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Pilgrims asked to forgo annual Croagh Patrick climb this year

By Sarah Finnan

July 26, 2020 at 9:13am

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Hikers are being asked to forgo their yearly pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick this year.

Today is Reek Sunday or Garland Sunday, an annual day of pilgrimage in Ireland that usually sees pilgrims head west to climb Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo. Falling on the last Sunday in July, approximately 25,000 people climb Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday. Not this year though as local priests have asked people to stay away.

Standing tall at 764m, Croagh Patrick is considered to be the holiest mountain in Ireland with the tradition of pilgrimage first beginning during the Stone Age. Overlooking Clew Bay, the mountain's religious significance dates back to the time of the pagans when it's believed that people would gather there to celebrate the beginning of the harvest.

Pilgrims have been asked to stay away this year however, with the request being put down to ongoing Covid-19 concerns and fears that the infrastructure is not there to support such large crowds. A challenging climb at the best of times, it would also be especially difficult to enforce proper distancing between climbers.

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