Croagh Patrick - Ireland's Holy Mountain
Monday 13th to Saturday 18th July
£785 or £930 (see below for details)
Having prepared over winter in the nearby hamlet of Aghagower, Saint Patrick set out for the Holy mountain on Shrove Saturday in the year 441. On the summit he spent forty days in prayer before returning to Aghagower to celebrate Easter. Croagh Patrick provides the focus for our time in the beautiful West of Ireland. The mountain will be with us when we rise and when we retire. We self-cater as a group in two cottages at the foot of the mountain.
Walks and Excursions
During our time in the west we will walk to the summit of the Holy Mountain, visit Aghagower with its famous Round Tower, Ballintubber Abbey - the only Church in Ireland still in daily use which was founded by an Irish King, take a boat to lovely Clare Island and enjoy an evening drive through the mountains to the village of Leenane at the head of the Killary harbour, Ireland's deepest fjord and noted as the setting for Jim Sheridan's film, The Field.
Murrisk Abbey is a quiet place, a romantic ruin close to the shore of Clew bay, just a short walk from our cottages. A place of prayer for hundreds of years, we will gather here in the morning before setting out for the summit of the Holy mountain. Our walk to the summit (764m/2,507 ft) will be taken at a gentle pace with time on top to enjoy the panoramic view of Clew bay and sit awhile in the summit Chapel. In the distance, Clare Island may be seen.
We take the ferry from Roonagh pier to Clare Island, a journey of just 10 minutes. Home to Pirate Queen, Grainne O'Malley, we will walk part of the island, close to the harbour, explore the O'Malley's castle and 14 th century Abbey and enjoy the beach - this is laid back, island life.
Ballintubber Abbey and Aghagower, a short minibus drive from Westport, bring us back to St Patrick. We'll stop at Aghagower before heading onto Ballintubber and a guided tour of the Abbey. During the afternoon we return to the lovely Georgian town of Westport where we can visit the shops, explore the sites and enjoy the ambience. After our evening meal those who wish may like an evening of traditional Irish music at one of the towns pubs, most famous of which is perhaps, Matt Molloy's. The famine of the 1850's devasted the west of Ireland. The national famine memorial is at Murrisk. It is an awesome site. Perhaps even more poignant, however, is the memorial at Doo Lough, spectacularly set between the Mweelrea mountains and Sheeffry Hills.
After a walk in the foothills of Croagh Patrick, we'll drive to Leenane stopping at the memorial on the way. This is an area of beautiful land and seascapes, of history reaching back through mist and folklore, a place of deep spirituality shaped by its rich, Celtic Christian roots.
With the exception of our walk to the summit of Croagh Patrick, which is classified as medium in length (no more than 7 miles) with Challenging-plus terrain (it will be rough underfoot and rocky and steep in parts) walks are generally short (no more than 3 miles) with moderate terrain - expect occasional rocky or steep sections.
We have two cottages at the foot of Croagh Patrick, both with views directly onto the Holy mountain. We self-cater as a group, with the leaders doing the cooking and everyone helping with meal preparation and clearing of tables. Accommodation is in single rooms, with shared facilities. All rooms are single occupancy.
Option 1: Arrive Croagh Patrick cottages from 3pm on the 13th. Car parking is available. We can pick up from Westport Railway Station during the afternoon, if preferred.
Option 2: Meet the leaders in Pembroke Dock, Wales, at 1.30pm. on the 12th. Ferry and minibus to Westport. Please note there is limited availability for this option so please confirm with the leader before booking.
Option 1: Make your own way to Westport: £785.
Option 2: Travel with the leaders from Pembroke Dock: £930, includes ferry, minibus, overnight stay and meals en-route to Westport. On the return journey we arrive back in Pembroke Dock, early hours of the 19th. Travelodge accommodation available, but not included in the price.
David Gleed +44 (0)7896 285839, email@example.com) and Steve Evemy