Thousands scale Croagh Patrick in Irish holy mountain climb

Joseph Mischyshyn/Geograph Thousands will take the pilgrims' trail up Croagh Patrick in County Mayo

Related Stories

Up to 30,000 pilgrims have climbed Ireland's holiest mountain - Croagh Patrick in County Mayo - on the day traditionally known as "Reek Sunday".

It is a custom that dates back 1,500 years. Some completed the climb barefoot and in the dark.

The annual pilgrimage commemorates St Patrick's ascent to the summit.

Hundreds started their journey before dawn, getting to the top in the dark for the first in a series of Masses.

The tradition of climbing the 764-metre high mountain on the last Sunday in July stretches back to 441 AD.

It was then that Saint Patrick reputedly fasted on the summit for 40 days and 40 nights, following the example of Jesus Christ and Moses.

More than 100,000 people visit the mountain every year.

The ancient custom for the most devout climbers has been to make the pilgrimage up the 45-degree slope of loose shale and stones of the mountain "barefoot and blind" - at night-time and not wearing footwear.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.