25. DHS - Lough Derg
Location: 54.607471, -7.859516
Speaker: John Cunningham, Belleek, author of Lough Derg, legendary pilgrimage.
Theme: gathering to cleanse the soul.
Located on Station Island in the middle of Lough Derg, this is believed to be where St. Patrick fasted and so do 30,000 pilgrims from June to mid August. It's quite gruelling so check out the website; best to a genuine pilgrim, not a curious traveller! See the Lough Derg website for travel details. First boat out to island, 11am. Mentioned in everything from 'McCarthy's Bar' to 'Hamlet' no less, this place has been a big deal for quite some time. As goes with the modern age, there's a less austere version now available that is much shorter in duration.
Look out for Patrick Kavanagh's somewhat caustic poem on the place before traveling. As a tenuous tie in with the need for 'faith in our fathers', there's a story from the mid nineteenth century about a group of children who encountered a group of fairies dancing to music by the shores of the lough. One of the fairies charged towards the children, striking one girl with a plant. The other children ran home and the girl who was hit had gone into a coma, only waking when a priest visited her...
Audio taken from Donegal's Hallowed Sites on the Racontour Archive.
Spotify URL: Donegal's Hallowed Sites playlist on Spotify