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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.                                             

  • 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.

  • A planning application has been made to Mayo County Council for approval to carry out restoration works and a sustainable access at Croagh Patrick.

    The project, which is expected to take many years to complete, will address the issue of erosion on the mountain due to its regular use by pilgrims and climbers using the mountain for sporting and charity events.

    The Croagh Patrick Stakeholders group has lodged the submission.

    Martin Keating of Mayo county council is the chairman of the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders group and he says he’s delighted that this important milestone has now been reached.

    He is encouraging the general public to take time to examine the works proposed on the mountain. The plan has been developed in partnership with the stakeholders and the best upland path expertise available.

    The plans are available for inspection during normal office hours at Westport CiviC Offices, Aras an Chontae Castlebar, and Murrisk Development Association premises from today (Tues),  until Aug 20th.

  • Planning is the next stage in the ambitious plan to repair the paths on Mayo’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick.

    The mountain, over centuries has become more difficult to climb, particularly close to the top, and to protect it and those who climb it, it was decided by the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group some years ago, to look at ways that it may be better preserved.

    The trial path works on the upper cone of the mountain are now completed and it opens the way for the entire project to proceed.

    The evaluation process tested the feasibility of a pathway made from materials on the mountainside, and was led by Scottish expert Matt McConway of Upland Access Ltd.   
    Its objective 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’ while adhering to Mountaineering Ireland’s ‘Guiding Principles for Upland Path Work.

    According to the report – “The trial works included an assessment of ‘the quality of path work construction technique; landscape impact and environmental impact’, as well as examining the value of progressing the implementation of the project with strong emphasis on training and voluntary inputs’. 
    The result of the evaluation process is that the Croagh Patrick Stakeholder Group is now confident to proceed with the proposed path solution and with a maintenance and management regime.

    Midwest News has been speaking to two of the many people, members of the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group - the chairman, Mayo County Council’s Martin Keating and Fr Charlie McDonnell of Westport.

    They have been explaining what’s planned and how work will proceed from here.

  • A protest is taking place at Croagh Patrick today as the Reek Sunday pilgrimage takes place.

    Members of the local community in Murrisk are protesting in relation to the situation regarding drinking water in the area.

    There are signs erected on Croagh Patrick advising pilgrims not to drink the water as there have been concerns over the quality for a substantial period of time.

    On Friday Minister Michael Ring organised a meeting between Irish Water, Mayo County Council and representatives from Louisburgh and Murrisk.

    At that meeting Irish Water confirmed a commitment to bring a water supply to both areas.

     

    Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has received a commitment from Irish Water that the utility will provide a water supply to Louisburgh and Murrisk.

    Minister Ring received that commitment from Irish Water at a meeting this week, where Irish Water, Mayo County Council and representatives from Murrsk and Louisburgh were in attendance.

    He says that he would like to see the Lough Mask to Westport scheme extended out to serve both areas but the final details of how the water will be brought out will have to be ironed out.

    He says Murrisk will also have to set up a new group water scheme, while one is in place in Louisburgh.

  • A public meeting will be held in Lecanvey next Monday evening, amid threats from local landowners in Murrisk to close access to the commonage at Croagh Patrick this Summer, in a protest over water quality.

    Thousands of pilgrims climb the Reek each year – including over 20,000 on Reek Sunday at the end of July.

    It’s now emerged that a young child from Murrisk was recently admitted to Mayo University Hospital where she was diagnosed with e-coli and cryptosporidium.

    The incident has served to highlight the seriousness of the water problem in the area, according to Chris Grady, Chairman of Murrisk Development Association.

    Mr Grady has confirmed that “people with commonage rights have suggested blocking the pathway” to highlight the fact that the area is relying on water coming from streams on the mountain.

    Mayo County Council has erected signs in the carpark at the base of Croagh Patrick advising that the water is not fit for human consumption.

    Westport-based Independent Councillor Christy Hyland has highlighted the issue at a number of council meetings, and says it’s a disgrace that the water is unfit for purpose at a national pilgrimage site.

    A public meeting will be held at 8pm next Monday night to discuss the issue and decide on what action to take.

    Mayo County Council wants the Murrisk community to set up its own group water scheme, while the local community wants the public water system to be extended from Westport.

  • The public toilets at the carpark in Murrisk , at the base of Croagh Patrick are a disgrace, according to local Independent councillor Christy Hyland.

    The councillor raised his concerns over the facility at the monthly meeting of West Mayo Municipal District.

    He called on the council to update the facilities, describing the present building as something like you would see in a prison back in the 1960s.

    In addition councillor Hyland called for a counter system, similar to that operated by Mayo county council on Croagh Patrick, be installed at the Famine Monument across the road from the Murrisk carpark, in an attempt to quantify the number of visitors to the site.

    Councillor Hyland told Midwest News today that  the present public toilet facility at Croagh Patrick is not acceptable considering up to 120,000 people climb the holy mountain annually.

  • Today is Reek Sunday in County Mayo, with up to 10,000 people expected to climb Croagh Patrick.

    Pilgrims began the three-mile trip over a 750-metre climb at first light  this morning and will continue right throughout the day.

    Hourly masses will be held at the summit, and confessions will be heard up to 2 o'clock this afternoon.

    The Order of Malta Ambulance Corps are urging pilgrims to climb sensibly this Reek Sunday.

  • As concerns grow about the condition of Croagh Patrick, trial pathwork has now commenced on the summit of the mountain.

    The work is being undertaken by Matt McConway, an experienced upland path contractor from Scotland, and involves path construction over a 20 metre distance along the traditional Summit path.

    The trial path work will place over the next two weeks, and will then be evaluated by the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group, which was formed three years ago as a community response to concerns over the condition of the Reek.

  • Tuesday last was one of the busiest days in the history of the Mayo Mountain Rescue Team - with the exception of Reek Sundays.

    The team dealt with three separate call-outs to incidents on Croagh Patrick, between 11am and 7pm.

     

    With the exception of Reek Sundays - which take place on the last Sunday of July each year - Tuesday of this week was one of the busiest days ever for the Mayo Mountain Rescue team.

    It starts shortly before 11.30am when the mountain rescue team was alerted by Gardai and the Irish Coast Guard to come to the assistance of a man who had sustained a lower leg injury on Croagh Patrick.

    A first-response party attended to the casualty who was subsequently airlifted to Mayo University Hospital by the Coastguard for further treatment.

    While he was being airlifted by Rescue 118, the Mayo Mountain Rescue team was again tasked at about 2.40pm, again near the shoulder of Croagh Patrick.

    The first reponse team and stretcher team who were already on the mountain went to assist a second casualty who had also sustained a lower leg injury.

    He was treated and then stretchered down the Reek to the Murrisk side.

    A walker who was with a group on Croagh Patrick then advised of a 3rd casualty who required assistance, after being injured in a fall near the summit.

    He had managed to descend with the help of his group, but was suffering from exhaustion.

    A first-response team  treated him for his injury before assisting the casualty to walk down off the mountain.

    The Mountain Rescue Team were finally stood down at about 7pm Tuesday evening after a busy day - and it followed a busy weekend, with two callouts last Saturday - one of which included a complex rescue on steep ground.

    The voluntary organisation provides emergency cover 24 hours per day, 7 days a week on Mayo's hills and mountains.

    Up to 80% of call-outs annually are to Croagh Patrick.