Croagh Patrick 8km (5 miles) west of Westport on the Louisburgh Road (R335), Croagh Patrick (pronounced Croke Patrick) stands at 764m (2,507ft), and is the third highest peak in Mayo. Croagh Patrick, which overlooks Clew Bay in County Mayo, is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. Its religious significance dates back to the time of the pagans, when people are thought to have gathered here to celebrate the beginning of harvest season. The mountain now takes the name of Ireland’s patron saint, who, according to Christian tradition, fasted at the peak of the mountain for 40 days in 441. Each year, The Reek (as it is colloquially known), attracts about 1 million pilgrims, many of whom spend the last Sunday in July climbing to the summit in honour of St Patrick. At the top, there is a modern chapel where mass is celebrated and confessions are heard. Participants also have the opportunity to take in panoramic views of Clew Bay and the surrounding area. The most popular route to the summit begins at the west end of Murrisk on the Louisburgh Road (R335) at the signposted carpark. The route is 7km (4.3 miles) long, round-trip; bring sturdy boots, rain-gear and layers, as the temperature can be much lower at the top, and the wind can be quite strong. The Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre includes a coffee shop/self-service restaurant, as well as a craft shop. Hot showers, secure lockers and pay and display parking are also available. Guided tours to the Statue (en-route to the summit), are available from the Centre during peak season with advance notice. Croagh Patrick Climbing Packages Enjoy 2 night’s accommodation and a dinner on a night of your choice. Climb Croagh Patrick, with transport to and from the foot of the mountain and a packed lunch. Click here to book Normally, it takes about two hours for the average person to reach the summit, and one and a half hours to descend. What equipment is necessary for the climb? It is advisable to take sturdy footwear, rainwear and some drinking water. Climbing sticks are for sale at the Centre.