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Season 2011 Review

28 Sep 2011

The 2011 Pilgrimage Season finished on Tuesday 20th September with a very successful run of Day Retreats. August and September was an incredibly busy time here at the Island with events including the National Lough Derg Pilgrim Walk, the Annual Family Day, the Ulster Regional Faith and Light pilgrimage and many others taking place within a 5-week period.


Although the weather and pilgrimage conditions were generally unfavourable throughout the summer, analysis of pilgrim and visitor numbers indicated the following:

  • Increasing pilgrim number trend continues – pilgrim numbers increased by just over 1% on 2010 levels, marking an increase of 11% since 2008.
  • Female pilgrims continue to outnumber male counterparts
  • 20% of pilgrims in 2011 were making the trip to the Island for the first time
  • 25 countries were represented during the 3-Day Pilgrimage Season, with pilgrims travelling from Australasia, South America, the US, Europe and Africa. The numbers of pilgrims from Great Britain has also continued to increase.


In June 2011 we introduced Phase 1 of our updated pilgrim registration programme. Development work on this system extended right across the winter and spring months to ensure that Lough Derg remained compliant with revised Health and Safety legislation. Following initial teething issues we were delighted with the response to this new system and will continue work on the next Phase of the project in the coming months to make registration procedures even more efficient in 2012.


Major development work on the Island this year included the launch of a dedicated bible and scripture reading room, which offered pilgrims and retreatants a space to familiarise themselves with the written word of God. This addition was warmly welcomed by all pilgrims and we hope that the success of this facility will continue to grow in the coming years.


As revealed recently, Lough Derg Manager, Deborah Maxwell will be taking part in the 2012 London Marathon. Deborah will be hoping to raise much needed funds for Lough Derg and will also be supporting the Get Kids Going Charity which enables young people with physical disabilities to get into sporting activities. In preparation for this, Deborah will be writing a regular blog which will allow friends of Lough Derg to keep up to date with her progress.


Sunday 4th September welcomed 540 retreatants to the Island, the single largest number of retreatants for a Day Retreat since 1997. This date also coincided with our very special “A Little Light on Angels “workshop – offered as part of the Life’s Journey Series. Preparations for Season 2012 are on-going with the recent release of our 2012 key events programme. 2012 will continue to build on the successes of the 2011 season and will continue the tradition of introducing new events ensuring that Lough Derg is a place of welcome to all regardless of religious creed or background.