Croagh Patrick

  • Thousands of pilgrims are expected to climb Croagh Patrick this Reek Sunday weekend.

    Accurate counting procedures undertaken by Mayo county council indicated that 5,000 people climbed Mayo’s holy mountain on Reek Sunday last year.

    Masses will be celebrated on the summit from 8am on Sunday morning next, on the hour,  until 2pm. While a Mass will take place at the base of the mountain at Murrisk on this Friday, Garland Friday, the day that many local people traditionally make the climb.

    Fr Charlie McDonnell is the Adminstrator in the parish of Westport , where Croagh Patrick is situated, he told Midwest News today   that it’s a busy week  - as final preparations are made for Reek Sunday.

    He is advising pilgrims not to take any risks, if they do not feel physically able to climb, they should not attempt to reach the summit. 

    He says the condition of the cone, close to the summit is deteriorating and while its hoped to reduce the problem over the next number of years, it is a very difficult climb at present that should not be underestimated.

  • 140 rescue volunteers are taking part in the biggest co-ordinated mountain challenge of the year.

    It's Reek Sunday - with barefoot pilgrims taking their place among an estimated 15,000 people who will climb Croagh Patrick in County Mayo today, as part of a Catholic tradition dating back 1,500 years.

    Keelan Moran from the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps says hundreds of volunteers are standing by to help pilgrims complete their challenge.

  • Mayo Mountain Rescue  say a total of 17 people were treated for a variety of injuries yesterday as 5,000 people climbed Croagh Patrick for Reek Sunday.

    Weather conditions were favourable for the annual pilgrimage, and helped in reducing the number of severe casualties.

    Cameron Clotworthy of Mayo Mountain Rescue told Midwest News this morning that the dry weather appears to have reduced the number of serious casualties on the holy mountain yesterday, compared to recent Reek Sundays.

  • The Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has approved €480,000 in funding to support sustainable access works and habitat restoration on Croagh Patrick.

    Minister Ring says “Croagh Patrick is an internationally famous mountain and place of pilgrimage. The Reek, as we know it, is especially dear to people in Mayo.

    However, with its increasing popularity, the mountain and its habitats are at risk of being damaged. This funding will create a stone path to enable walkers and pilgrims to use the mountain in a sustainable way.

    The proposed path will be around two metres wide with some variation in width to allow congregation of people without impacting on the surrounding vegetation. The objective is to manage the path in a way that is sympathetic to the setting whilst respecting the cultural value of the mountain.

    This funding will help provide sustainable access to Croagh Patrick, while providing a high-quality experience for all visitors whatever their inspiration or purpose.

     Locally sourced materials will be used throughout the repair and restoration of the path and damaged habitats and it may be necessary to move materials along the length of the route to ensure that there are no shortages of appropriate stone. Any imported stone will match that of the Croagh Patrick quartzite.

     All work will be finished by hand, with the use of excavators kept to a minimum as a means of reducing the potential for health and safety conflicts with continued public use of Croagh Patrick”.

     

  • Archbishop Michael Neary will lead the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage this Sunday.

    On Saturday evening, Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass in St Mary's Church, Westport at 6.30pm to mark the official start of this year's pilgrimage.

    On Reek Sunday, Mass will be celebrated on Croagh Patrick every hour from 8am to 2pm.

    Confessions will also be available on the summit from 7.30am to 2pm.

    Those making the climb this weekend are advised to come prepared - with wet gear, sun screen, appropriate footwear, water and snacks.

    Keelin Moran of the Westport Order of Malta says it's very important for people climbing the Reek this weekend, or any time of the year, to be prepared for the challenge.

     

  • Archbishop Michael Neary will lead the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage tomorrow (Sunday).

    Later this evening ( Sat), Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass in St Mary's Church, Westport at 6.30pm to mark the official start of this year's pilgrimage.

    On Reek Sunday, Mass will be celebrated on Croagh Patrick every hour from 8am to 2pm.

    The Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan will celebrate the 9am Mass, and Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 11am.

    Confessions will also be available on the summit from 7.30am to 2pm.

    Those making the climb this weekend are advised to come prepared - with wet gear, sun screen, appropriate footwear, water and snacks.

  • People have been urged to respect the decision to cancel this year's Reek Sunday pilgrimage by not travelling to Croagh Patrick today. 

    Pilgrims who can't climb the holy mountain today are being encouraged to show their faith in other ways.

    The annual climb usually attracts about 10,000 people but this year due to Covid 19 restrictions, large numbers can't be accommodated.

    At a service in Westport last night Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary said believers should still go to mass, confession and reflect on these challenging times.

  • Five years ago, Claire Scahill was struck down with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) and was confined to a wheelchair for over a year. During that time, as she struggled with the disorder, she dreamed of climbing Croagh Patrick . After a monumental effort to walk again, Claire decided that she would make good on that dream and so, on Saturday the 7th of July, she will attempt to climb the famous mountain with family and friends. Listen back to Claire's story, and donate if you can to the effort as she aims to raise awareness of FND and funds for FND Hope. You can donate here www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-scahill1

  • Mayo County Council has announced the closure of public car parks at all beaches in the county.

    This morning, Midwest News announced the closure of the carparks in Mulranny and Achill, but the council has now taken the decision to close access to public car parks at all of the county's beaches, as well as at Croagh Patrick and the Westport Skate Park, for the foreseeable future.

    The decision was made following consultations with Gardai.

    With the Easter weekend approaching, a spokesperson for Mayo County Council  said they've taken the decision to implement these closures to make it clear to people from outside the immediate 2km area that they should not visit public beaches at this time.

    The council is again urging everyone to follow the guidance of health professionals in relation to Covid-19 - which includes staying at home except for essential journeys, and exercising within 2km of your home.

     

     

  • Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group Members have decided to proceed with a mountain path on Croagh Patrick, to help to preserve the mountain into the future.

    It follows and evaluation process of the trial path work undertaken on Croagh Patrick in recent weeks. The work was done by Scottish mountain path specialist’s contractor Mr. Matt McConway of Upland Access Ltd over a period of two weeks. The trial section of stone pitching is two metres wide, consisting of irregular steps and platforms, using only stone and material from the mountain. Work took place in two locations, along the traditional summit path and at a lower level near the access gate to the mountain.   

    The objective of the trial path work was to establish if the proposed methodology for constructing the path would work using the small stone blocks found on the steep slope of the summit. The path work was evaluated against Helping the Hills (the Guiding Principles for Upland Path work produced by Mountaineering Ireland) and included the assessing the quality of path work construction technique; landscape impact and environmental impact. It also provided an insight into the value of progressing the implementation of the project with strong emphasis on training and voluntary inputs, building the capacity locally to repair and long-term care for the mountain.

    The result of the evaluation process is that The Stakeholder Group is confident to proceed with the proposed path solution together with a maintenance and management regime.

    The Stakeholder Group has acknowledged with gratitude the assistance of the Mountain Shareholders; Murrisk Development Association; GMIT Mayo Campus; South West Mayo Development staff and RSS workers; Mountaineering Ireland; Mayo Mountain Rescue and all other volunteers who assisted with the physical creation of the path work.

    The next steps for the project are to obtain planning approval through Part 8 procedure in partnership with Mayo County Council and then proceed to implementation.

    Midwest News will have a special feature on this latest development on our local news next week.

  • It will be the first week in June before any decision can be taken as to whether or not the annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick will go ahead on the last Sunday in July this year.

    That’s according to local administrator in Westport, Fr Charlie McDonnell.

    Fr Charlie says whatever decision is taken in June, it will take on fully the public health safety guidelines at the time.

    If it is to go ahead this year, it may have to be an all ticket event, but that all remains up in the air for now.

     

     

  • Weather conditions are described as good for the thousands of people making the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage.

    The Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary led the pilgrimage on the holy mountain this morning, and celebrated Mass on the summit.

    In his homily, Archbishop neary noted the slow, silent decline of faith in Ireland, and said pilgrimages provide an opportunity to take stock, and also a time to discover new heart.

    He said the call of Croagh Patrick is a call to holiness, to meaning, belonging and home.

    140 rescue volunteers are also taking part in the annual Reek pilgrimage this weekend, with volunteers from all 11 mountain rescue teams in Ireland assisted by the Calder Valley Mountain Rescue team from the UK.

    Four people have been treated for injuries so far today, with one man being airlifted to hospital with chest pains.

  • The Administrator of Westport, Fr McDonnell is reminding people climbing Croagh Patrick, that due to the pandemic, the toilets at the top of the mountain are not open to the public.

    The toilets have been closed throughout the pandemic, as it would simply not be possible for the Church, that owns the toilets, to keep them clean to the Covid 19 regulations required, he explained to Midwest News today.

    FrCharlie is appealing to climbers to plan their climb.

    The public toilets at the bottom of the mountain are open to the public.

    He is urging people to be aware of the impact of litter and waste on the mountain, and on the water supply of homes in the village of Murrisk.

    The Croagh Patrick stakeholders group is about to advertise for a path manager and work is due to get underway on enahancing the pathway on the mountain within the next number of weeks.

    Fr McDonnell says its up to everyone to ensure that they leave no trace on the Holy Mountain.

