Fr John Kenny invites priests to minister on Croagh Patrick for Reek Sunday

04 Jul 2024

Poster for Reek Sunday’s National Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick 2024 (Catholic Communications Office archive)

  • 2024 Reek Sunday theme: ‘To pray for and honour grandparents and the elderly’ #ElderlyandGrandparents

Reek Sunday falls on 28 July, when thousands of pilgrims are expected to scale Croagh Patrick (2,510ft/765m), Ireland’s Holy Mountain, to pray and participate on the summit in the Sacraments of Reconciliation (Confession), and of the Eucharist.  Pope Francis has designated 2024 as a Year of Prayer, and this year’s pilgrimage theme is: ‘To pray for and honour grandparents and the elderly’ #ElderlyandGrandparents.

Father John Kenny, Administrator of nearby Westport Parish, Co Mayo, said, “I am delighted that the three-and-a-half year undertaking to complete the Pilgrims’ Path on Croagh Patrick has now been complete.  Accordingly, and on behalf of the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders’ Group, I welcome all to our annual Reek Sunday weekend pilgrimage that will start on Garland Friday, 26 July.  The Stakeholders’ Group has been responsible for monumental work in preserving and safeguarding the mountain.  As it is the largest annual gathering on the Reek, it is essential that Reek Sunday pilgrims – and indeed all pilgrims – play their part in maintaining the mountain.  In this context I am highlighting that we all have a responsibility to share in the protection of the mountain’s fragile ecosystem, and I encourage all climbers to stay on the Pilgrim’s Path.  This request is made in the interest of the safety of climbers themselves, to preserve the mountain’s habitat, and to sustain this special pilgrimage for future generations.” 
Father Kenny is asking priests from around Ireland to contact him if they are in a position to assist in the following ways on Reek Sunday:

  • With the celebration of Mass and the hearing of confessions on the summit, to contact him on: +353 (0) 98 28871 or +353 (0) 87 240 1533
  • To advise their parishioners by way of including this newsletter notice in their bulletins during July:

2024 is the dedicated Year of Prayer and Reek Sunday is on 28 July
This year, the annual pilgrimage takes place on the weekend of 26 – 28 July.
On this day we also celebrate World Day for Grand Parents and the Elderly #ElderlyandGrandparents

Schedule for Reek Sunday weekend pilgrimage
Garland Friday, 26 July – Local Pilgrimage
10:00am. Mass on the summit of Croagh Patrick celebrated by Westport
native, Father Tod Nolan PP Newport
7:30pm. Mass at Murrisk Community Café – Croagh Patrick Car Park

Reek Saturday, 27 July
8:30am. Tóchar Phádraig Pilgrimage begins at Ballintubber Abbey.
6:30pm. Vigil Mass in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport, Archbishop Francis Duffy of Tuam.

Reek Sunday, 28 July
7:30am until 2:00pm, Confessions will be heard on the summit.
8:00am. First hourly Mass on the summit.
2:00pm Last Mass on the summit
(TBC. Aifreann Lán Gaeilge ar barr Cruach Phádraig)

Parishes are also asked to display the poster (see image above) to help promote this year’s Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage on Reek Sunday, 28 July


Notes for Editors

Faith history
Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick has been undertaken for over 1500 years, and this iconic physical feature on the southwest Co Mayo landscape is of significant natural, cultural and spiritual importance.  The pilgrimage is associated with Saint Patrick who, in 441 AD, 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 heralded the start of the harvest festival honouring the ancient pagan god Lugh, whose name is encompassed in the Irish language word for August: Lughnasa.  This festival’s tradition became absorbed into new Christian beliefs and locally become known as Domhnach na Cruaiche (Reek Sunday).  A virtual tour and additional information on Croagh Patrick can be viewed on and on
Safety advice for pilgrims and caring for Croagh Patrick
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  

To sustain the tradition of the national Reek Sunday Pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick, and to protect the mountain, the Church has actively engaged with other stakeholders to undertake sustainable access and habitat restoration.  This project has provided a robust path for access – the Pilgrims’ Path – as well as restoring eroded parts of the previous path on the mountain.  As part of Church’s support for the project, there is a commitment to minimise the environmental impact of the pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick.  To achieve this goal, pilgrim climbers are respectfully asked to comply with the following guidelines:
– If traveling by car, please park responsibly and follow the instructions of stewards on the day.
– Stay on the defined path on the mountain and do not encroach on the surrounding area.
– The mountain streams provide drinking water for the local community.  Be respectful of this while on the mountain.
– We strongly endorse the ‘Leave no Trace Principle’.  Therefore please not to discard any litter on the mountain and to bring all waste home.
– Dogs are not permitted allowed on the mountain.  Please respect this requirement.  The mountain is part of a shared working farm.