A sheep hassling hikers for food beside the church at the summit of Croagh Patrick (video taken in 2014).
RTE are posting short news reports from their archive onto their website, and there are some real gems amongst them. For the weekend that’s in it, there is a news report about Reek Sunday from 1974. On the last Sunday of July (i.e. today), there is the annual pilgrimage to the summit of Croagh Patrick (aka The Reek) in Co. Mayo. Until 1974, the pilgrimage was done at night and local pubs were allowed to stay open late. Official pub opening hours were more strict during the Seventies (though not strictly observed) and the popularity of the Croagh Patrick pilgrimage demonstrated the lengths (and the heights) that people were prepared to go for a drink. Naturally, many people took a shortcut by avoiding the mountain altogether and heading straight to the pub to take advantage of the extended opening hours. As the RTE report describes¹
, Bishop Cunnane changed the pilgrimage to the daytime to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were. The same bishop also oversaw the opening of the Knock basilica (along with the indefatigable Monsignor Horan) as well as one of my favourite spots in Connemara – the grotto to St. Patrick at the mountain pass at Mamean (pictured below)
The people of Mayo have a choice of pilgrimages today – either climb Croagh Patrick on this wet and windy Sunday² or head east to Dublin (to Croke Park) to see Mayo play Roscommon in the Senior Football Quarter Final.
¹It’s a pity the clips aren’t available on Youtube or similar, or even embeddable onto other websites – they seem to be available on the RTE Player only, which means they may not be visible outside Ireland.
²The weather is poor today, and, at 4pm today, 13 pilgrims have already been injured making the climb to the summit. I live beside the University Hospital in Galway and saw the Coastguard helicopter landing with one of the casualties this morning.
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 30, 2017