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Pretty Penny for Croagh Patrick’s Pilgrim Path

Reek gets €480k for sustainable pathway repair and habitat restoration.

Anyone who’s climbed Croagh Patrick recently knows that the pathway to the summit is in a bit of a state. Over the years, the holy mountain’s famous trail has been travelled by countless pilgrims, walkers, racers and rescuers – not to mention sheep, dogs and even a few donkeys. That’s a lot of footfall, and it was bound to take a heavy toll.

In recent years, it became obvious that the path up The Reek (as the mountain is known locally) was badly in need of some TLC. And this week that TLC has come – in the form of a whopping €480,000 in government funding for repair and restoration. The funding was approved by Westport’s own political heavyweight, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring, and it will be used to support sustainable access works and habitat restoration on Croagh Patrick.

Announcing the welcome cash injection, the minister explained that the money will be used to ‘create a stone path to enable walkers and pilgrims to use the mountain in a sustainable way’.

The pathway will be mostly about two metres wide, with occasional wider parts to allow walkers to gather together without spilling off the route and damaging the surrounding vegetation.

“The objective is to manage the path in a way that is sympathetic to the setting whilst respecting the cultural value of the mountain,” said Minister Ring, who also paid tribute to the work done by the local Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group and Mayo County Council in coming up with a sustainable solution for the much-loved mountain.

Locally sourced materials will be used throughout the restoration works. The aim is to use materials harvested from the length of the route itself. Any imported stone will match that of the Croagh Patrick quartzite.

All work will be finished by hand, with the use of excavators kept to a minimum so that people climbing the mountain can do so in as safe an environment as possible.

Alongside the path and habitat restoration efforts, a new public-awareness programme is also being rolled out for all who ascend the Reek’s sacred trail. This will be aimed at promoting appropriate use, managing expectations and encouraging people to consider their potential impact on Croagh Patrick, as well as helping them to understand the historical and cultural significance of the mountain.

Good news indeed, and we at Destination Westport welcome the announcement with open arms and high hopes!

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