The monastic settlement of Lough Derg was established in the fifth century by St Davog, a disciple of St Patrick, on a remote, rocky island in a mountain lake in Co. Donegal. It remains one of Ireland’s most hallowed pilgrimage sites and has fascinated and inspired mystics, poets and supplicants for centuries.
On Lough Derg, first published in 1988, includes fascinating essays by Bishop Joseph Duffy, who explores the historical background to the site, and novelist Deirdre Purcell, who travels to Lough Derg during Holy Week to meet pilgrims partaking in three arduous days of prayer and fasting.
Featuring captivating images by award-winning photographer Liam Blake, this book, which includes a new foreword, is an ideal gift for former or would-be pilgrims who wish to follow in St Davog’s footsteps and for anyone interested in Ireland's impossibly rich cultural heritage.
‘Concentration on prayers is not the point. It’s the sacrifice of yourself. Sacrifice of sleep. You’re suffering in your feet and sacrificing food. The point is self-denial. The repetition of the prayers is just an exercise, it’s a further pushing. The whole thing is a two-way dialogue. If I want to get to know someone I have to spend some time with that person. If I keep rattling away at God I give him no time to get in. So here, I stop and listen. I feel so joyful now, I could jump.’
– Lough Derg pilgrim
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
Joseph Duffy served as Bishop of Clogher from 1979 until his retirement in 2010. Prior to taking up this position, he was chaplain to pilgrims at St Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg for ten years.
In a varied career, Deirdre Purcell has worked as an actress, journalist, and broadcaster. She has won many awards for her work and is the author of more than two dozen fiction and non-fiction titles.
Liam Blake originally trained as a lithographic printer before becoming a full-time photographer. He is the author of several books including, most recently, The Harbour, a collection of images taken in and around Wicklow Harbour.