Mayo County Council has been urged to raise €1.5m needed to repair one of its most visited attractions – Croagh Patrick.
The famous 764m tall mountain is the site where St Patrick is said to have climbed in the 5th century AD and fasted for 40 days and nights. Today it is a popular pilgrimage for Christians.
Every year thousands of people climb Croagh Patrick on the last Sunday of July – known as Reek Sunday. The traditions goes back for around 1,500 years.
Last week the annual climb was officially cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. However, up to 5,000 pilgrims braved the weather and climbed the mountain anyway.
The official cancellation once again highlighted the need to make repairs to the mountain.
The pathway is severely eroded and a report by Mountaineering Ireland said that it is in need of urgent repair that would cost around €1.5m to complete.
Independent councillor Christy Hyland said that he is fed up of people paying ‘lip service to the urgent repair of Croagh Patrick’.
He said: “If Mayo County Council can access a loan of €1.5 million for the new Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, which was sanctioned last week, they can find the money for one of our most important places of Irish heritage and tourism.”
Following the report by Mountaineering Ireland, Mayo County Council held a workshop to discuss the future of Croagh Patrick.
It was decided that four councillors will join a stakeholder group to work on the long and short-term issues with the mountain.
Mountaineering Ireland wrote to the councillors to offer its support but also to warn that there would not be a quick fix solution.
The group said: “We stand ready to provide advice and support to all stakeholders working to protect Croagh Patrick for current and future generations of users.
“We would very much like to share our experience of best practice to ensure that mistakes . . . are not repeated in County Mayo.
“There is no easy quick fix solution to the scale of erosional problem and management issues on Croagh Patrick.”
Find out more about Croagh Patrick