Archbishop Michael Neary to lead annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage

24 Jul 2019

You, or a representative, are invited to attend a photocall for the annual Reek Sunday Pilgrimage which will take place this weekend on Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick.  Details:

Where                         Croagh Patrick, Murrisk, Co Mayo, in the Archdiocese of Tuam

When                         6.30am on Reek Sunday, 28 July 2019

In attendance             Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam; Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe, priests and pilgrims from across Ireland. The bishops’ ascent will start at 7.00am on Sunday morning.

Mass times

On the evening before, Saturday (27 July) at 6.30pm, Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport, to mark the official beginning of this year’s pilgrimage. 

During Reek Sunday, Mass will be celebrated every hour on the summit, beginning at 8.00am, with the final Mass commencing at 2.00pm. Father Stephen Farragher will celebrate Mass as Gaeilge at 10.00am. Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 11.00am.  Bishop Fintan Monahan will celebrate Mass at 12.00noon.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Pilgrims may also avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) at the summit from 7.30am to 2.00pm. 

All priests wishing to celebrate the Sacraments must produce a valid Celebret.  See schedule below.


Garland Friday 26 July

  • 10:00am Mass at the summit of Croagh Patrick
  • 7:30pm Mass at the base of Croagh Patrick in the car park at Murrisk Community Café

Saturday 27 July      

6:30pm Mass for Eve of Pilgrimage will take place in Saint Mary’s Church, South Mall, Westport and the celebrant will be Archbishop Neary.

Sunday 28 July         

  • 7:30am – 2:00pm Confessions on the summit of Croagh Patrick.
  • 8:00am First hourly Mass on the summit celebrated by Father Gerard Quirke of Westport Parish
  • 8:30am Tóchar Phádraig commences at Ballintubber Abbey
  • 9:00am Mass celebrated by Father John Kenny
  • 10:00am Aifreann as Gaeilge celebrated by Father Stephen Farragher
  • 11:00am Mass celebrated by Archbishop Michael Neary
  • 12.00 noon Mass celebrated by Bishop Fintan Monahan
  • 1:00pm Mass celebrated by Father Francis Mitchell
  • 2:00pm Last hourly Mass on the summit celebrated by Father Gerard Quirke

Masses in local churches on Reek Sunday

  • 10:00am Mass in Westport church
  • 11:30am Mass in Lecanvey church
  • 12:00pm Mass in Westport church

Notes to Editors

The homily of Archbishop Neary for Reek Sunday will be published by the Catholic Communications Office in advance and under embargo.  The Pilgrims’ Prayer Card is available in Teach Na Míosa and the Murrisk Community Café as well as in the ‘Patricks Path’ section on  Westport Parish has two resident priests: Father Charlie McDonnell who lives in Westport and Father Paddy Gill who lives in Lecanvey.  There is a long-standing tradition that the Archbishop of the day is the Parish Priest of Westport, and this tradition continues in the person of Archbishop Neary.

A media centre will be in operation from 6.00am until 5.00pm during Reek Sunday.  It will be located on the first floor of Murrisk Community Centre and Café at the base of the mountain.  WiFi and refreshments will be available to media.  Information on the pilgrimage and homily texts will be available from the media centre.  The centre will be managed by Brenda Drumm of the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth.

Croagh Patrick is a physically demanding pilgrimage.  Intending pilgrims should make themselves aware in advance of health and safety information about the mountain.  Pilgrims should also heed the instructions of stewards, the mountain rescue teams, Order of Malta, and Gardaí.  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.  See and and information from Mayo Mountain Rescue on Reek Sunday.

Croagh Patrick (2,510ft/765m), Ireland’s holy mountain, dominates the landscape of southwest Mayo both spiritually and physically.  The 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).

The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage has been undertaken for over 1500 years. 

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444 and Katie Crosby 00353 (0) 86 862 3298.