Croagh Patrick

by Julie on August 27, 2010 · 6 comments

Well, we did it. We climbed to the top of Croagh Patrick. It’s quite a feat, let me tell you. I’ve climbed many mountains, but this one is truly a pilgrimage. It is so steep for the last third of the climb, that at one point I was climbing with hands and feet.

And, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience to make this ascent surrounded by so many devotees of Saint Patrick.

As is the tradition, some young men were even climbing in bare feet. I’ve included pictures, below, so you can get a sense of just what it might be like to climb this mountain without shoes.

Not only was the scenery simple stunning, the climb itself was hard, as the trail has so much loose rock and the slope is so steep.

We started out with sunshine, but soon the top of the mountain was covered by clouds. From the base to the top, there’s a 2,500 ft. elevation change.

As I wrote in my last post, in pre-Christian times, this mountain was considered to be the mountain of the Great Mother. So as I hiked, I payed homage to both the Mother and to St. Patrick.

I’d love to know:

Have you ever climbed this mountain, or have gone on a pilgrimage to something you hold dear?

Tomorrow’s post: Queen Maeve’s tomb…

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

wholly jeanne August 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm

darlin, this sounds absolutely delightful. difficult but delightful. i can sure see why it is called the mountain of the great mother.

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Julie September 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Yes. Difficult. Delightful. Quite the pilgrimage. And as a wise woman once said, an analogy for other things being undertaken…

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Jennifer Prentice August 31, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Julie! These pics are absolutely amazing! I think you’re back from Ireland now (been following your tweets) and I hope you had a safe trip home. Look forward to reading more about the trip and more of your beautiful words.

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Julie September 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I am glad you enjoyed them. I am back and ready to begin writing… Thank you, dear, for your comments. They inspire me to keep writing.

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Lean Ni Chuilleanain September 3, 2010 at 2:27 am

Stunning pictures! I climbed Croagh Patrick as a teenager, maybe around 1991? (I was a tourist, not a devotee.) I vividly remember the last section of the climb – hands and feet, indeed :-) And the immense achievement of reaching the top.

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Julie September 5, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Thank you, Lean. And, thank you for your help in planning my trip. Your suggestions turned out to be some of the best moments for me.
The climb of Croagh Patrick is really something, isn’t it! Such a feeling of immense achievement…a great way to put it. I look forward to knowing you better.
Blessings.

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