Looking for mountains to hike in Ireland? Why not try Croagh Patrick. It’s a sacred mountain to hike near the town of Westport in County Mayo, Ireland doesn’t look like a difficult peak to climb from a distance. Even when you start up, it looks like it’ll be a snap. But appearances can be deceiving.
Croagh Patrick draws believers and adventurous hikers.
I belong in the adventurous hiker crowd. The believers are another lot altogether. They believe that if you walk to the top, preferably without the earthly encumbrances of socks and shoes, that sentences in purgatory will be reduced. This is done en masse on Reek Sunday, the last Sunday in July. Some years have seen upwards of 15,000 pilgrims. When I was there a few years ago on a raw May day I saw one fellow attempting it barefoot. No thanks.
Croagh Patrick is only 2,507 feet tall. The path is wide and the grade is reasonable for the first part of the walk. Then it steepens considerably and becomes a rock strewn path with uneven footing. At the summit a chapel has been erected. It is on the summit that Patrick is purported to have spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting and in prayer back in 441 AD.
Croagh Patrick is not a difficult mountain to climb. Kids and old people do it all the time.
But we had wind on Croagh Patrick.
My husband and I were batted about like clothing hung out to dry in a gale once we were out of the shelter of the knoll. I hate giving up on a climb but when you’re doubled over head into the wind, with the temperature dropping, and the prospect of several hours of hiking like this, there isn’t much enjoyment to the exercise.
We turned around and headed to the cafe we’d spied at the bottom. Disappointed but sometimes turning back is the smart thing to do. You might want to pop across the street at the end of your hike and visit the National Famine Monument – erected as a symbol to remember all the people who died trying to escape the potato famine back in 1845 – and a somber finish to the day.
Does Ireland’s Croagh Patrick sound like a mountain you’d like to hike?
Other blog posts from this trip you might enjoy:
- What’s the better hike? the Kerry Way or the Dingle Way?
- Connemara, Ireland – Well Worth a Visit
- Five Incredible Irish Islands