Croagh Patrick: Advice for Pilgrims
Pilgrimage is a fundamental part of our Christian heritage. Croagh Patrick is one of the most well known pilgrimage sites in the country and is used by thousands of pilgrims every year.
Please note that the Croagh Patrick path is on private working farmland and everybody that climbs the mountain does so thanks to the generosity of local landowners on the understanding that climbers and pilgrims do so totally at their own risks. There are no dogs allowed on the mountain under any condition. All pilgrims are asked to respect this and accede to any instructions given by the landowners should you encounter them on the mountain.
Over 120,000 people climb Croagh Patrick annually. Out of that figure there are about 50 call outs by Mayo Mountain Rescue and the Coastguard. Therefore the vast majority of people who climb the mountain ascend and descend safely. The condition of the mountain has been cited as a reason for injuries, and while the mountain is extremely challenging in places particularly at the cone, the condition and preparedness of climbers is a significant factor as is borne out by Mayo Mountain Rescue statistics.
Anybody who is contemplating the climb should be in a fit condition, used to exercise and prepared for a challenging climb.
People who are not fit, suffering from pre existing medical conditions, or who have any issues with limbs or joints should most seriously consider seeking medical advice before taking on the climb. Pilgrims and all users of the mountain do so totally at their own risk and should therefore take all reasonable steps to ensure that they are in a fit state to take on the mountain, therefore not exposed to any danger due to their own physical condition. Please remember that all members of Mayo Mountain Rescue are volunteers and have to take time away from family and work to attend call outs on the mountain.
Again over 99% of people who climb the mountain do so safely and without major incident. Please do all you can to ensure that you are in that 99%.
As well as being in a fit and sound state of health please make sure that you are properly prepared otherwise for a minimum three hour trek.
Before you climb the mountain you should be familiar with Mountaineering Ireland's Good Practice Guide. Please take time also to familiarise yourself with other advice offered by Mountaineering Ireland:
The advice of Mountain Rescue, the weather service and locals should always be considered before climbing. The climb itself takes at least three hours round trip and goes through some dangerous terrain underfoot, be prepared and aware of this and always know that you climb totally at your own risk. Always take all precautions necessary, including proper footwear, clothing, a stick, food and water.
Be aware that the climate on the summit is very different to that on the ground, so be prepared!!
Pilgrims are welcome to use the official prayer card as they climb. These cards are available locally in the Murrisk Community Café which is located in the Croagh Patrick Car Park and in Teach na Míosa which is on the route up.
The traditional stations of the Reek are posted on the signage in the Car Park as well as at the foot of the steps before the ascent. The three stations are marked clearly on the Ordnance Survey Map produced by the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders which is also available locally.
Please note that the third station Reilg Mhuire is located some distance down the west side of the mountain, and is not easily accessible unless one knows where they are going. It isn’t completed very often therefore.