Celebrating the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, August 1st.

August 1st, Redemptorists worldwide celebrate the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, their Founder. We give thanks for him and for the group he gathered around him ono missionary men not long afterwards became officially recognised as The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded to preach the Gospel to the poor and the most abandoned. Just one year earlier, Sr. Maria Celeste Crostorosa (now Blessed) began the Redemptoristine Nuns, a contemplative Order, known now as The Order of the Most Holy Redeemer’. She and Alphonsus worked closely together in the foundation of both groups.

The Redemptorist Missionary -

Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic me and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption’  (Redemptorist Constitutions, §20)


“Return Love for Love”

is what he said to do.

When all was said and done, this was his heart’s deep cry,-

‘return love, for love’.

Live in the Birth of Bethlehem,

walk in its stables,

smell its smells,

and then

be filled with speechless wonder

at the One Who Is,

and who is lying in the food-trough of

the beasts.

Live in the Call of Calvary,

Come back again to stand

upon that hill,

don’t run away from the awe-filled

horror as you stand

and gaze at our Messiah,-

Sent by the One who so greatly

loved the World.

Live in the shadow of its radiance.

Live in the ever-lasting gift of Eucharist,

Behold the Man! Behold the Lamb!

Behold your God, given in a wafer:

Drink in the meaning of the Cup.

‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink?’  (Mark 10:38-39)

‘We can…’ said those

two Thunder Brothers to their Lord.     (Mark 3:17)

And so can we,- drink of the

overflowing cup of given life.

Return love for love.

‘Live in my love’, said He.

‘As He (my Father) has loved me, (John 15:9)

that is the very how

my love is now

for you!’

Come, live in it, and drink of it,-

Come, laugh and dance in it

with Mary, -who ‘rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1),-

‘so that your joy may be full’. (John 15:11)

If he has so loved us,-

then we

might live our lives,

returning love for love.

(Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R.)


( Memories of visit to Naples-Scala, and of page 47 of Frederick Jones’ book on the writings of Alphonsus Liguori, in Classics of Western Spirituality Series..)


Blessed Maria Celeste Crostorosa, foundress of the Redemptoristines

Both the Redemptoristines and the Redemptorists are constantly praying that young women and young men, in their twenties and older, will come and share the passion in us for people. We want the work of the Most Holy Redeemer to continue into future generations. Talk to any Redemptorist, or contact us at vocations@redemptorists.ie. ‘Every new generation is a continent to be won for Christ!’ (St. John Paul II)

‘The harvest is great, the labourers are few: ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.’

seamus.devitt@redemptorists.ie, Esker Monastery, Athenry.

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Mass in Esker Church – and Live-Streaming of Mass



The Church is open for Mass, then closed for cleaning:

On Weekdays, (Mon-Sat.) the Church is opened from 12 to 2pm, for prayer. 

The Shop is open after the 10am Mass, Monday to Saturday, from 10.30 to 12noon.  

The Mass Schedule is as follows:

MASS  on weekdays, 10am , Monday to Saturday.  (On Saturday, Novena Prayers will be included).

MASS on Sundays, at 8am and 11am.

You are asked to arrive in good time, so that proper protocols may be observed, as required in this time of Covid 19. We appreciate your cooperation in all of this.

There are twenty three (23) spaces in the Church.  This is a relatively small number, but we are conscious of the continuing importance of physical distancing , – two metres at present.



Some further news:


From Monday July 6th, Mass will be live-streamed from Esker Church:

Click on the Web-Cam button on the right, to participate in our daily Mass, or click below on churchservices.tv/esker

Live-Streaming:  One giant step for Esker! – one small step for everyone else! – but were getting there. And send us an email to let us know how you find it. Thanks.

SUPPORTING ESKER:  You can now donate securely to the upkeep of our Church and Monastery using a credit card. Simply click on the Donate Now button on this front page,  and choose the amount you want to donate. You will be guided through the steps.

