Croagh Patrick pilgrimage extended throughout July due to pandemic

Reek Sunday event is usually marked on last Sunday in July, but this year will be different

The annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will take place on four days of every week in July, between Wednesdays and Saturdays. Normally it is on the last Sunday in July every year, which is known as Reek Sunday.

Masses at the summit will be at noon each day, except for Saturdays when they will be at 10am, with numbers partaking limited to 100, as currently allowed for outdoor gatherings under pandemic restrictions.

Fr Charlie McDonnell, administrator at Westport parish, said that "this year, due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, it would be impossible to facilitate the pilgrimage on one day only, so I am arranging to greatly extend provision of the sacraments for pilgrims throughout the month of July".

He said that “while all of the spiritual benefits of the Croagh Patrick pilgrimage have been available to pilgrims from June to September, up to now the sacraments have only been available on Reek Sunday”. This year Mass and confessions would be available on each of the four days weekly.


He hoped “that this unprecedented and adventurous undertaking will provide all those who wish to come to Ireland’s holy mountain as pilgrims [with the ability] to do so safely and in their own time”.

Catholic Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary will celebrate Mass at 6.30pm in St Mary's Church in Westport on July 24th, the eve of Reek Sunday itself.

Fr McDonnell said: “The extended plan this year will involve three times the number of priests than would normally be needed, so help is very much required throughout July. It is important that all priests who wish to participate in the pilgrimage book in as early as possible and they can do so on”

Pilgrims are asked to remember that all Covid-19 guidelines and precautions followed on the ground must also be followed on Croagh Patrick.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times