Lough Derg - Encyclopedia




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LOUGH DERG, a lake of Ireland, on the boundary of the counties Galway, Clare and Tipperary. It is an expansion of the Shannon, being the lowest lake on that river, and is 23 m. long and generally from i to 3 m. broad. It lies where the Shannon leaves the central plain of Ireland and flows between the hills which border the plain. While the northerly shores of the lake, therefore, are flat, the southern are steep and picturesque, being backed by the Slieve Aughty, Slieve Bernagh and Arra Mountains. Ruined churches and fortresses are numerous on the eastern shore, and on Iniscaltra Island are a round tower and remains of five churches.

Another Lough Derg, near Pettigo in Donegal, though small, is famous as the traditional scene of St Patrick's purgatory. In the middle ages its pilgrimages had a European reputation, and they are still observed annually by many of the Irish from June 1 to August 15. The hospice, chapels, &c., are on Station Island, and there is a ruined monastery on Saints' Island.

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