St Patrick’s Purgatory island – Lough Derg pilgrimage

St Patrick's Purgatory Lough Derg, County Donegal, Irska

Website of the Sanctuary

+353 71 9861518

Wekdays: 9:00am – 5:00pm (4.00pm, Saturday and Sunday)

St Patrick’s Purgatory – Lough Derg pilgrimage

St Patrick’s Purgatory is an ancient pilgrimage site on Station Island in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland. According to legend, the site dates from the fifth century, when Christ showed Saint Patrick a cave, sometimes referred to as a pit or a well, on Station Island that was an entrance to St Patrick’s Purgatory.

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 St Patrick’s Purgatory or simply Lough Derg.

This is a special sanctuary of peace and personal challenge. This small lake-island, renowned in Irish Christian tradition since the time of St. Patrick, has been receiving pilgrims continuously for well over 1000 years.

St Patrick's Purgatory island - Lough Derg pilgrimage

Coming to Lough Derg and having the best stay:

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In earlier times the area around the lake was a place of protection for anyone in trouble. The monastery nearby offered hospitality to all. Today Lough Derg still reaches out to those in need.

St Patrick's Purgatory island - Lough Derg pilgrimage

Come to three day Pilgrimage

What you need to know as you PLAN your THREE DAY PILGRIMAGE
1. You will be on the Island for two nights. Pilgrims usually arrive around mid-day on the first day of the pilgrimage and stay on the Island until the morning of the third day.

2. Fasting begins at 12 midnight prior to your arrival. The period of fasting (one simple Lough Derg meal each day) lasts until 12 midnight on the third day.

3. Your 24hr Vigil begins at 10:00pm on the first day of the pilgrimage and ends at 10:00pm on the second day. There is an opportunity for a pre-vigil rest between 7:30pm and 9:00pm on the first day.

4. Bring your travel bag and include: warm and waterproof clothing, change of clothing, towel & toiletries, Rosary beads (available in gift shop on Island if needed), prescribed medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, suitable reading material (optional).

5. Hostel-style accommodation is provided. Male and Female accommodation is separate. Wash basins and foot baths are available to pilgrims in their accommodation location.

6. Private car & coach parking facilities. There is a large private parking space at the lake shore. Public transport is available from across the island of Ireland. For more information, contact Maureen or Lorraine on +353 (0) 719861518.

7. Organised Groups come by coach. There are a number of Pilgrimage Organisers across the Island of Ireland who organise travel to Lough Derg.

Pilgrims coming on to the Island for the traditional pilgrimage should bring the following items:

  • Warm and waterproof clothing
  • Change of clothing
  • Insect repellant
  • Rosary beads (if desired)
  • Reading Material
  • Any prescribed medication
  • Wash kit and towel

Please note that pilgrims are not permitted to bring the following items to Lough Derg, mobile phones, laptops, ipods, or other MP3 players.

Travelling by Plane to St Patrick’s Purgatory

The airports serving the region are Belfast Airport, Belfast City Airport, Derry Airport, Ireland West Airport Knock and Dublin Airport.

From Belfast
Belfast is approximately a two hour drive from Lough Derg. People can travel from Belfast by using Ulsterbus or renting a car from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, or National.

From Derry
Derry is approximately an hour and fifteen minute drive from Lough Derg. Again one can travel from the airport by Ulsterbus or by hiring a car from Avis, Europcar, Hertz, or Abe King.

From Dublin
There are connecting flights from Dublin Airport to Donegal Airport with Flybe. Flight time from Dublin to Donegal is 40 minutes. Donegal Airport may still be an hour and a half drive from Lough Derg.

From Dublin Airport it is possible to get a bus to Busaras Bus Station in Dublin City Centre, and make a connection to Donegal. Alternatively the Lough Derg Bus Eireann Express Service departs Stop 7 at 9:50am Friday to Monday (4th June to 13th August only). Donegal is approximately 3 1/2 – 4 hours from Dublin by bus/car. Cars can be rented from Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Irish Car Rentals, or Budget.
Most international flights to Ireland fly into Dublin or Belfast.

View hotel deals in Lough Derg:



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Come to three day Pilgrimage

What you need to know as you PLAN your THREE DAY PILGRIMAGE
1. You will be on the Island for two nights. Pilgrims usually arrive around mid-day on the first day of the pilgrimage and stay on the Island until the morning of the third day.

