Sacred Adventures – St. Patrick’s Mountain

This is the first in what I hope will be a fun and adventurous new Category here at Gardener’s Touch called Sacred Adventure. It’s occurred to me that the things I love (and that define just about all I do in my life) come together in my love of traveling. Whether it’s a Sunday drive to someplace local or a spectacular trip abroad, each trip becomes a Sacred Adventure.

With every detailed or spontaneous journey, I need to connect with the beauty of God’s creation, my Catholic faith, and absorb and learn about the traditions, culture, and food that we have in common with all of God’s people.

Today’s Sacred Adventure celebrates our Irish roots as we’re all Irish on St. Patricks Day. I’ve never been to Ireland, but it’s on my bucket list of places to visit abroad when life, pre-pandemic, returns.

Many of us have heard the wonderful stories of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Born in Britain, not Ireland, to wealthy parents. He was taken prisoner, at the age of 16, and held in captivity in Ireland for six years before returning again to Britain. It was there that he had a dream to return to Ireland as a missionary and began his religious training.

While researching religious hikes, I read about Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s Holy Mountain. It is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. It was on the summit of this remote and rugged mountain that St. Patrick fasted for forty days. Each year, the site attracts about 25,000 pilgrims on the last Sunday in July where mass is celebrated in a small chapel atop the summit. The trek up the mountain has no official trail and is quite steep, but pilgrims continue the practice of carrying stones or rocks, to bring them good fortune. Although the mountain is just 2,500 feet high, seasoned hikers have commented on its steepness and difficulty.

The sacred mountain was considered especially important for women, who would sleep on the summit during Lughnasa to encourage fertility.

The Denver Post, March 5, 2015

The views from the top are breathtaking as it takes in an almost a 360 degree vista. Although the festivities around this celebratory hike will not take place this year, when travel resumes you’ll want to be sure you have hiking boots, a walking stick, your rosary, journal and camera to prepare for every beautiful moment.

If you’ve ever visited, please share your own photos.

If, like me, you’re adding this to your Bucketlist of places to go, you may find these links helpful:

http://croagh-patrick.com/visitorcentre/croagh-patrick

http://westporttourism.com/westport-facts.html

I hope you enjoyed your visit here today. If you did, please share your thoughts in the comments below or share on social media using the hashtag #gardenerstouch.

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