Have you ever climbed Croagh Patrick in County Mayo? I’m told there are magnificent views from the summit. The cone-shaped mountain rising from the shore is the dominant feature of the landscape around the lovely Clew Bay.
It’s Ireland’s “holy mountain.” St Patrick having spent the 40 days of lent there in 441. On the last Sunday in July, thousands of people, some barefoot, climb to the top where Mass is celebrated in a little oratory.
A few weeks ago I wrote a tongue-in-cheek Protestant response to Erin Hutcheon’s excellent account in this paper of her recent pilgrimage to Lough Derg. Erin was kind enough to say she was amused but says I have to go to Lough Derg next year! She says she has reserved a seat for me on the bus and is confident I can be “turned”. I fear Erin may be disappointed – but I might get around to climbing Croagh Patrick sometime. That’ll be a start!
Did you hear about the English man and his girlfriend who recently climbed Ben Nevis in Scotland? Afterwards he wrote a review on TripAdvisor. It was, “very steep and too high,” he said. The climb, “basically went on far too long” and when he got to the top there was, “nothing there.” There were, “NO facilities, not even a toilet.” To make matters worse they then had to walk down again. He ended by noting that, “the attraction is free, but I honestly can’t imagine anyone – and I mean anyone – paying” for it.