Climbing Croagh Patrick
As one of Westport’s biggest tourist attractions and climbed by up to a million people every year there is never a day that you won’t see people climbing the Reek as it’s known locally.
A tough challenge any day, you need to make preparations early and bring your hiking boots with you if you intend climbing Ireland’s Holy Mountain where the legend says the Irish Saint, St Patrick spent 40 days and nights in pilgrimage, fasting for lent. Every year on the last Sunday of July thousands of pilgrims from all over the world climb the mountain in pilgrimage some in their bare feet as an act of penance where from early morning Holy Mass is celebrated in the tiny church on top of the mountain, which was built in 1905 by locals and all the materials were carried to the top by donkeys and cleaves (baskets on each side of donkey)
Standing 764 meters tall it takes approx.2.5 hours to climb and 1.5 hours down for average fit person on mostly loose rugged stone and shale pathways but beware do not take the climb lightly. The last part of the rocky hill is made up of smaller stones which can be tricky to get a foothold but put the head down and power on. Put the following in your rucksack before you ascend Waterproofs, extra layer of clothes (top is much colder than ground level), some food and drink, mobile phone and torch, and a good sturdy stick to lean on, on the way up which can be hired or bought in the car park under the mountain.
Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back and enjoy the view over the islands in Clew bay and bask in the achievement of climbing Ireland’s Holy mountain. At the bottom treat yourself to a pint of Guinness and a good feed in Campbell’s Pub or the Tavern and say, “I’ll do that again”. Hold onto the stick as a memento of the climb and tick it off the bucket list.