3 Amazing Holy Sites in Ireland
Tomorrow we celebrate Saint Patrick, the great evangelist who is credited with converting the pagan island of Ireland into a Christian nation. According to the 2016 Irish Census, 78.3% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic. Rich with Catholic history, Ireland is home to many holy sites that attract thousands of pilgrims. Here are just a few of the notable destinations:
Located in County Donegal, Lough Derg is an island shrine commonly referred to as Saint Patrick’s Purgatory. Ever since medieval times, pilgrims have been travelling to this place where Saint Patrick allegedly walked. Check out our Catholic Destinations episode on Lough Derg for all the details!
In August 1879, 15 villagers witnessed a Marian apparition in Knock, CO. Mayo. Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist, a cross, and a lamb on an altar appeared on the wall of the local church. The apparition lasted two hours, during which the pilgrims prayed Rosaries. Knock Shrine has become a popular pilgrimage site where visitors come to go to Mass in the Apparition Chapel, pray in the basilica, and wander the grounds, which also include a museum and an outdoor Stations of the Cross.
Also located in CO. Mayo, many consider Croagh Patrick to be the holiest mountain in Ireland. Pilgrims believe that Saint Patrick fasted and performed penances for forty days at the top of this mountain. Now, thousands of Catholics travel here to fast and pray. The last Sunday in July, commonly referred to as “Reek Sunday,” is one of the most popular days of pilgrimage. Devotees from across the globe come to climb, pray, and celebrate Mass in Saint Patrick’s Chapel.