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Mass and mountain rescuers: Thousands set to climb Croagh Patrick for Reek Sunday

As many as 25,000 people are expected to make the climb up the Mayo mountain tomorrow.

Image: Mayo Mountain Rescue Team

PILGRIMS SET TO climb Croagh Patrick for the annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage are being warned to take all necessary precautions to safeguard against accidents on the 2,500ft high mountain. 

Approximately 25,000 pilgrims are expected to make the trip up the Mayo mountain for the annual tradition tomorrow, with some doing the climb barefoot.

The Order of Malta said that the recent spell of good weather is expected to attract a large number of pilgrims making the climb, despite numbers falling in recent years.

There’ll be a mass held every hour on the summit starting from 8am tomorrow morning with the last held at 2pm, with Archbishop Michael Neary leading the pilgrimage. 

No fewer than 10 organisations will be working together to make the event run smoothly, including the Civil Defence and the gardaí, with Mayo Mountain Rescue Team organising and coordinating the rescue and emergency care services. 

Last year, the Irish Air Corps airlifted a man a 46-year-old man to hospital, where he was treated for chest pains.

All organisations are involved are urging people to take the necessary care on the climb. 

Order of Malta spokesperson Keelan Moran said: “We urge all climbers to be extra cautious this weekend given the dangers posed by the climb. While Croagh Patrick is a very manageable climb, it is important that all who take on the challenge do so sensibly.

We are stressing the importance of climbers being suitably equipped for all weather, regardless of ground conditions. It is imperative that good footwear such as hiking boots be worn, along with warm clothes and rain gear, as well as sun protection. All climbers should also bring a plentiful supply of water and snacks, while extra care must be taken with children on the mountain.

Even if conditions are mild at ground level, that may not be the case at the top with the weather very changeable and there can be as much as 7 degrees between sea level temperature and at the summit, Mayo Mountain Rescue said.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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