Croagh Patrick (by the Pilgrims path)
The most frequently traveled path to the summit of Croagh Patrick mountain is commonly referred to as the Pilgrims path. Every year thousands of hill walkers and pilgrims make their way along this path to the summit of the mountain where Saint Patrick is said to have spend 40 days and 40 nights in prayer. On Reek Sunday (last Sunday in July) each year between 15000 and 20,000 climb the mountain in honor of Irelands Patron Saint.
Located 5 miles from Westport on the road to Louisburgh, Croagh Patrick at 2510ft is a very demanding and rewarding climb for both pilgrims and hill walkers. The walk begins at a public parking lot in Murrisk village. The path to the summit is along a very well beaten rough stony track which is visible for miles around the mountain. Great care is needed along parts of the ascent and descent particularly near the top where the gradient is very steep and where there is lot of loose stones and gravel.
I have climbed Croagh Patrick dozens of times (often twice in one day) and though my motivation is mainly for the joy of hill walking and taking photos I admire the people who climb it often barefoot and sometimes even backwards and barefoot for their religious beliefs.
On a clear day the views from the top are magnificent particularly of Clare Island and Clew Bay with its beautiful drumlins (365 in total). The church at the summit was constructed in 1905