Mayday marks the beginning of activities at Lough Derg in Co. Donegal. Whilst we all have memories of penance, fasting and bare feet there is a lot more to the island, which has also been called St Patricks Purgatory.

2010 Season

Msgr Richard Mohan, Prior, has launched the 2010 programme for Lough Derg which this year offers avaried programme from three-day pilgrimages and one-day retreats to so-called Quiet Days, a Day for Families, Confirmation and school retreats and a Lifes Journey series of workshops. Commenting on the variety of pilgrimages on offer he said the pilgrimage allowed participants to

step outside their ordinary lives and routine and leave behind many of the trappings of the modern world.

The pilgrimages will run from June 1 to August 13 and cost 55, which includes boat fare and accommodation on the island.

Quiet Days are limited to fifty people, cost 25 each and are led by a facilitator and based on the premise that Lough Dergs tranquil atmosphere will allow participants a unique opportunity for personal prayer and contemplation.

Family Days at Lough Derg include specially tailored, age-appropriate, activities for children while accompanying adults are given the opportunity for more traditional prayers and devotions and in the afternoon adults and children come together for a special Family Mass.

Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, said, Lough Derg is a special place of peace and personal challenge, renowned in Irish Christian tradition since the time of St Patrick. In former times, the emphasis of the Lough Derg pilgrimage was more on physical penance and hardship. Today pilgrims see it as a grace-filled opportunity away from the stress and busyness of modern life. He added that, “as a pilgrimage Lough Derg reminds us that we are all members of a community, searching for peace and reconciliation in our lives.

This year Lough Derg is again holding one-day retreats throughout May and again in late August and September. The retreats, which cost 30 including the boat fare and lunch, facilitate those who do not wish to undertake the rigorous three-day regime but nonetheless wish to take personal time to think about what is closest to their hearts.

The three-day pilgrimage attracts people of all ages and occupations, from different cultures and social backgrounds. Stepping outside their ordinary lives and routine, they leave behind many of the trappings of the modern world. Msgr Mohan said that it was in the traditional three-day pilgrimage – the very heart of Lough Derg – that saw the biggest increase in numbers last year and said it offered

The opportunity to re-charge the batteries and find some personal space was appreciated and people went away refreshed and renewed.

One of the great experiences of Lough Derg is the warm and friendly communal relations that develop among the pilgrims. Another interesting experience is the challenge to think differently about our faith and to begin to develop new and fresh insights into life.

Further Information

For further details

Telephone: (071) 986 1518

Website: www.loughderg.org