Thousands make Croagh Patrick pilgrimage

Some 20,000 pilgrims ascend Ireland’s ‘holiest’ mountain in annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage

Daniel O’Connell, Banaher, Co. Offally takes a break on his way down the mountain during his pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick. Photograph: Michael McLaughlin

Daniel O’Connell, Banaher, Co. Offally takes a break on his way down the mountain during his pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick. Photograph: Michael McLaughlin


Three pilgrims have been taken to hospital suffering from injuries and suspected heart attacks sustained on the annual pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick.

Two men were ferried by the Air Corps to Mayo General Hospital after suffering suspected heart attacks and a woman in her 50s sustained a serious head injury near the summit at about 7am.

Pride rather than greed may have been the underlying problem in Ireland’s economic woes, the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary told an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 pilgrims today at Mass on the summit of Croagh Patrick.

The pride involved, the Archbishop explained, was the pride that refuses to acknowledge that a human being’s lack of control over the environment, “my illusion that I can shape the world as I wish”.

Dr Neary, who was joined on the national pilgrimage to the ‘Holy Mountain’, by the Papal Nuncio, Dr Charles Brown and the Bishop of Achonry, Dr Brendan Kelly, continued: “The freedom of the few was purchased at the expense of the enslavement of many to poverty and deprivation.

“Our lives ought to reflect truth. Real change can come only through freeing ourselves from the illusions which enslave us.

“Therefore the importance of empathy, of developing a kind of intelligence that will reflect on who we are will help to control and limit a purely technical approach. Faith can be a great help in developing this type of thinking.

The spirit of The Gathering is evident in this year’s ceremonies with the traditional last Sunday in July national pilgrimage extended to a week long celebration.

Mass will be celebrated on the mountaintop oratory each day during the week.

Anybody who register to climb the mountain on pilgrimage from tomorrow to Saturday will be able to avail of a specially commissioned certificate of completion, which is co-signed by the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Michael Neary, and the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, John O’Malley.

Conditions are dry on the slopes this evening, according to Mark McNamara, spokesman for Mayo Mountain Rescue, with possible thundery showers expected later.

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