ESKER 2020 ANNUAL NOVENA DATES:  September 1st to 9th, inclusive.  If you can’t come to the Novena, the Novena can come to you! Join us online.   We have not forgotten you, and we hope you will join in with us for this great event.  

Meantime, ESKER CHURCH is open daily, Monday to Saturday, from 12noon to 2pm, for people to visit and pray.  It will be Closed on Sundays, from after the 11am Mass.  Social distancing – 2 metres apart – is to be observed.  Please use the sanitisers that are available

The SHOP is opened now, Monday to Saturday, from 10.30 until 12noon.

The Monastery and the Walks  remain closed until further notice.

The Grounds and the Pitch & Putt Course remain closed until further notice.

REDEMPTORISTINE NUNS in Drumcondra, Dublin:  You can find them on www.rednuns.com, and follow Mass from there, daily, if you wish.


A few images that may lift your hearts:

From the corridor in Esker Monastery













When you cannot receive Holy Communion physically, you can say this prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori, from his Visits to the Blessed Sacrament:

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION:   ‘ My Jesus, I believe that You art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You; permit not that I should ever be separated from You.    Amen.

God bless and protect us all, at this time. Go bhfóire Dia orainn ! Dia linn, ló ‘gus oiche!

'The Madonna of Ireland' - in a church in Gyor in Hungary since 1652. Linked to the then-Bishop of Clonfert, Walter Lynch. (Photo adapted by S. Devitt C.Ss.R.)



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ESKER NOVENA 2020: September 1 to September 9: On-line

Photo of the original Icon in Sant' Alfonso Church, Rome. See larger image, below

DATE FOR YOUR DIARY:ESKER 2020 NOVENA is scheduled for SEPTEMBER 1st to 9th, inclusive, 10am and 8pm each day. It will be on-line.
Weekday mornings : 10am
Sunday mornings:     11am.
To join us, simply click on WEBCAM/or LIVE-STREAMING button on front page or click below on churchservices.tv/esker

The 'Dominican Window', 1886: 15 years before the Redemptorists came.


Mother of Perpetual Help, 

with the greatest confidence

we come before your holy picture

to beseech your intercession.

We think of you, Mother, at the foot of the cross.

Your heart must have bled to see your Son in agony.

But your joy was great when he rose from the dead,

victorious over the powers of evil.

Mother of Sorrows, 

pray for us in this time of trial.

Help us not to lose heart.

Intercede for your people who are afflicted with Coronavirus.

Comfort your people who are vulnerable and anxious. 

Protect healthcare workers who put their lives at risk.

Inspire our leaders to make good decisions.

Change our hearts so that we may act responsibly.

Teach us to trust in God’s love and mercy,

And to share with you

the joy of having courageously 

faced up to all the challenges of life. 


Photo of the Icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help, Sant' Alphonso, Via Merulana, Rome (Photo: S. Devitt C.Ss.R.)

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When you cannot receive Communion…

The Chapel of the Benedictine Nuns in Kylemore: photo S. Devitt

When you cannot actually receive Holy Communion, you can make a prayer of Spiritual Communion: you can express the longing that is in you to be united completely with Christ.   We can say a prayer of Spiritual Communion, such as this one by St. Alphonsus, founder of the Redemptorists: it’s in his ‘Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament’:

My Jesus, I believe that You art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You; permit not that I should ever be separated from You.    Amen.

AS GAEILGE:  ‘A Íosa, mo Thiarna, creidim go bhfuilir i láthair go fíor san Naomh Shacraimint. Gráim Thú os cionn chuile nidh faoin spéir, agus is mian liom go mbeifeá agam istigh i m’anam. Cé nach féidir liom Thú a ghlacadh anois go sacraimintiúil,   ar a laighead tar chugam go spioradálta isteach i mo chroí. Fáiltím romhat amhail is go bhfuilir ann cheanna féin. Agus aontaím mé féin leat go h-iomlán. Ná lig dom go brách a bheith scartha Uait. 

