Reek Sunday

Croagh Patrick or The Reek, Co. Mayo

The tradition of holy mountains in Ireland remains strong today. On certain Christian feast days or saints days, hundreds or thousands of pilgrims can come together to climb these holy mountains. Nowhere upland pilgramage in Ireland is more famous than on Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo where people come from the world over to make an attempt at the summit. Some even tackle the mountains steep and rocky slopes barefoot.

St. Patrick is said to have fasted on the top of this mountain for forty days and forty nights in the 5th Century, built a church and banished the snakes from Ireland.

Oratory on top of Croagh Patrick
Croagh Patrick is also known as The Reek. It is easily Ireland’s most climbed mountain with large crowds climbing to the summit all year round.. The main day however is the Last Sunday in July known as Reek Sunday when pilgrims climb in their thousands to the oratory on top (built in 1905) where a mass is said. The tradition of climbing the mountain on the last Sunday in July has all the hallmarks of the Lughnasa festival which can be traced back to the Iron Age. Like holy wells the new young religion established itself in the 5th and later centuries by making use of earlier features and traditions. In this way the remnants of prehistoric activities and traditions are still found in Ireland today.
Clew Bay, Co. Mayo

On a clear day, Croagh Patrick offers one of the best views of Clew Bay with its numerous islands, many one of which are privately owned (one was owned by John Lennon). Climbing the mountain is well worth the effort although I do not reccomend climbing it barefoot due to the steepness of the slope and the many loose and jagged rocks which form the path towards the summit.
Path to the summit, this is why barefoot is not a good idea

For a really interesting blog on medieval pilgrimage be sure and follow 


Cherrymount Crannog Crisis

I know it’s nothing to do with uplands but this is a very important campaign so it deserves all the publicity it can get.
A crannog in County Fermanagh is in danger of destruction in advance of roadway construction. Few early medieval crannóg’s have been excavated in northern Ireland and so this is an extremely important site. So far excavation has revealed medieval leather objects, medieval woven cloth, barbed and tanged arrowheads, a gold pin, a wooden plate and bowl, extensive amounts of wattle walls, a leather shoe and human remains.

Despite the importance of the site from the outset (and as excavation revealed significant and well-preserved finds) it was only decided that 50% of the site should be excavated and only 4-6 weeks given to excavate.
Excavation ceases in wo days time after which the site is handed over for the construction of the roadway. The site will thus be left to destruction and the opportunity to slowly and meticulously excavate this important site and give it the attention it deserves will have been lost forever.

A campaign has been started by members of the archaeological community both North and South of the border to raise public and political awareness and to save this site from destruction.

The Facebook group can be found here:
and the blog can be found here: