Croagh Patrick Mountain
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Climbing the Reek
Every year on the last Sunday in July, 20-30,000 Catholic Pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick Mountain (AKA: The Reek). Some pilgrims make the climb in their bare feet. The pilgrimage is made as a penance, or for the benefit of a sick loved one. The climb is steep, with a small narrow trail of mostly scree. I made the climb in two hours, forty-five minutes, welcoming the summit despite the cold, damp weather. Mass was held every half-hour on the summit, along with confessions and holy communion. Vendors offered sandwiches and drinks. My hot cup of coffee was a respite from the biting cold. The descent was actually the hardest part of the climb, as I struggled not to slip in the scree. By the time I reached the base of the mountain, my fatigued leg muscles barely dragged me into the pub for the customary celebratory Guinness.
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