There is a beautiful song on YouTube, ‘There is a longing in my heart, O Lord…’. Listen to it here, and watch the words on screen.

A song that many young people love, ‘All of me loves all of you’ by John Legend, is his own composition to his bride for his wedding day, some few years ago. So many of the words can speak of the Eucharist, as well – words of self-giving, and of mutual love. I often use it with young people, after Holy Communion. ‘I give my all to you, you give your all to me…’  ’All of me loves all of you, all of you loves all of me.’    John Legend produced and played the lead part in ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’, the show, about two years ago.

Wherever you are, and however you are, you can always walk in the presence of the Lord Jesus. He is the Vine, and we are the Branches… and we are all ‘one person in Christ’! He is within. At any time of day or night, you can go into the room of your heart, close the door, and be with your heavenly Father in that place. God is nearer to us than we are to ourselves.

Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R.



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Lá Fhéile Phádraig, St. Patrick’s Day: a day of joy and thanksgiving


Aghagower: The village of Aghagower lies about six miles from Westport. It is on the path of the Tochar Phadraig or Patrick’s Way, that goes from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick. It claims a rich history of contact with our Saint. It is well worth a visit, – if you can find it!

Patrick baptized the local chieftain, Sinach, and ordained him Bishop.

In the village of Aghagower, near Westport, near Croagh Patrick

Soon after, on Shrove Tuesday in 441, he and others walked to nearby Cruachan Ailleach (Croagh Patrick), and spent 40 days there, returning in time for the Easter Ceremonies on Holy Saturday. We ask his prayers now, at this difficult time in the history of our planet and world.

At the village of Aghagower, Co. Mayo: Photo: Seamus Devitt


Patrick was born c. 386 AD,  in Bannavem Tiberniae in Britain (or Britanny?): his father was Calpurnius, a Deacon in his community.

At age 16, young Patrick was taken captive with many others, by Niall of the Nine Hostages, and Patrick ended up, it is said, as a slave near the mountain of Slemish (Sliabh Mis) in Co. Antrim. There he tended sheep and other animals until the age of 22 or so. During that time, often alone on the mountain during the night, he found again the faith that he had learned but not lived, when he was a teen at home. He came to a great love for Christ.

He escaped at about age 22, travelled from Wicklow probably to Brittany. Later, he heard, in a dream, the call to return to Ireland to minister to the people who had enslaved him. He studied in Auxerre, in France, and was there for possibly twelve years. He trained as a priest, and later was ordained a bishop and sent back to Ireland. Many ridiculed him for his folly, but he was resolute.

Tradition is that he landed on a beach at Raholp, in Strangford Lough, in Co. Antrim, and spent his first night in Saul, nearby. There is a church in his honour there today.

He travelled through many parts of Ireland, preaching the Gospel and bringing the Irish ‘heathens’ to faith in Christ. He loved them dearly, despite all his hardships. He was desperately homesick, but would not leave, for fear he would never return. He stayed in Ireland for another thirty years, converting, baptizing, and setting up monasteries.

He died c. 461, and is reputedly buried in Downpatrick.

Patrick left us two writings, one called the ‘Confession’, a song of praise of God for his calling Patrick to work among the Irish people. The other is the ‘Letter to Coroticus’, who was a pirate who had taken captive many newly baptized men and women, and taken them into slavery.

Some quotations from Patrick: (Ireland was the back of beyond, then!)

