Tour Code: 35469P2
Duration: 4 or 5 hours
Trek along the Wild Atlantic Way on a 4- to 5-hour hiking tour over the rugged landscapes of western Ireland. Start your guided journey on the west side of 'Ireland's holiest mountain,' Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, and make your way up to the area known as Reilig Mhuire. Before reaching the summit, a detour is made to the site known as 'Bob of the Reek's Cave' where you'll learn its extraordinary legend. The route covers a total distance of 5 miles (8 km) over moderate terrain.
Meet your guide at the Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre in Murrisk and begin your Wild Atlantic Way trek on the more benign west side of the mountain. You'll make your way up to the area of the mountain known as Reilig Mhuire, with magnificent views of the Sheefry Hills, Mweelrea Mountains, and the large islands off Ireland's west coast. On the way, pass the old gold miners' road and a ravine cut into the hillside by the high springs that provide water to the villages below.
Reilig Mhuire consists of three huge cairns. It is believed that in pre-Christian times, it may have been dedicated to a pagan goddess or was possibly a grave. Today, it is known as the third station on Croagh Patrick. Pause here on the shoulder before an ascent to the summit, or second station.
Learn about the early-19th-century man who came to be known as ‘Bob of the Reek,' who made his home in a cave near the summit and spent 14 years assisting pilgrims in their quest to reach the peak. You will descend from the summit to Bob of the Reek’s Cave, being careful to avoid the steep slopes of Lugnademon, aka the ‘Hollow of the Serpents,’ where St. Patrick is said to have vanquished snakes and other creatures during his 40-day fast on the mountain. The cave, which is actually more reminiscent of a medieval holy well, faces due north and is very high on the mountain. Hear about the local controversy as to the true identity of the legendary figure, and search for his grave to the east of the current summit chapel.
Then make your way back to the third station, following an ancient path that has long since fallen into disuse. It is a pleasant stroll compared to the shale challenges of the mountain heights above. Your trek concludes where you started, outside the delightful Staunton’s family pub and restaurant in Lecanvey.
The guided hike covers a total distance of 5 miles (8 km) over moderate terrain. Typical time is 4–5 hours including stops along the way.