Hope you are all having a smashing week.
For this post I thought I’d check in and share my experience of climbing Croagh Patrick in the west of Ireland. This will of course be of particular interest to people with an interest in mountain climbing, but everyone else shouldn’t be deterred, as climbing Croagh Patrick can be a great out of the norm activity to fill a day with family of friends, especially if you are visiting Ireland on vacation and looking for something interesting to write home about.
If your Irish and reading this, you will no doubt be familiar with Croagh Patrick and its history. But for everyone else, here is some information about it. The 2,507 ft mountain is located in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. Its name comes from the Irish Cruach Phádraig meaning Saint Patrick’s stack. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland is believed to have fasted on the summit for forty days in the fifth century, and as such, it has been an important site of pilgrimage in Ireland for thousands of years. Every year on the last Sunday in July, thousands flock to the mountain to climb it. This Sunday is known as Reek Sunday, reflecting the mountains nickname, The Reek, a Hibero-English word for stack. On average, climbing to the top and back down again takes around three and a half hours. For religious reasons, many choose to make the ascent BARE FOOT. Yes you did read that correctly. I wouldn’t dream of doing it bare foot, but I really admire the bravery and devotion these people show by doing it. There is also a small church, built in 1905, that offers mass on the summit to those making the pilgrimage on Reek Sunday. The church is normally not open to climbers all year round.
Of course, while many make the climb for their religious beliefs, many others such as myself do not. It’s a great way to get out and do some exercise and spend time with family and friends. I myself climbed it with three of my friends from college. We all lead busy lives doing this and that, so we try to make time to meet up and do something together when we can, so this was also a great way of having a catchup. It also boasts spectacular views of the Irish countryside, especially on a sunny day, so if you are visiting Ireland on vacation, it’s a great spot to take some amazing photos to show off when you get home.
The climb itself can be challenging, as the mountain is very steep in parts, especially the last 15 minutes near the top, which is a killer. You also have to have your wits about you when making your descent, again due to the steepness, which can see you taking a tumble or two if you’re not careful. I’m talking from experience on this one, but then again, I am a bit of a clumsy person, so that could have played a part to. I don’t know how people do it bare foot, as I’d probably end up breaking a leg or falling off the edge if I did.
You will no doubt be tired and sore when you get back on flat ground, but the sense of achievement you’ll feel will outweigh that. And it will get you good and ready for a good feed as well. There is also gift shops located at the base so you can pick up some souvenirs for everybody back home. All in all, it’s a great way to get some exercise, pass a few hours with friends and experience the Irish countryside. I’ve shared a few pictures I took below, including one of me taking a much needed break near the top 😵. I hope you enjoy it if you ever get around to climbing it to.
Enjoy the rest of your week ✌🏻