Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pilgrims gear up for Croagh Patrick climb

A third of all mountain rescue volunteers from across Ireland will be on duty for the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage climb on Sunday, it was confirmed today.

The Irish Mountain Rescue Association (IMRA) which has members in Ireland north and south revealed its plans with up to 30,000 pilgrims expected to scale the 2500 ft Co Mayo peak.

The pilgrims will include Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, commemorating how in 441 St Patrick is said to have spent 40 days and nights fasting on the summit.

The IMRA issued a safety warning ahead of the annual pilgrimage, while the Catholic Church released its plans.

"This pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1,500 years," a Church spokesperson said. "Croagh Patrick has over 100,000 visitors annually with up to 30,000 people expected this weekend."

Pilgrims are urged to bring suitable warm clothing, good footwear, a stick and water and to be mindful of the safety of themselves and others. Mountain Rescuers are also urging caution during the Croagh Patrick climb.

"Mountains present challenges for the prepared and the experienced," an IMRA spokesman said. "The unprepared or inexperienced should not allow their ambition to exceed their ability.

"Conditions can rapidly worsen. A simple slip can render a hill walker immobile."

"If an hour or two from the nearest road a twisted ankle could lead to hypothermia and death. Mountains are very serious places," he said.

The Catholic Church has said Mass will be celebrated for pilgrims every half hour from 8am until 2pm, with an Irish Mass planned for 10am.

Further information on Croagh Patrick can be viewed on the website of the Archdiocese of Tuam


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And in climbing the mountain pilgrims will be continuing the ancient Celtic Pagan tradition of paying homage to features of Mother Earth. For most of its history as a place of worship the mountain has been a pagan site.

This was where the ancient Irish trbes paid homage to Crom Dubh and Lugh.

Just goes to show when you scratch the skin of kristianity you find a pagan body underneath.

Finn McCool

and get the hell off my island..