Croagh Patrick is a 2510 foot mountain in County Mayo. It is not one of the locales in my novel, but one of my characters does make a pilgrimage there in my book. For that reason, I’ll describe it here.
At the time of the Druids, Croagh Patrick was sacred to the god Crom. In 441 AD, St. Patrick spent the 40 days of Lent on the mountain and declared victory over the pagan gods when he descended. Since then, pilgrims come here to climb the mountain, usually bare-footed, on the Sunday before the Celtic feast Lughnasa (August 1). In doing so they offer penance for their sins. There is a chapel dedicated to St. Patrick at the peak of the mountain. Murrisk Abbey at the base of the mountain was founded by the O’Malley clan in 1456. It was destroyed by the English in the 16th century but later restored.
There were many climbers of the mountain when I was there. They don’t appear to be doing it for religious reasons, just for the physical exercise. I walked up the path past the statue of St. Patrick at the bottom of the mountain to take some photos. The view is beautiful with the blue waters of Clew Bay (the haunt of the pirate, Grace O’Malley) beyond, sprinkled with islands.