2. Fasting begins at 12 midnight prior to your arrival. The period of fasting (one simple Lough Derg meal each day) lasts until 12 midnight on the third day.

3. Your 24hr Vigil begins at 10:00pm on the first day of the pilgrimage and ends at 10:00pm on the second day. There is an opportunity for a pre-vigil rest between 7:30pm and 9:00pm on the first day.

4. Bring your travel bag and include: warm and waterproof clothing, change of clothing, towel & toiletries, Rosary beads (available in gift shop on Island if needed), prescribed
medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, suitable reading material (optional).

5. Hostel-style accommodation is provided. Male and Female accommodation is separate.
Wash basins and foot baths are available to pilgrims in their accommodation location.

6. Private car & coach parking facilities. There is a large private parking space at the lake shore. Public transport is available from across the island of Ireland. For more information, contact Maureen or Lorraine on +353 (0) 719861518.

7. Organised Groups come by coach. There are a number of Pilgrimage Organisers across
the Island of Ireland who organise travel to Lough Derg. To find out more please contact
us and we can help put you in touch with your nearest pilgrimage organiser.

Pilgrims coming on to the Island for the traditional pilgrimage should bring the following items:

Warm and waterproof clothing
Change of clothing
Insect repellant
Rosary beads (if desired)
Reading Material
Any prescribed medication
Wash kit and towel
Please note that pilgrims are not permitted to bring the following items to Lough Derg, mobile phones, laptops, ipods, or other MP3 players.

Travelling by Bus

Bus Eireann has resumed the Lough Derg Shuttle Bus Service from Enniskillen. Bus Eireann and Translink connections are available from Dublin, Sligo and Belfast and many towns en route.
Bus Eireann
Tel 01-83661111/8302222
www.buseireann.ie

Ulsterbus
Tel +44 289033 3000
www.translink.co.uk

Perhaps there is an organised pilgrimage group travelling from your area. Find out now how you can join up with one of these groups. Or if you are a group organiser and would like details of your coach advertised here, please contact[email protected]

Boat Times: Once you arrive at the lake shore, sailing time to the Island is approx. 5 mins.

During day retreats boats depart each morning at 9:15am, 9:30am, 9:45am, 10:00am and 10:15am
Between 29th May and 13th August Boat departure times are as follows:
10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00noon, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm
3:15pm Final Sailing
Please note there may be additional sailings on busier days

Travelling By Road

There is secure parking on the Mainland at Lough Derg for up to 400 cars.

From Dublin
M3, N3, A509 & A4 to Enniskillen or
M1, N2, & A5 to Omagh

From Enniskillen
Follow A32 North to Junction with B82 (Left)
Follow B82, then A35 North to Kesh
Follow A35 West to Pettigo

From Belfast
M1, A4 & A5 to Omagh

From Omagh
A32 to Kesh
A35 to Pettigo

From Sligo
N15 to Ballyshannon
N3 & A47 to Belleek, A47, B136 and R232 to Pettigo

From Donegal Town
N15 to Laghey
R232 to Pettigo

Travelling by Plane

The airports serving the region are Belfast Airport, Belfast City Airport, Derry Airport, Ireland West Airport Knock and Dublin Airport.

From Belfast
Belfast is approximately a two hour drive from Lough Derg. People can travel from Belfast by using Ulsterbus or renting a car from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, or National.

From Derry
Derry is approximately an hour and fifteen minute drive from Lough Derg. Again one can travel from the airport by Ulsterbus or by hiring a car from Avis, Europcar, Hertz, or Abe King.

From Dublin
There are connecting flights from Dublin Airport to Donegal Airport with Flybe. Flight time from Dublin to Donegal is 40 minutes. Donegal Airport may still be an hour and a half drive from Lough Derg.

From Dublin Airport it is possible to get a bus to [PDF] Busaras Bus Station in Dublin City Centre, and make a connection to Donegal. Alternatively the Lough Derg Bus Eireann Express Service departs Stop 7 at 9:50am Friday to Monday (4th June to 13th August only). Donegal is approximately 3 1/2 – 4 hours from Dublin by bus/car. Cars can be rented from Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Irish Car Rentals, or Budget.
Most international flights to Ireland fly into Dublin or Belfast.

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