I’m embarrassed to admit that until this Christmas, I’d never successfully climbed Croagh Patrick in Mayo. This is despite the fact that my family has a house almost at the foot of the mountain.
I had tried and failed in a particularly unfit state several years ago. After the gluttony of Christmas, I felt this Stephen’s Day was the perfect day to re-tackle the beast.
Armed with my dad’s good sense of direction, my mum’s common sense about what clothes to wear and some power ballads from Celine, I finally climbed the mountain in a respectable 3 hours round trip (and I only fell twice!) The striking views over Clew Bay and south Mayo more than compensated for effort the climb required.
Below are some photos from the day and some facts about the ‘Reek’ (they may or may not largely be from Wikipedia)
1. Croagh Patrick is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland and many climbers feel the need to climb barefoot. Strangely I did not have this inclination.
2. The Irish is Cruach Phádraig which means “(Saint) Patrick’s Mountain
3. Croagh Patrick is reputed to be the site where Saint Patrick banished snakes from Ireland. There was not a snake to be seen on the hike so he obviously did a good job.
4. It’s the 3rd highest mountain in County Mayo at 764 metres (2,507 ft). It certainly felt it
5. You should incorporate Campbell’s Pub into your climb to socialise with your fellow hikers. Irish pubs at their best!