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Info: Visitor Centre, Louisburgh Road, Westport, Mayo, Republic of Ireland
Found in County Mayo, Croagh Patrick is an important site of pilgrimage where St Patrick is believed to have fasted for 40 days in 441. The 765m-high mountain is just 8km from Westport and affords stunning views of Clew Bay.
Croagh Patrick, which overlooks Clew Bay in County Mayo, is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. Its religious significance dates back to the time of the pagans, when people are thought to have gathered here to celebrate the beginning of harvest season. The mountain now takes the name of Ireland’s patron saint, who, according to Christian tradition, fasted at the peak of the mountain for 40 days in 441.
Each year, The Reek, as it is colloquially known, attracts about 1 million pilgrims, many of whom spend the last Sunday in July climbing to the summit in honour of St Patrick. At the top, there is a modern chapel where mass is celebrated and confessions are heard. Participants also have the opportunity to take in panoramic views of Clew Bay and the surrounding area.