  • ‘We are indeed witnesses that the Good News (Gospel) has been preached in distant parts, in places beyond which nobody lives.’
  • ‘I came to the Irish heathens to preach the Good News…I gave up my free-born status…I am ready to give even my life… It is there that I wish to spend my life until I die…among a people newly come to belief whom the Lord took from the very ends of the earth‘Is ansin is mian liom mo shaol a chaitheamh.’ 
  • About himself: ‘I was like a stone lying in the deep mud. Then he who is mighty came and in his mercy he not only pulled me out, but lifted me up and placed me at the very top of the wall.
  • ‘One night I saw a vision of a man called Victoricus, who appeared to have come from Ireland with an unlimited umber of letters. He gave me one of the and I read the opening words which were ‘The voice of the Irish’. As I read the beginning of he letter I seemed at the same moment to hear the voice of those who were by the wood of Voclut which is near the Western Sea*. They shouted with one voice: “We ask you, holy youth, come and walk once more among us.” I was cut to the heart and could read no more.’
  • In another place: ‘He passed over (the learned ones) for me, a mere outcast. He inspired me to be the one who would serve the people faithfully to whom the love of Christ brought me. The love of Christ indeed gave me to them to serve them humbly and sincerely for my entire lifetime if I am found worthy.
  • ‘We are a letter of Christ bearing salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth’. 
  • ‘Today, I offer …the living sacrifice of my life to Christ my Lord.’
  • ‘Spread out your nets…make disciples of all nations… go into all the world.’
  • ‘I cannot hide the gift of God which he gave me in the land of my captivity. I sought him vigorously then, and there I found him. He kept me from all evil because of his Spirit who lives in me and worked in me up to this day.
  • At the end: ‘Let your conclusion and the general opinion rather be the real truth, that my success was the gift of God. This is my confession before I die.

Jesus was like a magnet, for Patrick. Patrick was drawn to Jesus Christ in a deep way, from the time of his being taken captive at about the age of sixteen. For the six years of his captivity (probably near Slemish Mountain in Co. Antrim) Patrick found again the faith that he had so lightly held, in his earlier youth. Ever after, young Patrick and not-so-young Patrick, was filled with a sense of the presence of Christ and the love of Christ,  all about him and within. ‘Jesus Christ, yesterday, today, the same forever’, said St. Paul. He can be a magnet for us today, if only we let ourselves be drawn to him. He hungers for us, and waits for an answer.

*The ‘Western Sea’ may well be Lough Neagh, which was West of Slemish where the young man, Patrick, tended sheep. In German maps today, for example, this large body of water is referred to as a Zee.

Jesus Christ and his people need young missionaries at this time of our human history, to bring the great news of the Gospel to people of all ages, young and old. Will you hear his voice and invitation to ‘Come, Follow me’, as did Patrick in his twenties?

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Redemptorists worldwide celebrate St. Clement Hofbauer, March 15, 2020

John Clement Maria Hofbauer








Click here to watch a 6-minute video on St. Clement Hofbauer, on YouTube.

Redemptorists in Esker, Redemptorists worldwide, together with Redemptoristines and all our Redemptorist Co-Workers, celebrate this weekend of March 15th, 2020, the Feast of St. Clement Maria Hofbauer, who died in Vienna as the noon-bell rang for the Angelus, on March 15th, 1820. Clement is known as the ‘Second Founder’ of the Redemptorists, for it was he who brought the Redemptorists out of Italy and into Northern Europe.

John Hofbauer was born on St. Stephen’s Day in 1751, in what is now the Czech Republic. His father was Czech, his mother was German.

John’s father died when young John was only seven. His mother pointed to the crucifix and said to John, ‘From now on, HE is your Father’, pointing to Jesus.

John was about twenty when he became a hermit. Around that time, he took the name ‘Clement’, and that is how he is known to us today.

At about 33, he and a friend joined the Redemptorists in Rome. Less than a year later, they set out over the alps, hoping to found communities of Redemptorist Missionaries in Northern Europe. He worked for over twenty years in Warsaw, with an ever-increasing community of  Redemptorist colleagues. Napoleon ordered that community to be suppressed and the monks scattered. At age 57, Clement went back to Vienna. Over the next twelve years, he ministered to rich and poor alike, from his tiny room on Johannes Gasse. Artists, musicians, writers, politicians, University students all flocked to this humble priest’s house. He put new heart into all of them.

