The cone-shaped Croagh Patrick, a sacred site in Irish lore, rises 750 metres (2,500 feet) into the sky above County Mayo. One of the highest peaks in the Western part of Ireland, the mountain's slopes offer a magnificent view of Clew Bay and beyond.
Croagh Patrick’s history as a place of worship reaches back in time as far as 3,000 BC. The mountain’s popularity among religious pilgrims dates to the time of St. Patrick, who is said to have completed a forty-day Lenten ritual of fasting and penance here. Legend also has it that Croagh Patrick is the mount from which he banished snakes from Ireland forever!
Each year, on the last Sunday in July, thousands of devotees from all around the world visit the mountain for what is known as “Reek Sunday”, a day of worship in honour of Ireland’s patron saint. Some people even climb the mountainside barefoot, as an act of penance. Outdoor masses are held throughout the day, along with confessions at St. Patrick’s Chapel. This is one place in rural Ireland where you can meet and speak with people from around the globe.
At the foot of the mountain, you’ll find Teach na Maisa, The Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre. It is located on the pilgrim’s path near the National Famine Monument. The Walsh family, who have made it their goal to take care of the physical needs of the pilgrimage site’s visitors, operates the facility.
Teach na Miasa means “house of the dishes”. Its name arises from a folk legend of monks who reportedly washed their eating utensils in a nearby stream. The visitor’s centre offers a family restaurant serving delicious hot meals, shower and locker facilities, and an extensive craft shop that offers a variety of handmade articles and souvenirs.
Croagh Patrick is located just outside Westport, 92 kilometres from Galway City. The main pilgrimage route originates in the village of Murrisk, 8km outside Westport, which has rail and bus links with both Galway and Dublin.