Increase in young people baring 'soles'

Increase in young people baring 'soles'
Michelle NicPháidí

There is an increase in the number of young people who are going to Lough Derg to bare their soles - literally.

For centuries, thousands of pilgrims have journeyed to the island sanctuary which is rich in prayer and faith in search of a higher destination.

The experience is one that offers people the opportunity to take stock of where their lives are going, for others it is a time of reflection and to be closer to God.

Spokesperson for Lough Derg, Sharon Hearty said: “We have had a very strong season so far. It is very encouraging, there are strong numbers every day this week. The numbers are very encouraging for the future.”

She added that despite the fact that figures are, as yet, unavailable, there is an increase in the number of young people going to the island.

“More young people are starting to come here. We are starting to see a growth in that sector,” she said.

During the three day pilgrimage, pilgrims make `stations,' they walk barefoot, kneel on the hallowed beds, fast, pray and keep vigil.

Ms. Hearty is now looking forward to the ‘Family Retreat Day,’ a day when families are invited to Lough Derg to soak up the atmosphere of the sacred island.

Ms. Hearty said that on this occasion the atmosphere is one that is very special and families can enjoy lunch and keep their shoes and socks on.

“Family retreat day is a very special day. It gives people that are familiar with the pilgrimage a totally different experience. It offers everyone a very special experience,” she said.

She described the day as one of “acceptance” when everyone is remembered in prayer. The ‘Family Retreat Day’ will take place on the island on Friday, August 19.

One day pilgrimages will take place on dates between August 21 and September 24.

For further information visit the official Facebook page or call 071 98 61518.