National Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick

20 Jul 2010


Archbishop Michael Neary led the 2010 National Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick involving about 20,000 people. Feature includes event details and background information in text, audio and video formats.

Many people today have lost faith in the Church, in political promises, in the stable institutions of the past and we are not sure where our solid ground lies. We need the reassurance of faith in these days of confusion and doubt. In the storm and stress of current controversies, and with the struggles of the Church to adjust, we come again to this sacred mountain to get things in their proper perspective and seek the guidance of God.

– Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam

Archbishop Neary’s Mass schedule

  • Saturday 24 July at 6.30pm – Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at St Mary’s Church, Westport, Co Mayo
  • Reek Sunday 25 July at 10.30am – Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at the summit of Croagh Patrick

Archbishop Neary’s homily for Reek Sunday 2010

The full text of Archbishop Neary’s homily is available here …(embargoed until 10.30am Sunday 25 July)

Interviews with Archbishop Neary

audio_icon2008 interview with Archbishop Neary by Religious News Network on the spiritual significance of Croagh Patrick Listen to audio file …


Archbishop Neary celebrates Mass on the summit of Croagh Patrick with Clew bay in the background

audio_iconA further interview with Archbishop Neary on Vatican Radio on 25 July 2010 is available here …

Practical information for pilgrims

Mass will be celebrated at the summit at 8am and every half-hour thereafter until the last Mass at 2pm. The 10am Mass will be celebrated in Irish, and Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 10.30 am. Pilgrims may avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the summit from 7.30am to 2.30pm.

All those who intend to climb are asked to come prepared for the current cool weather conditions, to bring suitable warm/waterproof clothing, good footwear, a walking stick/staff and water, and to be mindful of the safety of themselves and other pilgrims.

History of Reek Sunday

Croagh Patrick, (c.2,510ft/765m) Ireland’s holy mountain, dominates the landscape of southwest Mayo both spiritually and physically. The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage is associated with St Patrick who, in 441, spent 40 days and nights fasting on the summit, following the example of Christ and Moses. The name ‘Reek Sunday’ comes from Patrick’s ability to Christianise many pagan customs including the festival of Lughnasa, which previously had heralded the start of the harvest festival honouring the ancient pagan god Lugh, whose name is encompassed in the Irish word for August: Lughnasa. This festival’s tradition became absorbed into the new Christian beliefs and locally become known as Domhnach na Cruaiche (Reek Sunday).

first televised mass from summit

RTÉ films pilgrims attending Mass on the summit of Croagh Patrick in July 2008

This pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1500 years. Croagh Patrick has over 100,000 visitors annually with up 20,000 people expected this weekend. In 2008 an estimated 20,000 pilgrims climbed the holy mountain and, for the first time in the history of the Reek, Mass was televised live from the summit and broadcast on RTÉ television and on the world-wide web (see below footage). This special broadcast was produced by the late Fr Michael Melvin SVD of Kairos Communications.

For Reek Sunday 2006, Archbishop Neary and other pilgrims were accompanied by Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. As successor to St Patrick, Cardinal Brady was the first Archbishop of Armagh to climb the Holy Mountain since St Patrick. In 2005, Archbishop Neary unveiled a plaque to mark the centenary of St Patrick’s Oratory on the summit.

Further information on Croagh Patrick, and a virtual tour of the mountain, can be viewed on the website of the Archdiocese of Tuam

See also for additional information.

First televised Reek Sunday Mass on Croagh Patrick

News footage from the first televised Reek Sunday Mass on Croagh Patrick, broadcast from the summit on 25 July 2008 (courtesy RTÉ News archive):


Visit the RTÉ website to view the full broadcast of this historic Mass from the summit …

Image gallery

Gallery of images from the National Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick in recent years…