Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail
The dazzling quartzite pyramid of Croagh Patrick (764m), which dominates the land south of Clew Bay in the west of Ireland, has been a holy mountain since before Christian times. Ireland's fifth-century patron saint, St Patrick, is said to have made it his own when he fasted on its summit for forty days, and ever since it has been an important place of Christian pilgrimage: over 15,000 pilgrims climb to the top every year on the last Sunday of July each year, traditionally known as €˜Reek Sunday'. The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail is a 61 km linear walking route that extends from the village of Balla in County Mayo, an early Christian monastic site with a broken round tower, to the village of Murrisk, site of a 15th century Augustinian friary, at the foot of the mountain. The route follows parts of an old pilgrim route as it wanders through the rural landscape of west Mayo towards the holy mountain, passing by a rich heritage of monuments and buildings including early churches, holy wells and castles. Walkers may want to linger in the village of Aghagower, a monastic site where they will find a 12th century church and the remains of another round tower, and at the Clogher Heritage Centre which includes a working blacksmith's forge. Also along the route is Brackloon Wood, a rare oakwood, and a survivor from the time when much of Ireland was covered with such trees. The terrain consists mainly of stone-walled quiet side roads, forestry tracks, field paths and open moorland (some of which can be wet). The aggregate climb over the whole route is about 300 metres, most of which is at the end of the route. For more information follow link www.mayowalks.ie/ and http://www.croaghpatrickheritagetrail.com/
At Start - on street in the square in Balla
At End - in car park for Croagh Patrick in Murrisk
There may be waymarking, trail surface and trail furniture issues at some points along the trail.
***Dogs not permitted on the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail***