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Croagh Patrick


Croagh Patrick





Mayo mountain rescue calls for safety measures ahead of Reek Sunday Read more..

Croagh Patrick, is situated 8 kilometers south west of Westport town. The mountain's conical shape soars 2,510 feet majestically above Clew Bay, overlooking the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey to the North, with Tievnacrogha and Durless to the South.

Croagh Patrick, locally known as “The Reek” is recognised throughout the world as a pilgrimage site.

In The Book of Armagh, a manuscript written in the 8th century, states that Saint Patrick fasted on the summit of the mountain for forty days and forty nights, in the year 441 (fifth century) and also built a church there.

The site quickly became an important place of Christian pilgrimage. Archaeological excavation on the summit in 1995 unearthed the foundation of a stone oratory dating to between 430 and 890 AD.

It is said that after Saint Patrick’s fasting for forty days, that he threw a silver bell down the side of the mountain knocking the she-demon Corra from the sky into a lake, sited at the base of the mountain on the southern side known locally as Lough na Corra, ultimately banishing all the snakes from Ireland.

Dr Healy, Archbishop of Tuam, and Fr Michael McDonald, built an oratory on the summit of Croagh Patrick. This was dedicated on the 20th July 1905, which re-established the ancient pilgrimage.

Every year the last Sunday in July (Reek Sunday), Mass is celebrated every half hour from 8.00am to 2.00pm on the summit. Depending on weather, up to 25,000 people climbs the mountain, some to look but most to pray, with some pilgrims climbing barefoot.

It 1974 the pilgrimage was changed to a day pilgrimage for safety reasons. Before this the pilgrimage on the mountain took place right through the night, with many pilgrims carrying lights and using the darkness to hide the sheer height of the mountain from them because of their fear of heights, others wanted to be on top at daybreak for sunrise and the magnificent views of the countryside.

For most Catholics who visit Croagh Patrick, especially Reek Sunday, the pilgrimage to the top of the sacred mountain is an act of penance.

During the pilgrimage on 31st July 2005, a plaque commemorating the centenary of the building and dedication of the chapel was unveiled by Most Rev.Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam.

Afterwards it was decided to open the church every day during the summer by information guides, as well as holydays.

On "Reek Sunday", Emergency Medical and Rescue service for pilgrims is provided by the Civil Defense, Order of Malta, and the local Mayo Mountain Rescue Team, The Irish Air Corps providing helicopter support for casualty evacuations to hospital or to the Order of Malta Base at Tievnacrogha.

There are also pilgrimages on the last Friday in July (Garland Friday): Mass is celebrated at 10.00am on the summit, with evening Mass celebrated at 8.00pm in Murrisk car park.

On 15th August (Feast of the Assumption) Mass is celebrated at 12.00noon on the summit, those two pilgrimages are generally supported by the locals and people from the surrounding areas.

Magnificent views of the countryside are to be had from all stages of the ascent of the mountain.

Follow the steps of St Patrick to the summit to enjoy the feelings and in doing so meet people from far and near and make lifetime friends.



There are three pilgrimage stations on the way to the summit of Croagh Patrick, each of which has a sign with instructions for the proper rituals and prayers.

The stations are as follows:

First Station (Leacht Benáin): Base of the Mountain

Walk 7 times around the mound of stones while saying: 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1 Creed

Second Station: The Summit

Kneel and say: 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1 Creed

Pray near the chapel for the Pope's intentions.

Walk 15 times around the chapel while saying: 15 Our Fathers, 15 Hail Marys

Walk 7 times around Leaba Phádraig (Patrick's Bed) saying: 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1


Third Station: Roilig Mhuire

Walk 7 times around each mound of stones saying: 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1 Creed

Walk 7 times around the whole enclosure of Roilig Mhuire praying.


Most Rev. Charles Browne, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland celebrates 9.30 a.m. Mass on the summit of Croagh Patrick,

Reek Sunday 29 July 2012.


The journey to the Summit of Croagh Patrick pilgrims take on the last Sunday in July each year.


Most Rev. Charles Browne, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland celebrates 9.30 a.m. Mass on the summit of Croagh Patrick,

Reek Sunday 29 July 2012.

Dawn Baynes

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