Island shrine on a small lake in County Donegal, northwest Ireland, a place of pilgrimage since early Christian times. The principal edifice is the Basilica of St. Patrick, near the cave known as St. Patrick's Purgatory, where in answer to the saint's prayers the incredulous could experience something of the burning of hell. Penal legislation by the British Government was repealed in 1871, so that now thousands of pilgrims visit the shrine, especially between June 1 and August 15. The custom is to stay for three days, doing penance and praying. Only one meal of bread and water or sweetened tea is had on each of the three days. Shoes are removed and the pilgrim moves from station to station, where prescribed prayers are said. The sacraments are received and the whole pilgrimage is intended to be penitential, drawing people from all classes of society.