Nestled elegantly in the roaming greens of County Mayo, we are spoilt for choice for beautiful walkways and hiking trails here at Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle. One hiking route that never fails to mesmerise its visitors is Croagh Patrick.

Croagh Patrick, also known as the “The Reek,” is a mountain located in County Mayo. As well as becoming a popular tourist attraction for visitors of this verdant corner of Ireland, the mountain is famed for its religious significance. It is believed that Saint Patrick – known for spreading Christianity throughout the country – fasted on this mountain for 40 days and 40 nights during Lent in the fifth century AD. As a result, Croagh Patrick has become a renowned place of holy pilgrimage, with thousands of visitors completing the climb each year. Of particular importance is the climb completed on the last Sunday of July – known as Reek Sunday – which sees pilgrims climb to the summit as an act of penance and prayer. The journey is also often completed without footwear to heighten the spiritual element of the pilgrimage. For those just wishing to take in the splendid views of the mountain, however, or perhaps complete the pilgrimage at any point of the year, here is our guide to hiking Croagh Patrick in Ireland.

People hiking Croagh Patrick mountain in Ireland

Where is Croagh Patrick?

Located in County Mayo in the West of Ireland, Croagh Patrick is approximately an hour’s drive from Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle. The closest town is the seaside village Murrisk where visitors can also find a visitor centre and car park.

How high is Croagh Patrick?

The summit of Croagh Patrick reaches a staggering 764 metres, offering a challenging but wonderfully scenic climb for its visitors. Those who reach the top can also pay their respects to Saint Patrick at the small chapel dedicated to the patron saint.

Stone statue of Saint Patrick at Croagh Patrick mountain

The stone statue of Saint Patrick

How long does it take to climb Croagh Patrick?

The climb can take three to five hours, depending on your desired pace. The route up the mountain begins at the bottom of the incline with rocky terrain straight to the summit. After the journey to the top, however, visitors will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and coastline; the view over Clew Bay is particularly special.

What are the walking routes available at Croagh Patrick?

There are three main walking routes to the summit of Croagh Patrick. The first is The Pilgrim’s Path – the most popular path that, as the name suggests, derives from the pilgrimage completed by Saint Patrick in the fifth century AD. This trail is around 7km long.

The second walking route at Croagh Patrick is The Red Trail, which begins at the car park in Murrisk. With steep ascents and descents, it is the most challenging route to the summit – perfect for those wishing to embrace the mountain’s more difficult pathways.

Finally, The Western Way is the longest of the hikes available at Croagh Patrick. It is approximately 10km long, beginning at the car park at Bertra Beach before joining the Pilgrim’s Path at the shoulder of the mountain.

View of Clew Bay from Croagh Patrick

View of Clew Bay from Croagh Patrick

What are the best viewpoints at Croagh Patrick?

The reward of any mountain climb is the view at the mountain’s peak, and Croagh Patrick is no exception. With views of the West of Ireland’s beautiful coastline and the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside all accessible at the mountain’s peak, visitors will be overcome by the sublimity of the surrounding landscape.

For the most breathtaking scenery, visitors should look out for Saint Patrick’s Chapel – a restored chapel that overlooks the stunning Clew Bay and surrounding countryside or The Eastern Reek which offers a similar perspective. The crown of any climb, however, sits at the summit. At the summit of Croagh Patrick, seek out the stone monument (or cairn) with its accompanying cross and clover and enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape.

view of Croagh Patrick on the horizon

Croagh Patrick is a must-visit location for anyone visiting Ireland. Its historical and religious significance, coupled with the breathtaking views, make it a truly unique and memorable experience for hikers and pilgrims alike. So, pack your hiking shoes and camera and head out for an adventure on “The Reek”.