Croagh Patrick Mountain, an important site of pilgrimage in County Mayo
According to tradition, St Patrick fasted and prayed on the summit of this mountain for forty days in the year 441. Named after him, Croagh Patrick is climbed by thousands of pilgrims every year on the last Sunday in July. Just like St Patrick’s day celebrations, many enjoy a social day out with little thought of religious significance. But from ancient times, pilgrims have climbed the mountain barefoot, believing that as an act of penance, it might help atone for their sins. Some still hold to the belief today.