Clement Hofbauer died on March 15th, 1820, two hundred years ago. His dream of setting up Redemptorist communities and forming young Redemptorists was only realised after his death, when the Emperor gave his approval. A great flourishing of Redemptorist Missionaries, called ‘to follow Christ by preaching the Gospel to the poor’, took place right after his death. We thank God for this courageous, visionary, contemplative missionary.

St. Clement, pray for us, in our world of today. Teach us ‘to preach the Gospel anew’, in every generation, in every way, with ever-increasing freshness, joy, and love.

We invite you to go to YouTube, and key in “St. Clement Hofbauer and Séamus Devitt”, for a six minute video about this saint and friend.

(For good quality copies of these pictures of St. Clement Hofbauer, contact seamus.devittcssr@gmail.com

—- Addition:

Mauls on a Rainy Day

How 3 Mauls on a Rainy Day helped Clement Hofbauer, Redemptorist Saint!

This rainy day changed the course of one young man’s life. John Clement Hofbauer, now aged 30, had given up on his dream of becoming a priest. He simply could not afford it. Because of the poverty of his family - his father had died when John was only 7 - he had to go to work in his middle teens. Over the next fifteen years, young Hofbauer was in turn baker, hermit, student, hermit and back to baker.

Now aged thirty, he was back in a bakery in Vienna. His childhood dream of becoming a priest was now out of the question. Then, one morning he was coming out of St. Stefan’s Cathedral (‘Stefandom’) after serving Mass. It was raining heavily. As he stood at the door, he noticed three women, the Maul sisters, standing close-by. He offered to find them a carriage. When the carriage arrived, they invited him to come with them, as his home was in the same direction. They thought he was a seminarian. He explained that he couldn’t afford to go to University. They said they would look after all his costs. Clement accepted their offer, and began his University studies at age 31. And two years later, he and a friend were knocking at the door of the Redemptorist community at St. Giuliano in Rome. And that’s how Clement Hofbauer began his Redemptorist journey and journeys. He was about 34 when he began, and was 34 years a Redemptorist, until his death as the noon angelus bell rang out on March 20th, 1820. We give thanks for this courageous visionary man who is known as the ‘Second Founder’ of the Redemptorists. He joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (‘Redemptorists’ for short), because their goal was and is ‘to follow Christ in preaching the Gospel to the poor’.

The very first Redemptorist to come to preach a Mission in Ireland in 1851 was a Fr. Frederick deHeld. Frederick had been a university student in Clement’s Circle in Vienna and had carried the coffin of his friend, this simple but wonderful priest, Fr. Hofbauer.

See what can happen from Mauls on a Rainy Day! The works of God are wonderful.  ‘It’s never too late to start livin’ !’


St. Clement Hofbauer’s feast is on March 15th. He died two hundred years ago, this year, in Vienna.

















Vatican, March 7, 2020

Reverend Father Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R., Superior General,  Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer,  Via Merulana, 31,  00185 Roma

Reverend Father,

In your courteous letter of February 2, you informed the Holy Father about the Bicentenary of the death of St. Clement Hofbauer, C.Ss.R. You also asked that he present once again this unique and multifaceted man to the Christians of our time.

His Holiness, welcoming this devout gesture, shares the joy of your Congregation and hopes that the celebrations in question will constitute a precious opportunity to make increasingly known and welcome the witness of this Saintly Confrere. Faithful to the apostolic spirit of the Founder, St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, St. Clement made every effort to proclaim the Gospel in the peripheries of his time and to bring the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer beyond the Alps, laying the foundations for its subsequent growth throughout the world.

His life’s journey was always guided by a deep faith, a faith that he learned on his mother’s knee, in his native Tasswitz, in Moravia. Despite numerous and painful events, and in different social and political contexts, this faith led him to abandon himself with full confidence into the arms of the Heavenly Father and not to lose hope in realizing his dream of being a priest despite numerous obstacles. Welcomed into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he took this unexpected opportunity as a particular grace and a further call to serve the cause of the Gospel and to witness to the precious treasure of faith, initially in Poland, because of the laws in force at that time in his homeland, and then, later, in Vienna.

This faith, deeply rooted in his very being, and enriched by the teachings of the Founder, led him to consider the unbelief and distance from God of many of his contemporaries as dangerous, almost unnatural. As a result, he continuously sought to find new ways of bringing the joy of the Gospel to all, promoting ever richer experiences of humanity and Christian life.

Clement’s passion for the work of God was reflected in his passion for his brothers and sisters and led him to put himself at the service of the poor in the city of Warsaw. Through material aid, he offered to abandoned orphans, to foundlings, to girls and young people of every nation and religion present in the city, the possibility of a more dignified life, freed from illiteracy and moral dangers. He trusted always in divine Providence and in the help of generous people, whom he did not neglect to ask for alms and collaboration for love of these brothers and sisters.

Transferred to Vienna in his later years, his missionary concern extended to other ‘peripheries’: to the university world and to that of culture. He attracted many illustrious scientists and artists, inviting them not only to approach the Church, but also to an intense and conscious spiritual life. He sought to satisfy their inner poverty, in different but not dissimilar ways from those that led the Founder to become passionate about the condition of the poor and uneducated peasants of Southern Italy. He gave particular attention to the world of youth and especially to the students, who saw him as a welcoming friend and a priest whose faith and goodness were contagious to those who approached him. Thanks to this commitment, men and women, young and old, noble and bourgeois, scholars and artists, state officials and prelates, students and professors trusted his leadership and spread his spirituality, exercising their influence in all areas of society.

His faith led him to hope against all hope in the firm conviction that “what seems impossible to human beings is always possible to God”. St. Clement Hofbauer urges contemporary Christian communities to leave behind worldly security and outdated pastoral schemes and free themselves from fears and laziness so that they can welcome the cry of the wounded men and women which rises from our cities today, and thus bring the joy of the Gospel everywhere.

While offering fervent wishes for the success of the Bicentennial Celebrations, the Holy Father invokes the heavenly protection of this Holy Confrere and of Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, and heartily imparts to you, to the entire Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and to all who will participate in these celebrations his Apostolic Blessing, a pledge of every grace and renewed missionary commitment.

I unite my personal best wishes, and confirm my own feeling of religious esteem for Your Reverend Paternity,

Sincerely, Pietro Card. Parolin, Secretary of State


For more information about our way of life, or to talk directly about whether you might be called to be a Redemptorist Missionary:

Please contact Fr. Derek Ryan C.Ss.R.  vocations@cssr.ie

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Pre Marriage Weekend: 2020 dates: next weekend … to be decided!








Please pass the word about this and other Pre-Marriage weekends in Esker.

THE NEXT PRE-MARRIAGE WEEKEND WILL BE ON … a date to be decided, post Covid 19. Please God, we will be ready to go for the October 2-4 weekend. 

Dates for 2020:    June 12-14 (NOTE CHANGE from June 5-7)CANCELLED:

October 2-4.

These are some of the comments from recent weekends: 

‘A fantastic weekend, very informative; topics relevant, speakers fantastic and very honest. A great chance for any couple to talk without…mobile phones. And the ground around beautiful and the food only fab’

‘More awareness, marketing and advertising of these courses. It could be promoted on FB and social media.’

‘Thanks for a fantastic weekend. We really enjoyed it and have taken lots away from it.’

‘Very well run weekend… We really liked both couples.  We learned a lot…’ 

‘We enjoyed the weekend and took more from it than we had hoped, with very high expectations.’

‘We heard about the course from … past participants’.

