The Lough Derg Pilgrim Path
Update August 2021
After positive feedback received from Pilgrims in July, another guided walk experience will be offered again on the Lough Derg Pilgrim Path on selected dates in September 2021, with Mass outdoors, weather permitting.
Sun 12th Sept | Wed 15th Sept | Sat 18th Sept | Sun 26th Sept | Sun 3rd Oct
The complete route is a 12km loop, with a shorter 8km option.
Advance booking is essential.
Watch the ‘highlights’ from our July Pilgrimage along the Lakeshore on the Lough Derg Pilgrim Path below:
We wish to remind you that the Lough Derg Pilgrim Path on the Lakeshore is open daily. Several information boards highlight features of particular interest along the way. Guide and Prayer Resource Leaflets are available at the Visitor Centre.
A New Pilgrimage at Lough Derg – Continuity and Change
Lough Derg takes a wholesome pride in its long tradition of pilgrimage. We know from the Annals of the Four Masters that pilgrimage to monastic settings was well established in Ireland by the 700s. By the late 1100s St Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg was one of the most famed pilgrimage destinations in Europe.
The 12th century was a time of new energy for Christian faith in Ireland. As part of this, the Canons Regular of St Augustine replaced the more austere Celtic Rule in the monastery on Saints Island. But some elements of the Celtic spiritual practices still survive in the Three Day Pilgrimage on Station Island to this day: the Cross prayer at St Brigid’s Cross, sustained vocal prayers, and especially the Vigil.
Further change came in the Reformation period. The monastery on Saints Island was dissolved and the community was dispersed. The reformers set themselves strongly against all forms of pilgrimage. But this disruption brought about the development of the Station Prayer, which is first recorded in a manuscript dated to about 1600. And when pilgrims arrived at the lakeshore to find they were prevented from crossing over to Station Island they made their pilgrimage using the Station Prayer on the lakeshore.
In summer 2020 Station Island had to remain closed in line with public health measures. Encouraged by the many enquiries from pilgrims who were missing their annual visit to Lough Derg, we turned our attention to what we could offer. The inspiration came from those pilgrims who prayed on the lough shore in Penal times, and the outcome was the new ‘Pilgrimage on the Lough Derg Pilgrim Path.’ (The story of the Path is told elsewhere on our website.)
The Prior, Fr La Flynn, has continued to make a weekly pilgrimage along the Pilgrim Path all through the past months.