Lough Derg Pilgrim Path

Lough Derg, the Sanctuary of St Patrick is situated in Co Donegal, Ireland.

Lough Derg points to its rich history as it relaunched the Pilgrim Path during the summer of 2020. Whilst the path is not part of the modern pilgrimage it has a long association with pilgrims and it follows part of the route used by pilgrims in the Middle Ages.

To walk the pilgrim path at Lough Derg is to walk in the footsteps of our pilgrim ancestors. It is amazing to recall that in the 1400s pilgrims from as far away as Spain, Italy and Hungry used part of this trail as they made their way to what medieval Europe knew of as St. Patrick’s Purgatory.

The Lough Derg Pilgrim Path is open throughout the year and is waymarked.

Lough Derg organises guided Pilgrim Walks and Pilgrimage along the Lakeshore Days at various times throughout the year. The schedule of activity along the Pilgrim Path will be updated here https://www.loughderg.org/lough-derg-pilgrim-path.

Lakeshore at Lough Derg the starting place for the Pilgrim Path

Lakeshore at Lough Derg the starting place for the Pilgrim Path

The Pilgrim Path was originally created in 1997 by kind co-operation with the Heritage Council and Coillte Teoranta, the state forestry service, on lands that belong to them. In 2014 it became part of Pilgrim Paths Ireland, a network of 12 traditional pilgrim routes scattered across the island of Ireland.

After the first 2 km, it follows a pilgrim way that was used in the Middle Ages by pilgrims to St Patrick’s Purgatory, coming not only from Ireland but from as far away as Spain, Italy and Hungary.
The Pilgrim Path begins and ends at the Visitor Centre at the lakeshore at Lough Derg. There are toilet facilities in the Centre. The Path is waymarked by black recycled plastic markers, recognisable by the yellow Pilgrim Symbol, with arrows showing the direction to be taken. At various points along the Pilgrim Path there are information boards showing the whole path.

Lough Derg Pilgrim Path
Difficulty: Moderate
Type: Loop sections
Distance: 12km (Inner Loop 7.5km)
Duration: 3 hours
Start / End Location: Visitor Centre
Amenities: Car Parking, Toilets, Seating
Co-ordinates: 54.607095 -7.858426
Grid Ref: H 091 732
OSI Maps: Discovery Series Sheet 11

Additional Information:
• The Path is designed for pilgrims on foot.
• It cannot offer wheelchair access.
• Keep children closely supervised, particularly near the water.
• It is unsuitable for children’s buggies / pushchairs.
• Keep dogs under close control and on a lead at all times.
• Respect all wildlife, plants and trees.
• Take all litter home.
• Leave gates as you find them.

The Path follows a quiet forest route and poses few dangers. However pilgrims should remember that Irish weather is changeable and to bring warm clothes and wind-proof/rain-proof clothing. Walking boots are not needed, but stout shoes are necessary for comfort on muddy or rough paths.

One of six information boards along the Pilgrim Path.

One of six information boards along the Pilgrim Path.ths.

Path Upgrade

During 2020 the work included upgrading the path surface in places where it had deteriorated, the provision of six information boards to enhance the walkers’ appreciation of some of the histroical background and of particular features along the way, positioining several refurbished seats from the Island at appropriate points on the route.

There are now six display boards which bring to life the story of the Pilgrim Path and its natural surroundings.



Information Board detailing some of the Fauna & Flora along the Pilgrim Path

Information Board detailing some of the Fauna & Flora along the Pilgrim Path


View of Station Island, Lough Derg

There are many echoes of our Christian past along the way in this diverse habitat. The lake, its islands and the shoreline, which the path follows for a considerable section of the pilgrim path, are within the designated Special Protection Area (SPA) for bird life and National Heritage Area (NHA).

The walk offers stunning views of Station Island from a number of vantage points. One of these points is also a distinctive highlight for walkers; St Davog’s Seat. From St Davog’s Seat facing southward, the view extends as far as Lough Erne. Turning and looking northward no better viewpoint can be found for a comprehensive survey of Lough Derg, the sanctuary and all its surroundings.

Map of the Lough Derg Pilgrim Path

Map of the Lough Derg Pilgrim Path


Completed Events:

Lough Derg Pilgrimage Season 2019

Lough Derg Pilgrimage Season 2019


National Pilgrim Paths Week 20th – 28th April 2019

The ancient pilgrim path at Lough Derg is accessible to walkers throughout the walking season and we welcome those who will undertake the walk during National Pilgrim Paths week. To find out more about the Lough Derg ancient path link here   https://www.pilgrimpath.ie/irelands-pilgrim-paths/