View from the Reek, or Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s Holy Mountain.
The glorious Croagh Patrick, known locally as simply ‘The Reek’, is situated just 5 miles west of Westport in Co. Mayo. This pointed peak has been a location of pilgrimage for many centuries. In recent times, the sacred mountain of Croagh Patrick has been attributed to Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. In a much earlier time than this, the mountain we call Croagh Patrick was originally known as Mons Egli, Croachan Aigli or Cruachan Aigli and is known to have been a highly revered place for the ancient polytheistic people of the country, who made the ascent in the name of the sun god, Crom Cruach. Since the time of St Patrick when we supposedly made a pilgrimage to the summit to fast and pray, thousands of pilgrims has climbed Croagh Patrick each year. The most important day for these pilgrimages is Reek Sunday, the final Sunday of July.
The Boheh Stone, an example of Mesolithic “rock art” can be found 6km east of the Reek. Historian Gerry Bracken determined that on April 18 and August 24, when viewed from the Boheh Stone, the setting sun appears to ‘roll down’ the western side of the mountain – likely considered to signal the beginning and end of the growing season. Such alignments between the landscape, megalithic monuments and the sun can be found all over Ireland, as the ancient Celtic peoples revered the sun.
Hike Croagh Patrick as a part of our trip, Hiking Connemara & Mayo.