In tough times people are making the pilgrimage to Lough Derg in search of hope.

Lough Derg in County Donegal, a place of Christian pilgrimage since the fifth century and has long been associated with hardship.

The recession has seen an increase in numbers of people turning to Lough Derg. An Easter day of reflection attracted twice as many pilgrims than in 2008. The one day pilgrimage season has 10% more pilgrims than in 2008. 

Lough Derg now offers a greater variety of retreats but more people are now coming here with worries about recession.

Monsignor Richard Mohan believes Lough Derg offers hope to people in times of great uncertainty, when they need to be able to trust in something reliable.

Many of the things that people have put their hopes and faith in in recent times haven’t worked out very well for them.

One pilgrim agrees,

Celtic Tigers are all very well and when they die off people get back to what’s important.

Another pilgrim believes the economic downturn has led people to return to their old ways and to seek God again. 

Enquiries for Lough Derg’s traditional three day pilgrimage are up 20% and Saint Patrick’s Sanctuary is looking to a very busy season ahead.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 May 2009. The reporter is Eileen Magnier.