Every year 100,000 people make the journey to the 764m summit with an estimated 5,000 – 10,000 who climb Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday (The Last Sunday of July) alone. Not to mention all of us nature lovers and weekend warriors who call Croagh Patrick our playground.
And if Croagh Patrick is on your bucket list this year, you can almost guarantee one thing. The climate at the summit will be different than on the ground. Remember, there’s a reason it’s called the Wild Atlantic Way. Out of almost 100,000 people who climb Croagh Patrick every year, Mayo Mountain Rescue and the Coastguard receive about 50 call outs. Most people ascend and descend safely. You can play your part by following all trail signs and wearing appropriate footwear and clothing. So with that in mind, let’s talk about your route and then your gear.
There are two main routes up Croagh Patrick:
- The Traditional Pilgrimage Route: This is the route most climbers take. You'll start from the car park in Murrisk, the 7km round trip takes you up a well-trodden path with brand new steps to the summit replacing challenging loose scree for the last quarter. It's a steep climb, but the views over Clew Bay are worth every step.
- The Tochar Phadraig Pilgrim Path: This ancient pilgrimage route starts in Ballintubber Abbey and stretches 35km to the summit of Croagh Patrick. It's a much longer journey, taking in the beautiful Mayo countryside, and is best tackled over a couple of days.
The Sustainable Access and Habitat Restoration Project commenced in May 2021 to repair the erosion on the pilgrim path and is almost finished. If you’ve climbed Croagh Patrick before, you might remember loose scree for the last quarter of the trail to the summit. Well, now you have a stone - stepping path to replace the loose scree.
Fitness is crucial for either route, and you should only take on the challenge in good weather. Conditions on Croagh Patrick can switch up fast. And remember, these routes cross private land, so give a nod to the landowners by following the Leave No Trace principles. How long the climb takes can vary depending on your pace and how long you stop along the way and at the summit. Generally, it can take anywhere from 2.5 to 4+ hours for the round trip.
Now, let's get down to your checklist:
Clothing & Footwear
Alright, first things first. A sturdy pair of hiking boots is non-negotiable. Make sure they're waterproof, supportive, and feel like a second skin. Croagh Patrick has its share of rocky paths and grassy slopes, with some boggy areas thrown in for good measure. Your feet will sing your praises, trust us.
You're going to need a trusty backpack to carry your gear up The Reek. Opt for one with a rain cover or waterproof bag – those Irish showers love to surprise us.
First Aid Essentials
Now, strictly speaking, you could argue food and water are not items you'd usually find in your first aid kit but you could soon find yourself in a bit of a pickle without them.
Remember, this is just a starting point. Depending on the time of year, weather conditions, and your personal requirements, you might need to adjust this list. However, no matter how well-equipped you are, never underestimate the mountain.
You can pop in to our two stores in Westport, only 15 minutes drive from Croagh Patrick. We’ve climbed The Reek more times than there are days of the week and our team will be on hand to advise you how to enjoy your visit to the summit of Croagh Patrick.