I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Friday, 15 July 2011

Croagh Patrick (1)

Croagh Patrick ('Cruach Phádraig' in Irish, meaning 'St Patrick's Stack', also known as 'The Reek') is Ireland's most sacred mountain. It's 2,507 ft high, and lies 5 miles from Westport in County Mayo. I was lucky enough to enjoy blue skies and calm weather on my pilgrimage to the summit. Pilgrimage? This sounds like a rather long and arduous affair. In fact it took me only 1 hour and 20 minutes to gain the top, and exactly the same length of time to get down. Should pilgrimage be defined solely in terms of vast distances and prodigious feats of endurance? No, of course not ...




... though some pilgrims do choose to ascend barefoot, and sometimes even on their knees ...




Some coach party pilgrims - and others who are old, infirm or have deadlines to meet - may simply reach this statue of St Patrick, close to the foot of the mountain, and go no further. And that's fine.




But, full of energy and high on expectation, I continued quickly up the rocky stream bed ...




Above you could clearly make out the eroded path up to the saddle ...




And what a stunning and expansive view of Clew Bay spread out from behind ...


11 comments:

Ruth said...

What vistas, Robert! The blue, green, blue-green, the rocky stream bed, I would love to feel my heart soar there.

ksam said...

ohhh! Absolutely beautiful. Great...gotta start squirreling away for this one too. Think I'll just line up piggy banks on a shelf.

pilgrimpace said...

Thanks for this Robert. How did it feel as a pilgrimage? Were there people following the devotional practices laid out on the sign? It's beautiful to see your photos and to think about this - and you are definitely right that it's not the distance that counts.

Andy

George said...

Magnificent! While I've been to Ireland several times, I haven't made this lovely little pilgrimage, but will surely put it on my bucket list.

Dan Gurney said...

Very nice. How lucky to have a blue sky. I did not make it to Croagh Patrick, but did take several wonderful walks along the Atlantic. I look forward to the next installment.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Flying over Ireland some years ago I got this fantastic image of why it is so rightly called The Emerald Isle.

am said...

Especially like your photo of the "eroded path up to the saddle."

Wondering if any of my ancestors walked there. It looks so familiar. I can feel myself walking there right now.

Dominic Rivron said...

Interesting views -I've often wondered what it was like there.

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

I was waiting to read this to see what kind of weather you had. It was nasty coming down when I climbed it- got saturated and was even blown over at one point. I understood all about the Irish penitential sacrifice the day I walked. Mountain was covered in mist after about a third of the way up, so no views from then on. An amazing experience!

The Solitary Walker said...

Thnaks for all your most welcome comments.

Andy (pilgrimpace) - I climbed late in the day, and people were up there for a walk generally - no obviously ascetic measures! (Some hill runners, though - the only people up the mountain later than me.) Didn't see anyone circling the stations and doing the Hail Marys etc. - though there will be be many doing this soon on 'Reek Sunday', I imagine.

It's not the distance, is it? That's right. Though a certain amount of hardship must be involved, I think!

Andressa said...

Ireland :)