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Lough Derg ready for thousands of pilgrims

Lough Derg is getting ready to open for the first of the one day retreats.
Lough Derg is a shrine dedicated to St Patrick, and for over 1500 years, people have been going to take part in the three day pilgrimage or a one day retreat.
The island has welcomed millions of people who wish to spend time in prayer and contemplation on the island.
There are a number of one day retreats starting from this week – largely at the weekends and the three day pilgrim begins on Friday 31st May and continues until August 15th.
Now in it’s 28th year, the one day retreat remains very popular.
Sharon Hearty, communications at Lough Derg explains, “The one day retreat is very different to the three day pilgrimage. People keep on their shoes and socks, they get something to eat and it is a day for reflection. People seem to like to take a break from the business of everyday life. We have a great response from people in the North who like to escape to the serenity of the island.”
Over the years, the number of people taking part in the three day pilgrimage has decreased, but Lough Derg continues to hold its appeal for many, including young people.
Sharon said, “Lough Derg continues to hold its place firmly among an experience that offers up the opportunity to find support for faithful and hopeful living in these changing and challenging times. We have a lot of families who would come and make it a family celebration. The three day pilgrimage is busy but it does not see the numbers that it would have in days passed. Some people today do not want to be coming to this quiet peaceful island where they can reflect and have a personal encounter with God.
Twenty years ago, the island would have had hundreds of people on it but now, people want quieter space and we are starting to understand it is not about the numbers.”

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