Croagh Patrick forms the southern part of a U-shaped valley created by a glacier flowing into Clew Bay in the last Ice Age. It is nicknamed the Reek, height of 764 metres and is located just 8 kilometres from Westport.
It is climbed by pilgrims on Reek Sunday every year, which is the last Sunday in July. On this day thousands of pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick in honour of Saint Patrick. According to tradition St Patrick fasted and prayed on the summit for forty days in the year 441. Masses are held at the summit, where there is a small chapel. Some climb the mountain barefoot, as an act of penance, and carry out 'rounding rituals', in which they pray while walking around features on the mountain.
Thinking of climbing Croagh Patrick? Generally it is best to climb in summer (April-September). Occasional showers blow in over the bay so raingear is advisable. Normally, it takes about two hours for the average person to reach the summit, and one and a half hours to descend. It is advisable to take sturdy footwear, rainwear and some drinking water. Climbing sticks are for sale at the Centre.
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