     

  • Up to 350 households in the Murrisk area are to benefit from an announcement this week by government that the Murrisk water supply scheme is to be included in the multi annual Rural Water Programme. That was confirmed this morning by the Minister for Rural and Community Developent, local deputy Michael Ring

    It means monies have now been granted by government to provide the area with an acceptable water supply. Mayo county council and Irish Water will be responsible for delivering the new water scheme.

    There has been a long running campaign in the area for a better public water supply in Murrisk, an area that attracts thousands of visitors each year to climb and visit Croagh Patrick.

    There are infamous signs at the base of Croagh Patrick that read the water is not fit for human consumption.

    Speaking to Midwest News this morning Minister Ring acknowledged that a new water supply for Murrisk has been long awaited, adding that he is delighted as a government Minister to see the new scheme delivered.

  • A man in his mid 70’s has died while climbing Croagh Patrick.

    Mayo Mountain Rescue came to the assistance of the man on the cone section of Croagh Patrick.

    Rescue 118 was also tasked to assist MMRT. Once the Coastguard helicopter’s paramedic was on scene, R118 positioned further team members and equipment to the location from the base at the back of the mountain.

    Mayo Mountain Rescue Team have extended their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased person.

    Earlier on Thursday Mayo Mountain Rescue assisted a woman who had sustained a lower leg and head injury on the descent from Croagh Patrick.

    MMRT tasked a first response and stretcher party to the location where they had made their own way down to, below the shoulder of the mountain, from the summit.

    The team stretchered the casualty down to the MMRT base at the back of the mountain to a waiting HSE ambulance. The casualty was transferred to Mayo University Hospital for further treatment.

  • Archbishop Michael Neary will celebrate Mass in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport, at 6.30pm this evening to mark the official beginning of this year’s pilgrimage.

    He will also celebrate Mass on the summit of Croagh Patrick at 11 o’clock in the morning on Reek Sunday.

    Mass will be celebrated every hour on the summit, beginning at 8 o’clock in the morning, with the final Mass starting at 2 o’clock.

    Celebrants will also include Father Stephen Farragher, who will celebrate Mass as Gaeilge at 10 in the morning and Bishop Fintan Monahan who will celebrate Mass at 12 noon.

    Pilgrims may also avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) at the summit from 7.30am to 2.00pm.                                             

  • Mayo Mountain Rescue Team were tasked by An Garda Siochana on Wednesday afternoon to assist a female casualty who had sustained a lower leg injury while descending Croagh Patrick.

    A first response party was tasked from the Murrisk side to the casualty who was midway down the Murrisk side of the track.

    While en route to this casualty another female casualty was treated by the team for minor injuries and was able to continue down the track themselves.

    The first response party stabilized the lower leg injury of the first casualty with a splint and the team stretchered the casualty down to a waiting HSE ambulance for onward transfer to Mayo University Hospital for further treatment.

  • The Mayo Mountain Rescue Team was called out yesterday evening to assist a man suffering from suspected chest pain on Croagh Patrick.

    The team responded to a call from Gardai at about 5.40 pm to assist the casualty on the upper cone section of the Reek.

    The first response team treated the man at the scene and he was stretchered off the mountain using additional rope equipment to the back of Croagh Patrick where an ambulance was waiting to take him to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar for further treatment.

    The Coastguard helicopter R118 also attended the scene, but had to return to base due to the weather conditions on the mountain.

    The Mayo Mountain Rescue Team was stood down at 10.40pm last night.

     

     

     

     

  • The Mayo Mountain Rescue Team were tasked by An Garda Síochána shortly after 4pm yesterday to assist Coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 with evacuation of a male casualty who had sustained a leg injury after falling on the descent from Croagh Patrick.

    A first response team were tasked to the location and a stretcher party to assist. MMRT assisted the R118 crew in transporting the casualty by stretcher to the helicopter for onward transport to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar.

    The team were stood down at 7.30pm.

    Following this callout, MMRT were tasked by An Garda Síochána at 8.30pm to assist two walkers who had become disorientated in Wild Nephin/Ballycroy National Park while walking one of the trails. The two walkers required assistance in getting back to their vehicle in failing light.

    A first response team were tasked to locate the two walkers who had managed to reach one of the huts in the forest and were able to give their location in grid reference from the notice board in the hut. The Fist Response team made their way to them and brought them back to their vehicle.

    The team were stood down at 11pm last night.

  • This weekend is the busiest of the year on Mayo's Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick, with the annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage attracting large numbers of pilgrims from across the country and overseas.

    Order of Malta is urging those planning to climb the Reek to take the necessary precautions, in terms of wearing good footwear such as hiking boots, and being suitably equipped for all weather conditions - bringing rain gear and warm clothes as well as sun protection - along with water and snacks.

    Over 100 Order of Malta volunteers will be on duty this Sunday, along with the Mayo Mountain Rescue team, to support pilgrims.