‘Thank you sincerely from both of us. It was a very special and inclusive weekend of essentially important knowledge, sharing in helping us prepare for our sacrament of Marriage…Thanks!

Contact 091 844007, or email info@redemptoristsesker.ie

DATES 2019:

January 25th – 27th     (Friday 8pm to after lunch on Sunday) (completed)

March  29th -31st  -  (completed)

May 10th – 12th:     Friday 8pm to after lunch on Sunday. (completed)

October 4th – 6th


Cost per Couple is €260

A wedding for a day, a marriage is for every day!’

‘I freely recommend this programme and I pray for the couples and priests who present it. May the Lord continue to bless your work in Esker.’ Criost linn, John Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert

A Residential Weekend, from Friday evening 8pm to after lunch on Sunday. Sandwiches galore etc. on arrival. Everything supplied. Just bring yourselves!

Feedback from recent Esker Pre-Marriage Weekends:

  • ‘Excellent. Will recommend to others.’
  • ‘We found the weekend very rewarding and insightful. We really enjoyed it and would highly recommend to our friends. Thanks to the married couples for their very honest and brave feedback on married life, and thanks to …. for their kindness and knowledge. We’ll be forever grateful.’
  • Thank you to everyone who talked…’
  • Didn’t know what to expect, loved the weekend and think every couple would benefit from it…’
  • ‘We appreciated the honest feedback from all the married couples.’
  • ‘Excellent weekend, thanks again for sharing your experiences: we hope to use your advice and tools along the way.’
  • ‘Thank you to all the couples for your honest and open accounts of married life’
  • Thank you to all involve, the weekend was well structured, on depth and well presented. We have both learned some valuable lessons to help prepare us for married life.
  • Really enjoyed the course, we both got so much out of it. It was lovely  being in Esker,-  the accommodation, food and hospitality was excellent.
  • Amazing weekend. Very grateful. Thank you.
  • Thank you for your generous spirit over the weekend.
  • Very enjoyable weekend. Nice and relaxed environment.
  • We felt the course was absolutely fantastic. Thank you to the couples…. for being so honest. It makes you realise that some of the things that you go through in a relationship aren’t that disastrous and you can work through them.
  • It was lovely to hear from real couples. It really opened up the lines of communication for us and we are much closer and stronger as a result. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences with us.
  • Overall, a wonderful weekend, great experience. Will most definitely benefit us in our future. Great food. Well run.
  • …Stronger relationship coming out of the weekend. An incredible, life-changing experience I would say. I feel renewed in my own faith and excited about building our relationship with God as a couple. We both thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • We found the course to be really great in preparing us for married life ahead. Everyone involved was very open and welcoming and it was great to draw from the experience of the married couples. We will definitely recommend the course to all of our friends.
  • Thank you so much for really helping me and N grow more in love and more stronger this weekend. What a magical weekend – we cannot thank you enough.
  • This course was amazing. Would highly recommend to people. Team are fantastic and very honest and open which is really nice to be a part of.
  • Thank you for your commitment in giving the course. Your dedication really comes through. The course is really well run … Really enjoyed the openness and candour of the speaking couples and the time and technique of writing to each other. Thank you.
  • This weekend was the most special thing we have ever done for our relationship. The generosity of spirit of all the w/e team was outstanding, we feel very grateful for having experienced it.
  • It brought us closer together and gave us good tools to help us maintain unity through our marriage. We found the course speakers excellent and open. Than you for your time. We highly recommend this course.

