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Barefoot PilgrimageCounty Donegal, Ireland

Test your Christian faith with the ultimate three-day pilgrimage to the island sanctuary of St Patrick.

Located on a small lake in Ireland's County Donegal, Lough Derg has been attracting worshippers for more than 1000 years. Immerse yourself in this time-honoured tradition of Celtic spirituality, but be prepared to get tired, hungry and cold. When you arrive on the island bid farewell to your shoes in exchange for a frugal existence and prayer.

For the next three days you will walk barefoot, fast and engage in ritual worship, including silent prayer and kneeling on hallowed beds. Participate in an all-night, 24-hour vigil and fast for the duration of your stay, with the exception of one daily meal of dry toast and black tea or coffee.

Some find the pilgrimage an energising and enlightening experience. Others would concur with its other name – Saint Patrick’s Purgatory.

get there

From Ireland’s major cities there are bus services to Enniskillen and, from there, a shuttle bus to the ferry port. The ferry reaches the island in about 10 minutes.

  • Basic accomodation and wash facilities for pilgrims
  • Day visitors are provided with refreshments

A one-day pass is about US$45 and a three-day pilgrimage is around US$75.

Fasting, cold weather and quiet reflection isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday!

Lough Derg
loughderg.org/

Retreats and pilgrimages are only available during the warmer months (May to September), but temperatures can still drop to 5°C overnight during this period. If staying overnight doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, or you want to bring the kids, day trips are available – no fasting is required.

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Tags: history, ireland, spiritual experience

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