Croagh Patrick is the holy mountain in Ireland where St. Patrick supposedly fasted before preaching Christianity. It is called the Reek, and it is a formidable piece of rock. Pilgrims and hikers come from all over the world to climb the Reek. The height is 2500 feet, and there is a functioning chapel at the top. Many pilgrims walk barefoot as penitents.
This is not a grassy hill with a steep side, this is a crumbled rock path (sometimes). My sister wanted to give it a go, so we set up a drop off/pick up schedule and made sure she had snacks and water for the climb. She completed about a third of it, because of wind, rain and time, she came down, but was happy with her effort. I was impressed anyone would attempt. My sister claims that the pilgrims all check on each other and give encouragement along the way. We saw many Irish families climbing the mountain together, and was told it was very traditional to do so. My sister overheard one family whose little girl said with a wee brogue, ” we are NOT climbing that whole thing!” Her mother’s response: “keep walking”…
Once we located the pilgrim, we went across the road to see the National Famine Memorial, in remembrance of “an gorta mor” the great hunger.
Set above the bay in a beautiful meadow, the bronze “coffin ship” reminds us how much was lost in leaving and how much was almost certain to be lost if one stayed in Ireland in those dire times.