Photo from the climb.
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This is really a photo blog but I'll also give you a little info on Croagh Patrick.
Rising to 2510 feet (765 meters) near the town of Westport in County Mayo, the quartzite peak of Croach Patrick was a pagan sacred place long before the arrival of Christianity. For the Celtic peoples of Ireland it was the dwelling place of the deity Crom Dubh and the principal site of the harvest festival of Lughnasa, traditionally held around August 1 (until the mid-nineteenth century only women were allowed on the summit during this pilgrimage and childless women would sleep on the summit during Lughnasa eve in the hope of encouraging fertility). According to popular Christian stories, St. Patrick visited the sacred mountain during the festival time in AD 441 and spent forty days and forty nights banishing dragons, snakes, and demonic forces from the site.
It was common for early Christians to view pagan religious practices as devil worship; thus the legend of Patrick slaying dragons and demonic forces on the sacred mountain is actually a metaphor for his subjugation and conversion of the pagan priests. In support of the pre-Christian sanctity of the mountain it is important to note that Neolithic foundations have been found on the summit and, on a natural rock outcrop (known as ‘St. Patrick’s Chair) along the pilgrimage route to the summit, Neolithic art has been discovered. By the seventh century the holy mountain had become one of the two most important Christian pilgrimage sites in all Ireland (the other being Station Island, also called St.
Currently it is estimated that nearly one million pilgrims climb to the summit each year, as many as thirty thousand on the last Sunday in July. In the Irish Christian tradition the ascent is undertaken as an act of penance for wrongdoing, and many of the pilgrims climb barefooted or even on their knees. The ancient worship at Mt. Croach Patrick, however, had nothing to do with matters of penance and supposed wrongdoing. The holy mountain was a sanctuary for the giving of thanks and the celebration of life's abundance.
(Thanks to scaredsites.com for the above info)
I went on the pilgrimage last year as I have done for many years. It's a bit of a family tradition since I was a child. Enjoy the pics.