place apart' gives us a chance to evaluate what or who will sustain us."

Christy concludes: "Coming to the Island sanctuary for the first time last year touched and stilled me. The stillness and peacefulness to be found on Lough Derg can help us listen. Listening to the internal voice requires conscious effort. Listening to the voices of those who have gone before us requires courage; courage to listen without argument or judgement. Time on the Island allows one the space to experience the unseen dimension of what is happening inside."

The Living with Suicide Day Retreat offers time for Reflection through the talks as well as time to spend on the holy Island. Everyone is welcome. There will be a closing session of prayerful reflection embracing the love of God. Refreshments throughout the day and a light lunch. Admission €40/£35. Timings: 10.00am - 4.00pm; Wednesday 24th September.

For further information on this retreat please contact Sharon or Maureen in the Lough Derg office on 071 9861518 (from Northern Ireland 028 68632391)


New documentary on Lough Derg to be broadcast on Ireland's first international channel Irish TV.

15 Jul 2014

Lough Derg's extraordinary spiritual attraction as one of Ireland's oldest places of pilgrimage is revealed in an insightful new documentary to be broadcast on Ireland's first international channel Irish TV.

Ireland's Pilgrim People will air at 9pm on Thursday, July 17 and can be seen across Ireland, the UK, and Europe on Sky Channel 191, Freesat 400, Eircom's boxes and online at and in the United States on the PBS network.

Presenter Malachi Cush joins pilgrims as they land at the Sanctuary of St Patrick on Donegal's Lough Derg and the hour-long programme records their experiences of three days of prayer, penance and fasting. 

Malachi said, "We show viewers what brings pilgrims to Lough Derg and explore the deep sense of peace, calm and fulfilment that is to be enjoyed on this Island which St Patrick himself was called to."



"Lough Derg was an important part of our prayerful preparation for Lourdes."

03 Jul 2014

Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry, made this statement before departing to Lourdes on Tuesday 1st July with a group of 365 pilgrims, the group included 70 young people. 

Bishop McKeown said, "I, along with many from our group, have just completed a three day pilgrimage to Lough Derg. This was an important part of our prayerful preparation for Lourdes. Our annual pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine is an important element in helping us rediscover the joy of both conversion and mission."

Bishop McKeown led the Three Day Pilgrimage to Lough Derg for the youth of the Derry Diocese on Saturday 28th July 2014

2014 Three Day Pilgrimage Season Opens

29 May 2014

“A well-spring of living water”

The words of new Prior Fr Owen McEneaney to describe Lough Derg’s

continued appeal ahead of the opening of thecenturies-old

Three Day Pilgrimage on Friday 30th May

New Prior extends a warm invitation to young and old alike to come on pilgrimage to Lough Derg a place apart and take rest.

At the beginning of his first Pilgrimage Season as Prior, Fr McEneaney says; “Lough Derg, ‘a well-spring of living water, is like a ‘detox’ helping to bring heart, mind and soul into balance. Lough Derg’s new season message ‘Come as you are… a quiet place and rest a while’ echoes the invitation of Jesus to his disciples when he called them away for a while as so many were coming and going that they didn’t even have time to eat.” (Mark 6:31)

Fr Owen continued; “In today’s fast paced/pressured life style, where people are continually connected to smart phones and tablet devices - time for oneself – time to come to the table of life, to be present to the deeper meaning of life and to sip the joy of life – is getting lost.

In today’s technology driven world doing the Lough Derg pilgrimage may be counter cultural but it survives through the generations because, as a pilgrim put it, ‘it is a place of pilgrimage with a powerful magnetism that is difficult to explain.’ I believe in this magnetism - our fore-fathers and mothers journeyed to pray for their families and we are their families today and our children will be Lough Derg’s families of tomorrow.

People continue to come for a myriad of reasons - to give thanks, to find themselves, to make sense of something or everything, to draw closer to God, to offer the pilgrimage for someone and for others it is the challenge to just do it.”

This unique place of pilgrimage welcomes people on Three Day Pilgrimage from Friday 30th May until Wednesday 13th August.

Living with Cancer Retreat Day

22 May 2014

This is a day for adults living with and beyond cancer, for those ministering to/working in support services and family carers.

We invite you to come as you are..... to a quiet place and rest a while.

Along with the changes in physical well-being, living with cancer can cause changes in emotional and spiritual well-being.

This is a guided day with two guest speakers, Kathleen Glennon and Brenda Drumm, and offers time for peaceful reflection and prayer on the island.

Outline Programme

10.30am   -  Arrival & Refreshments

11.15am   -  Welcome & Reflection 

11.30am   -  Healing & Wholeness with guest speaker Kathleen Glennon

1.00pm     -  Lunch

1.45pm     - Afternoon Reflection 

2.00pm     - Living with Cancer with Brenda Drumm

2.45pm     - Quiet time on the Island

3.15pm     - Prayer

4.00pm     - Departure


Admission - €40 or £35 

Booking essential. For more information on the Retreat Day contact Maureen or Sharon on 071 9861518 (from NI 028 686 32391) or email


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




One Day Retreat Season Opens Saturday 3rd May

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.