For the religious there are masses at the summit during the day, the route to the top is usually undertaken from the base at sea level, however, there is a a route that involves a 35km route from Ballintubber Abbey before the climb to the top of the Reek, for the dedicated.
As in a lot of cases the pilgrimage to the top of this mountain dates back to before the arrival of Christianity, being an important pagan summer place of celebration. Probably because of this it was chosen by Saint Patrick as a place of fasting and reputedly the place in which he banished snakes from Ireland.
2013's pilgrimage, today, saw about 20,000 climb Croagh Patrick and as usual several injuries resulted from heart attacks to falls to hypothermia - the weather can seriously deteriorate quickly because the winds are usually coming in straight off the Atlantic and Croagh Patrick is the first high ground that the wind meets. Many people attempt the climb in flip flops and other inappropriate clothing but some go even further, climbing the mountain, or a portion of it, barefoot.
I had intended to climb it today, the first time in a few years but a back problem has prevented me from doing so. I would have liked to have climbed Croagh Patrick today, on Reek Sunday but a back problem prevented me from making the ascent. A tough decision but I think that it was necessary, and my back should be thanking me in a few days rather than spending days laid up in bed. The climb is tough, with the final section on a steep scree slope.
Instead here are a few images of the mountain taken on my previous Reek Sunday climbs - hope you enjoy and I look forward to seeing you there next year in 2014. I'll be wearing shoes but if you want to carry yours and go barefoot, please bring plasters!