11 Aug 2011

Lough Derg - A Good News Story

Lough Derg continues to be on the rise

This small lake tucked away in Donegal seems to be surviving the tidal change of doom and gloom that is pervading society today. Entering the last week of the traditional Three Day Pilgrimage season, signs are encouraging that for the third consecutive year there will be a slight increase in the number of pilgrims to Lough Derg. If the trend holds until Saturday we will have seen pilgrim numbers increasing each year since 2008.  Fasting, going without sleep and shoes is contrary to the world we live in today where everything is instant and too often about ourselves. But still the practice continues unabated - pilgrims have been travelling to this remote Donegal Island for centuries, from all over Ireland and indeed the world. There are records of pilgrims coming from Catalonia in Spain in the 1300s - and in 2011 pilgrims have travelled not only from every county in Ireland but also from 30 other countries as far away as Brazil and Bermuda!

Lough Derg’s motto “Bringing you the Gift of Hope” seems to pervade the air on the third morning when pilgrims depart a little lighter in their heart after this tough but rewarding experience.
It’s always encouraging when a ‘business’ gets repeat trade and Lough Derg is delighted to welcome back each year 80% of regulars, but they are equally encouraged with 20% of new blood embarking upon this ancient rite for the first time. What has been remarked this Season is the number of people coming back after a lapse of up to 30 years and those pilgrims have been impressed with the many physical improvements to the Island which has been quite transformed over the last 20 or so years. ‘There is a definite trend of ‘Come back to Lough Derg, and see what they’re all talking about’, says Manager, Deborah Maxwell. Recent exposure on television such as Nationwide has also been a great help.’

For a place to have survived 1500 years it cannot stand still; Lough Derg certainly is passionate about creating new opportunities for people to enjoy the sanctity of the Island. 2011 has seen the biggest programme on offer ever - with a Mother and Daughter Retreat in May, a Father and Son Retreat in September, a special Family Day on August 19th, and not to be outshone on the festival circuit, an event called Pure Oxygen-a gig, on 25th August on the Island for young people. This event which may seem contrary to the ethos of the Island is all about welcoming young people from both sides of the community to enjoy some local talented music, without the pressure from their peers of alcohol and drugs.

There’s plenty other events remaining in the 2011 programme to allow you to experience this special Island where time has most definitely not stood still.

For more information, contact Deborah Maxwell, Manager call 071 986 1518 or email manager@loughderg.org  www.loughderg.org

Some Dates to Remember

13th August - Last day for starting the Three-Day Pilgrimage
15th August - Last day of the Three-Day Pilgrimage

One Day Retreats are available on       

August: 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
September: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20

LIFE’S JOURNEY SERIES – an optional extra to the One Day Retreat programme

22nd August             Living In The Present

27th August             Understanding Our Children

30th August               Guided Prayer         

4th September        A Day With The Angels

14th September      Meditation for Beginners

Full Day Workshops
19th August               Family Day Retreat
9th September          Father and Son Retreat


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