Font size control

Scout Pilgrimages

The Pilgrimage was a big event in the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland. Rome, Lourdes and Knock were the main destinations for C.B.S.I. Troops.


In 1934 over 1.500 Scouts from the C.B.S.I. went on a Pilgrimage to Rome. The Scouts sailed on the Cunard Liner ĎLancastriaí from the North Wall Dublin in March and was led by his Eminence Cardinal MacRory. The Melvin Cup presented to the C.B.S.I. was taken to Rome by the Scouts. Due to poor weather condition at Civitavecchia the Lancastria had to dock at Naples. On the way to Rome the Scouts made a visit to Gibraltar.

  • Clare: 20 Scouts from Clare attended the pilgrimage leaving on the 7th of March under the direction of Scoutmaster P Callinan of the 4th Clare (Ennis) Troop, Scoutmaster G Moloney 3rd Clare (Clarecastle) and assistant Scoutmaster Ryan 2nd Clare (Kilrush).


3rd Cork on board the Lancastria.

Scoutmaster Mr Thomas C Tarbett 3rd Cork (St. Patrickís) told of the pilgrimage. On Saint Patrickís Day the Scouts marched through the streets of Rome to Saint Peterís Square, a prominent Fascist leader was heard to remark he had never seen better discipline than that of the Irish Scouts. Scouts enjoyed the many on board games and entertainments and as well as calling into Gibraltar the on the way to Rome they also visited Ceuta in North Africa on their return journey to Ireland.

  • Dublin: 3rd Dublin (Donnybrook) Pipe band played on several occasions.
  • Scouts from the 34th Dublin (Balbriggan).

  • Seventeen Scouts from 6th Kerry (Killarney) Troops went to Rome with their Chaplain Very Rev. D Moynihan, Adm. V.F.
  • 5th Kerry (St. Jamesí Killorglin). The Troop was present at the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932. The Troop, Association and Papal Colours which were presented to the Troop by the people of Killorglin and surrounding areas will be presented to the Pope. Standard bearers were Senior Patrol Leader P OíNeill, Patrol Leader D Moloney, Scouts T OíLeary, E Breen, P Lynch, D Keating, G Evans and B Prendeville.

  • Sligo: Sligo was represented by Rev. J McManus CC Elphin Diocesan Chaplin, Scoutmaster J. Gannon, and Scouts J. Kilfeather, A. Kilfeather, D Feeley, T. Healy and K. OíMalley.

  • Mayo. The 4th Mayo (Ballyhaunis). 5th Mayo Ballina led by their Chaplain Rev. M J. Feeney Scouts D. McAvock, L. Kevney, C. Garvey, J. Gallagher and Luke Dodd.


In September 1937 over sixteen hundred Scouts took part in a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Blessed (now Saint) Oliver Plunket in Drogheda, County Louth. Scouts from all over Ireland took part in the pilgrimage which took place on the Sunday 5th of September.

  • Cork: Scouts from all over Cork County left on Saturday the 4th of September.
  • Limerick: Rev. Fr. C.C. Carroll, Diocesan Chaplain, led Scouts from all over Limerick.
  • Three trains were chartered to take Scouts from Derry, Omagh and Strabane.


1958 saw the biggest peace-time air-lift of civilian passengers when the National Air Line Aer Lingus took over 1000 Scouts to a pilgrimage in Lourdes. The pilgrimage was led by his Grace the most reverend Dr. Walsh, Archbishop of Tuam along with 58 Priests all connected to the C.B.S.I. The first contingent of Scouts left Dublin airport on Wednesday the 9th of April and the Scouts began to return on Tuesday the 15th of April. The second contingent of about 500 Scouts left on Thursday. It took 19 planes over a 36 hour period to get all the pilgrim Scouts to Lourdes and it was the biggest International pilgrimage to fly into Tarbes Airport Lourdes. The Matron for the Pilgrimage was Miss Ann Kelly of Saint Vincentís Hospital Dublin. The Chief Scout Mr. J. B. Whelehan also attended. The Scouts occupied over thirty hotels around Lourdes with a Scout Master and Chaplain assigned to each hotel.

Over sixty Troops took part:

  • 17th Dublin (Dalkey)
  • 18th Dublin (Dominick Street)
  • 34th Dublin (Balbriggan)

  • 45th Dublin (Mount Argus) led by Rev. Fr. Vincent Sweeney C.P. Mount Argus.
  • Armagh: 1st Armagh 10 Scouts and Scout Master Willie Slevin and ASM Phil McGinn
  • Dun Laoghaire: 30 Scouts from Saint Michaelís Unit.
  • Kilrush: 54 Scouts travelled overland via London to join the pilgrimage
  • Limerick: Saint Johnís Troop and Saint Josephís Troop
  • Waterford: De La Salle Troop. 30 members of the 2nd Wexford (St. Columbanus).


On the 26th of June Scouts from all over Ireland took part in the National pilgrimage to Knock.

  • Scouts from Limerick took part and a bus collected Scouts from Saint Johnís Scout Hall and 9am sharp and from Saint Josephís Hall.


42 Scouts from the 3rd Monaghan went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, the Scouts spent several years raining the £1000 need to finance the trip. The pilgrimage was led by Rev. Dr. D. Duffy C.C. Troop Chaplain and Scout Master Mr. E. McAvennue.


Sixty Scout from the 86th Dublin (Mount Merrion) departing Dublin Airport for a pilgrimage to Lourdes and San Sabastian. The Scouts departed on the 15th of July 1966.