Hiking To Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s Holy Mountain
An iconic Irish mountain. Astonishing views. A half day round-trip hike. There were no reason not to add hiking Croagh Patrick to our Irish itinerary.
Being 764 meters high Croagh Patrick is one of the highest peaks in the Western part of Ireland. Named after Ireland’s patron saint, it’s said to be the holiest mountain in the country, and it’s an important site of pilgrimage even today. Actually, it was a religious site already in the pagan times, starting from the Stone Age. People gathered here to celebrate the beginning of harvest season.
The trail that leads to the summit is a scenic one, overlooking Clew Bay and the countryside. And that peak is the only one we conquered in Ireland and could actually enjoy the panorama – for about 5 minutes before everything disappeared in the fog. (In case you are wondering, yes, it means we didn’t even get 5 minutes of clear weather when hiking to other peaks in Ireland. We stopped trying after a while.)
How to access the trailhead
The trailhead for hiking Croagh Patrick is very easy to notice. There’s a large paid parking lot south of Westport along route R335 – that is the one. We found there toilets and trail maps, too, which are both important before setting foot on a trail. (Especially toilets, as I was 5 months pregnant that time…:D ) And then it was quite obvious where to start. Croagh Patrick towered above us, but it didn’t seem to be that steep from the distance as it turned out to be.
A challenging and scenic trail
So the ascent is steep, especially the last section before the summit. In exchange, the trail is very scenic from the first step. Croagh Patrick is a bare, rocky mountain. Despite being only 700 meter high, not a single tree can be seen. It looks like a real mountain.
Unlike most of our hikes in Ireland, this one was quite busy. We saw groups and families hiking together, occasionally they stopped for a picnic since the weather was so nice. Uhm… the wind was crazy, but it was not raining at the moment, that’s what it means having such a nice weather in Ireland. Anyway, we have no reason to complain, because we were able to get the wonderful view at the summit before the fog descended:
Then we hiked back to the parking lot on the same route.
Do you have a favorite mountain peak in Ireland?