Feedback continued:

  • ‘V impressed by the weekend. We appreciate the time and openness of the couples who facilitated, and especially as it was done on a volunteer basis.’
  • ‘Coming to the course, we were not sure what to expect. For both of us the weekend has been a powerful and emotional path of discovery. It was honest and thought provoking. We enjoyed the experience immensely and will definitely recommend it to friends.’
  • ‘It was a beautiful experience for both of us, giving us life-skills and hope, that hopefully one day we will look back and say we are as happy after 30 years as the day we met, through your help and guidance.’
  • ‘Excellent all round!’
  • ‘Valuable, reflective and thoughtful experience – the honesty and genuineness of the team is hugely motivating and inspiring. Plenty of thinking for our future marriage – highly recommend this! Keep up the excellent work.’
  • ‘This was an excellent course – it gave an insight into marriage and how as a couple we can make our marriage work in a loving way and in the presence of God. The time the team gives you is amazing. Thank you.’
  • ‘We expect that this weekend will stand to us tremendously in the long run. We appreciated the open and honest approach of the couples, facilitators and team couples. We’re delighted that we came.’
  • ‘Great weekend, very helpful on all aspects of married life. Honesty and openness of the teams made the course very relevant to the real life problems or issues that we will face. Lovely atmosphere.’

Click here or go to ‘What we do’ on Homepage, for details about our PreMarriage Courses, and also to read comments from couples who have experienced this course in Esker in the past two years.

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Upcoming Events: Esker is closed for the time being, due to Covid 19


School Retreats:  We hope to resume the giving of School Retreats –  from Leaving Cert age down to Confirmation Classes – in the Autumn, -le cúnamh Dé.

For information on what our Youth Ministry Team can offer you, contact Youth Ministry Office 091 850298, or email eskeryouthministry@gmail.com. Early bookings are recommended.

Enquiries to Secretary Esker, 091 844007 or info@redemptoristsesker.ie

How to find us:  Esker Monastery and Retreat Centre is about three miles from Athenry Town, towards Kiltullagh. Eircode is H65XA36

Esker Youth Ministry continues most weeks, for students from 6th Class up to 6th Year: Enquiries to eskeryouthministry@gmail.com, or to 091 850298: day retreats and over-night retreats: also bonding-days for students. 


Pilgrimages, Summer Camps, Youth Events -the Village as a Base:  Our facilities are available for rental, provided certain conditions are met.  The facilities are also available for  Youth Group Events. Our Youth Village facilities and/or Retreat House can make an excellent base for groups, from Ireland and Overseas,  who wish to go on Pilgrimage from here to various sacred places and shrines in the West,- eg. Knock, CroaghPatrick, Ballintubber Abbey, Clonmacnoise, Clonfert,-   or to visit Connemara or the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.

The Youth Village has two dormitories with bunk beds; each dormitory can sleep about 35. There are also separate sleeping facilities in each, for adult leaders. The ‘Rambling House’ is a place where groups can prepare their own food, if they wish. The Retreat House has plenty of accommodation also, subject to availability.

Among the facilities we have available on site are an 18 hole Pitch & Putt course and a variety of wooded walks.

In our retreats, we take time to celebrate the humanity of each young person, affirming their dignity and worth, hearing their questions and struggles, and seeking to show them who they truly are, through the face and eyes of Jesus Christ, as made in the image and likeness of their Creator. We work so that they will experience themselves and others with truth and real joy, by the time they leave us for home. We place before them food for the journey of Life. When possible, we end each retreat with a celebration of Eucharist with the students.

We offer One-Day Retreats/Reflection Days, and also Residential Retreats. Parishes offer a day in Esker as a special gift to their Confirmation Children, with an early start and arriving for 9.30am or so, departing around 2.30 or 3pm, when possible.

The beauty of the spacious grounds is another part of the experience for all who come to Esker, as is the beauty and simplicity of the Youth Village itself – an old converted farmyard.

In Esker, once a Dominican Foundation, now a Redemptorist Community, “Welcome” is our middle name! Everyone who comes is a V.I.P.

Contact 091 844007

Esker, a Soul Space. Photo: Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.
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Esker Pitch and Putt Course is closed, due to Covid 19

Esker Pitch and Putt Course is closed at present. We will post a date for opening, when it becomes available. Thanks for your support. We hope the course will be a cause of much pleasure for people when it does re-open.

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