Croagh Patrick – the Mountain of St Patrick

Clew Bay Croagh Patrick – the Mountain of St Patrick Image copyright Ireland Calling
Croagh Patrick – the Mountain of St Patrick

Croagh Patrick is a mountain in County Mayo that is famous for its association with St Patrick – the Patron Saint of Ireland.

Spectacular Rolling sun
Attractions in Ireland

Clew Bay Croagh Patrick – the Mountain of St Patrick Image copyright Ireland Calling

It is said to contain gold worth millions of euros, but no one is allowed to mine it because of the religious nature of the area. The mountain is also home to an intriguing natural phenomenon known as the rolling sun.

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick is climbed by thousands of pilgrims on Reek Sunday

At 2,507 feet tall, it is certainly hard work to climb but that doesn’t deter the thousands of visitors who flock to the area each year.

What attracts people to Croagh Patrick every year is its status as a site of Pilgrimage.

It gets its name from the Irish ‘Cruach Phádraig’ which means Patrick’s stack. Locals have nicknamed the mountain ‘the Reek’ which is a Hiberno-English word for ‘stack’.

St Patrick – banished snakes from Ireland

It is said that in the 5th Century AD, St Patrick climbed the mountain and stayed there in solitude. While at the summit of the mountain he fasted for 40 days and nights.

When St Patrick’s fast came to an end on the 40th night, he threw a silver bell from the top of the mountain to the ground below. On its way down, the bell struck a she demon named Corra. Corra fell out of the sky and all the snakes were banished from Ireland.

Thousands of pilgrims arrive on Reek Sunday

Croagh Patrick Reek Copyright Paul Mcllroy and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0

The last Sunday in July is known as ‘Reek Sunday’ and every year thousands of people make the pilgrimage to climb the mountain on that day.

There are visitors from all over Europe and the rest of the world including North and South America, India and Australia.

Several people climb the mountain barefoot and some men go bare chested as well. It is not recommended but has become a tradition for many pilgrims.

pilgrims-on-summit-ascending-as-a-cloud-covered-top-of-mountain-taken-at-6-am-on-Reek-Croagh-Patrick_Louie-Casserly

Pilgrims ascending the cloud covered summit – Reek Croagh Patrick (photo Louie Casserly) -6am

Climbers who wear so little risk hyperthermia, especially if the weather is not good. This can drain the resources and manpower of the Civil Defence who are there to provide emergency rescue and medical cover.

Reek Croagh Patrick. Photo Copyright - Louie Casserly

Emergency vehicles on stand-by  at Reek Croagh Patrick (photo Louie Casserly)

A historical place of worship

The mountain was a place of worship long before St Patrick ever set foot on it. In 1994 an excavation of the area was carried out by the National Monuments Service. They found a Celtic hill fort made of dry stone that circled the top of the mountain.

This shows that pilgrims would have visited the mountain long before the Christian era and experts estimate that people would have gathered there to worship up to 5,000 years ago.

St Patrick More on St Patrick


Visit Ireland More on Irish holidays

Tourist attractions in Ireland

The Blarney Stone
Bru na Boinne
Bunratty Castle
The Burren
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Cliffs of Moher
Croagh Patrick
Dingle Peninsula
Garnish Island
The Giant's Causeway
Glendalough
The Guinness Storehouse
Hill of Tara
Lakes of Killarney
Newgrange
The Peace Bridge
Ring of Kerry
Wild Atlantic Way
Personalised Celtic prints. Ireland Calling store

Irish cities

Belfast
Cork
Derry
Dublin
Galway
Limerick
Waterford

Tourism articles

TripAdvisor's top 10 destinations in Ireland for 2015
Top holiday destinations in Ireland - as voted by the Irish
Top holiday destinations in Ireland - as voted by tourists

Ireland's favourite heritage site
The most romantic city in Ireland
Hidden gems in Ireland

The top ten Irish beaches
Where would Irish people take overseas guests?
Tips for first time visitors to Ireland

What not to do when visiting Ireland
Ireland's top sacred pilgrimage sites
Eight reasons why Irish pubs are Ireland's top attractions

What do you like about Ireland?
Local Irish pubs number one attraction for tourists
Tourists happy with 'value for money' on visits to Ireland

Video - initiative to promote 'Ireland's Ancient East'
Ireland can boast the best 'cliff view' in the world
Most visited tourist attractions in Ireland in 2014?

Industry warned not to 'repeat the mistakes of the past'
Dublin 'favourite worldwide city' for young travellers
Which tourist attractions in Ireland made the Lonely Planet's ultimate guide?

Dublin is one of the world's top three cities say Lonely Planet
Ireland has three of the world's four friendliest cities

Did you know?

Singing Cork barman has fans across the world - a video of the Irish music loving barman singing while he poured a pint went viral as people became enchanted by his easy going style and great voice. Check out his video.

Have you heard about…

Irish people warned about the ‘Celtic curse’ - a potentially deadly blood condition, that harms the liver, heart and pancreas, has been labelled the ‘Celtic Curse’ because more people in Ireland are prone to it than people from other countries. Find out more.

What about this…

‘Irish giant’ Tom Crean was one of the bravest and toughest explorers of the early part of the 20th century. Thanks to his positivity and faith, he managed to not only survive horrific conditions but also save the lives of his colleagues. Find out more.
Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.