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Croagh Patrick, rising 765m above sea level is a pyramidal structure which looks out across Clew Bay. Tradition has it that St. Patrick, whist fasting on the summit for 40 days, banished the snakes from Ireland, (and to this day no snakes have been spotted here.)

Pilgrimages have been making it to the summit for over 1500 years and today it is estimated that 25,000 people make the ascent on 'Reek Sunday ' (the last Sunday in July) to hear mass.

St. Patrick started his missionary work in Ireland in 432 but did not reach Croagh Patrick until 441. It is believed that he spent the night in Aughagower 'The Plain of Springs', 8 miles east of the Reek before making the ascent. To this day you can find 'Leaba Phadraig', 'Patrick's bed' and the holy well, 'Dabhach Phadraig' close to the medieval church and the round tower.

There is an ancient pilgrim path through the Tochar Valley which starts at Ballintubber Abbey. The abbey is unique in that it has been used continuously since its construction almost 800 years ago by Cathal O'Connor, King of Connaught near to the site of the original church built by St. Patrick. The route takes you through Aughagower to Leacht Benain a station on Croagh Patrick. There are guided walks along Tóchar Phadraig which is 32km long and takes about 12 hours to complete.

John & Bernadette Walsh
Westport Road
County Mayo

Tel: + 353 (0) 94 902 7254