Lough Derg, the sacred Sanctuary of Saint Patrick, is very much a living part of Irish Christian Heritage. A unique island, rich in prayer and faith, an island which has been calling pilgrims for over a thousand years, an island which Saint Patrick himself was called to. Lough Derg lies about four miles north of the village of Pettigo in County Donegal. Station Island, the location of the Pilgrimage, is often referred to as Saint Patrick’s Purgatory or simply Lough Derg is set in calm lake waters, offers no distraction, no artificialities or interruptions. Instead you are warmly welcomed and cared for.
The island, made holy by the prayers of millions of pilgrims over the centuries, continues to provide a safe haven for rest, reflection and renewal to all who wish to ‘Come away to a quiet place and rest a while’ (Mark 6:31).
For many people Lough Derg provides an opportunity to step back from their lives, to take stock and examine the direction which their lives are taking. For many others it is a time to come closer to God through prayer and reflection.
The island will reopen to welcome pilgrims for the 2016 pilgrimage season on Sunday 1 May. The staff on Lough Derg are extending a special invitation to pilgrims to join them in this Jubilee Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis. Saint Patrick’s Basilica on Lough Derg will be a Jubilee Church and those who make a pilgrimage to Lough Derg can cross through the Holy Door of Mercy there.
The sacred space and peaceful setting make the Island a truly extraordinary place to celebrate the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. Walking on the hallowed ground, feeling the energy of the prayers of millions of pilgrims and being touched by the grace of this sacred Island is part of the experience. On crossing over to the Island a calm descends upon people as they join with others, falling into the centuries-old ritual of reflection and prayer, switching off and gaining an overwhelming sense of serenity and ease – an antidote to the stresses of modern living.
The full list of pilgrimage dates for both the one day retreats and the three day pilgrimage season are as follows:
ONE DAY RETREATS
May 1, 2, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
August 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30
September 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 17, 18, 24
THREE DAY PILGRIMAGE
Wednesday 1st June to Saturday 13th August 2016
You may begin your Three Day Pilgrimage on anyday between the above dates.
(Three Day Pilgrimage ends on 15th August)
If you wish to find out more about the 2016 season or if you wish to organise a group to come to the island for a One Day Retreat or a Group Tour the staff on Lough Derg will be delighted to help you.