Ireland’s home to bucket loads of mountains, dotted right the way across the country, offering both amateur and seasoned climbers plenty of hiking options to choose from.
From the giants known as Carrauntoohil (Co. Kerry) and Lugnaquilla (Co. Wicklow) to more accessible climbs like the Sugar Loaf (Co. Wicklow), Ireland boasts peaks in every shape and size, just waiting to be conquered.
County Mayo’s Croagh Patrick is considered Ireland’s holiest mountain, with a traditional pilgrimage taking place each year, stretching back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day.
At it’s highest point, the mountain rises 750 metres (2,500 feet) into the sky above County Mayo, so it’s by no means an easy climb to the top (and it’s an even harder descent).
If you’re planning a trip, or if you’re curious about the views along the way, here’s 23 photos shot by real adventurers (here’s a handy guide on climbing Croagh Patrick to get you ready).
1 – Feast your eyes upon the beauty of Clew Bay
A photo posted by Jessica Bueti (@la_jeky) on
2 – Croagh Patrick is a whopping 2,507 foot high which means views for days!
Today my body hurts. Brian has a video of me slipping and falling on the mountainside… It was pretty much 2 hours of that on the way down. Guys that was way intense!! Anyone else climb Croagh Patrick? People were running past me! There were old dudes cheerfully waving hi as they passed!! I feel like I’m a physically fit, active person… But after I saw so many people rock that mountain I’m having second thoughts. #realitycheck #croaghpatrick
A photo posted by Meredith Stepien (@merediddys) on
3 – The pilgrimage to the mountain goes back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption
A photo posted by Katie Ganser (@kaagee33) on
4 – After a tough hike to the top, all you can do is kick-back and admire what lays before you
A photo posted by Harriet (@harrietlucy_1) on
5 – At the summit of Croagh Patrick, Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD
6 – The brilliantly blue waters of Clew Bay look like something plucked straight from the Caribbean
A photo posted by Paul Kelly (@paulk13) on
7 – Each year around 1 million pilgrims flock to the mountain
8 – The icing on the cake – a rainbow over the bay
9 – Every year, on the last Sunday in July, thousands of devotees from around the world travel to the mountain for what’s known as “Reek Sunday”
10 – Clew Bay contains the best example of sunken drumlins in Ireland.
11 – The sunken drumlins were formed by retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age
12 – According to legend, there’s an island in the bay for every day of the year
13 – It’s the third highest mountain in County Mayo after Mweelrea and Nephin
14 – There’s two stages involved in climbing Croagh Patrick
A photo posted by Bob Sawyer (@daddobob) on
15 – The first part of the climb takes you up a rocky foothill covered in heather and moss.
16 – The second stage is a steep challenging track that leads to the top
Welcome to Croagh Patrick in County #Mayo. Considered to be the most holy mountain in #Ireland, a tradition of pilgrimage to its peak stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. Taken by @merediddys #instaireland
A photo posted by instaireland (@instaireland) on
17 – Before Saint Patrick arrived, the mountain was known by its ancient name – Cruchán Aigli
18 – Way way up in the clouds
19 – Expect legs of jelly when you reach the top
20 – A steep slippery descent awaits thanks to lots of loose gravel
A photo posted by Nikkii 💕💋 (@nikkii_young) on
21 – The view from the top will be more than worth it, though
22 – Just a stones-throw from the cracking little town of Westport, there’s plenty to do pre and post climb
A photo posted by Louisa Antonelli (@antonellouisa) on