For the first time since 1828 the traditional three day Pilgrimage to Lough Derg will not take place this summer.

Striking the right balance between Covid-19 safety and welcoming pilgrims back to Lough Derg with confidence was the deciding factor in the suspension.

Prior Fr La Flynn, said: “It is important to be clear about how we reached this decision, since we know that there are many pilgrims who will be disappointed with this news. Now when so many other aspects of life are moving, rather carefully, back towards what used to be normal, there will naturally be an expectation that the Three Day Pilgrimage could be possible.

"We approached the question of re-opening for the Three Day Pilgrimage with our Lough Derg mission and values at the forefront of our consciousness. We considered these alongside the Covid-safe practices that we would be required to implement to ensure pilgrim and staff safety.” 

Every year, from June 1 until August 15, over 5000 pilgrims arrive to do the traditional Three Day Pilgrimage on Lough Derg. Pilgrims travel to this remote island from across the island of Ireland and beyond.

Fr La continued: “One of our core values is the Lough Derg welcome, true to the spirit of a place of sanctuary – the ancient termann. The Covid-related measures essential to ensure pilgrim and staff safety would compromise this welcome and all aspects of the traditional pilgrimage. Our confined space on the Island both inside and outside was the ultimate determining factor.

"In reaching this decision I have not forgotten the scores of local seasonal staff as well as the many young people who rely on summer work here. Indeed it has not been an easy call to make.

"I would like to thank the hundreds of pilgrims who have been in contact with us. Their support is carrying us through this difficult time. With them in mind I am offering the opportunity to ‘do Lough Derg from wherever you are’ on June 27 – 29. Further information on this can be found at “

There are hopes of opening in a limited way on the lakeshore from July 6 and it may be possible to return to Station Island in the later part of the summer when Day Retreats are normally offered.