New prior appointed to Lough Derg pilgrimage site

Fr Laurence Flynn to take over as prior of Donegal pilgrimage shrine

A new prior has been appointed to the pilgrimage shrine of Lough Derg in Co Donegal. Fr Laurence (La) Flynn, currently parish priest of Ballybay, Co Monaghan takes over the role from October 1st.

He will also take up an appointment as administrator of Pettigo parish in Co Donegal, succeeding Fr Owen McEneaney, who has held both roles since 2013. He becomes parish priest of Ballybay where he served previously in the 1980s.

Msgr Joseph McGuinness, administrator of Clogher diocese where Pettigo is located, said Lough Derg continues to hold a very special place in the lives of many people in the Clogher diocese, throughout Ireland and further afield.

“Fr Flynn already has great experience and knowledge of Lough Derg through his long association with the island. This will be of enormous benefit to Lough Derg’s next stage of development and I pray God’s blessings on him and the entire team there,” he said.


Fr Flynn first ministered on Lough Derg during the three-day pilgrimage season of 1978, and has served there for at least some weeks each summer ever since, apart from 1992-98 when he was serving at Kenya's Kitui diocese. He has also written a booklet on Lough Derg, published in 1987, as part of the Irish Heritage series.

The Lough Derg pilgrimage season extends annually from May until October, with the traditional three-day pilgrimage season taking place between June 1st and August 15th.

One-day retreats and special retreat days take place in May, late August and September, with youth retreats in September and October. Pilgrims have been going to Lough Derg for more than 1,500 years with records dating the foundation of its Holy Island to the fifth century.

On Saturday next there will be a special retreat day there to support people who have been affected by suicide. Details at

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times