Archbishop Neary to lead the 2015 Reek Sunday national pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick

23 Jul 2015

  • Theme for this year’s pilgrimage addresses how faith offers us real hope in our lives
  • 20,000 pilgrims are expected to climb Ireland’s holy mountain on Reek Sunday

This Sunday, 26 July, Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, will lead the 2015 national Reek Sunday pilgrimage on Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.  The annual pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1,500 years, and the theme for this year’s Reek Sunday pilgrimage addresses how faith offers us real hope in our lives.  Croagh Patrick has over 100,000 visitors annually, with up to 20,000 making the pilgrimage each Reek Sunday in July.  Everyone is welcome.

On Sunday, on the summit, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) will be available from 7.30am until 2.00pm.  The first Mass will be celebrated at 8.00am and every half hour thereafter until the final Mass at 2.00pm.  The 10.00am Mass will be celebrated in the Irish language.  Photo opportunities for media are available at the following times:

  • Saturday 25 July at 7:30pm – Archbishop Neary will celebrate the Vigil Mass in Saint Patrick’s Church, Lecanvey, Co Mayo, which is ten kilometres from Westport, on the Louisburgh Road, near Croagh Patrick, adjacent to the village of Murrisk.
  • Reek Sunday 26 July at 7:00am – Archbishop Neary will begin the pilgrimage ascent from the car park at the mountain base in Murrisk.
  • Reek Sunday 26 July at 10.30am – Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at the summit of Croagh Patrick.


Notes to Editors

  • Croagh Patrick is a physically demanding pilgrimage.  Pilgrims who intend to make the climb are asked to follow the instructions of stewards.  While it is a custom for some to make the climb barefoot, pilgrims should come prepared for changeable weather conditions, and are advised to bring suitable warm/waterproof clothing, good footwear, walking stick/staff and water, and to be mindful of the safety of themselves and others.
  • History was made on Reek Sunday 2008 when Archbishop Neary’s celebration of Mass was broadcast from the summit by RTÉ television and on the World Wide Web.  On Reek Sunday 2005 Archbishop Neary unveiled a plaque to mark the centenary of Saint Patrick’s Oratory which is located on the summit of Croagh Patrick.
  • Croagh Patrick (2,510ft/765m), Ireland’s holy mountain, dominates the landscape of southwest Mayo both spiritually and physically.  The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage is associated with Saint Patrick who, in 441, spent forty 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).
  • Photographs of Croagh Patrick overlooking Clew Bay are available on a special feature on  A virtual tour of the mountain, can be viewed on the website of the Archdiocese of Tuam www.tuamarchdiocese.organd on the website of Westport parish also contains additional information about the Holy Mountain.                         

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444