Lough Derg, centred in the remote wilds of Donegal, was the objective of pilgrims from all over Europe in the period we are considering, including the celebrated pilgrimage by Ramon de Perellós from Caralonia/Aragon in 1397. At exactly this point too – midway in the coverage of this book – we find a flowering of the intricate lyrics of the Irish Bardic tradition which may be (or may not be) linked to the European tradition of courtly lyric. Obviously, European monasticism was as vigorous in Ireland as anywhere else in Europe, by all historical and geographical evidence.
The importance of Richard Fitzralph in Alan Fletcher’s chapter on Dublin applies usefully here too. As an Oxford-educated Archbishop from the northern reaches of the colonial ‘Pale’ area around Dublin, Fitzralph was by not by any reckoning a marginal or parochial figure. Yet it was he who promoted the cult of St Patrick in Avignon, prompting the pilgrimage of two Hungarian noble pilgrims to Lough Derg at the beginning and end of our period (1353 and 1411). Moreover, it was one Henry of Saltrey, a Cistercian monk from Huntingdonshire in the English East Midlands who wrote the Latin Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii (1184) which was the foundation of the fourteenth-century cult. This chapter deals with the foundation of the Lough Derg pilgrimage and its remarkable dissemination throughout Europe.