“To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, every cubic inch of space is a miracle.” Walt Whitman
Why This Mountain?
A lot of my family background is Irish and I wanted to do a mountain in Ireland. My mom and Aunt Brenda are joining me in Ireland and we are going to all see the country together for the first time.
Mountain & Route Facts
Croagh Patrick, meaning (Saint) Patrick’s Stack), nicknamed the Reek, is a 2,507′ mountain and an important site of pilgrimage in County Mayo in Ireland. It forms the southern part of a U-shaped valley created by a glacier flowing into Clew Bay in the last Ice Age. Croagh Patrick is part of a longer east-west ridge; the westernmost peak is called Ben Gorm.
It is climbed by pilgrims (sometimes as many as 20,000) on Reek Sunday every year, which is the last Sunday in July. Croagh Patrick has reputedly been a site of pagan pilgrimage, especially for the summer solstice, since 3,000 B.C. It is now a site of Christian pilgrimage associated with Saint Patrick who fasted on the summit for forty days in the fifth century A.D. From St. Patrick’s own time, there had been some sort of a little chapel on the summit, called “Teampall Phadraig”
Historical and Cultural Information
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George’s Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, in the northeast of the island. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.4 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.6 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. Dublin is the capital of Ireland.
The earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century CE. The island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the Norman invasion in the 12th century, England claimed sovereignty over Ireland. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became increasingly sovereign over the following decades, and Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same.
Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, especially in the fields of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music, and the Irish language. The culture of the island also shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, and golf.