January 20, 2022

Croagh Patrick in County Mayo: The pilgrimage climb and St. Patrick

By IrishCentral Staff

Croagh Patrick in County Mayo is an important site of pilgrimage where St Patrick is believed to have fasted during the 5th-century. 

Croagh Patrick, which overlooks Clew Bay, the Wild Atlantic Way and the beautiful town of Westport, is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland.

Its religious significance dates back to the time of the pagans when people are thought to have gathered here to celebrate the beginning of harvest season.

Known locally as "The Reek", the mountain got its name from Ireland's patron saint, St. Patrick. It's said that he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, praying and fasting at the top of the mountain during his missionary work in Ireland in the fifth century. 

Pilgrims from all over Ireland and the globe come to Croagh Patrick and spend the last Sunday in July climbing to the summit in honor of St Patrick on a day that is known as "Reek Sunday". Some even decide to undertake the endeavor in their bare feet!

A small church was built around 1905, and today mass is still said and confessions are heard. Croagh Patrick is the fourth-highest mountain in the province of Connacht and is considered a difficult climb, so those climbing it should be prepared.

H/T: Discover Ireland