Costello Memorial Chapel, Carrick-on-Shannon: Ireland’s smallest chapel

Recently I was in Carrick-on-Shannon and stumbled across the most amazing little building. The building in question is a small memorial chapel located at the top of Bridge Street sandwiched between two shop fronts.

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Costello Chapel: Ireland’s smallest chapel Carrick-on-Shannon.

The chapel, a single room building is tiny, measuring circa 4.8m x 3.6m. The chapel, built on the site of a former Methodist chapel, was commissioned in 1877 by a Carrick-on Shannon merchant called Edward Costello  as a memorial to his wife Mary Josephine. The building was completed in 1879.

The chapel was built of cut limestone with a steep pitched stone roof with two Celtic cross finials at each gable.  On the left hand side of the door is a carved stone depicting the Costello coat of arms and  Latin motto  ‘Ne te quaesiveris extra‘  which  means ‘Seek not thyself outside thyself’.

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Costello coat of arms and Latin motto ‘Ne te quaesiveris extra’ Seek not thyself outside thyself

The chapel is entered through two doors of simple design, made of wrought galvanised iron.

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The chapel’s doors are made of wrought galvanised iron.

Within the church is a small marble altar  and tabernacle.  Mass was celebrated here from the time of Mary’s interment in 1879, on the first Friday of every month until Edwards death in 1891.

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Marble altar within chapel.

Mary Costello had died in 1877 and her remains were embalmed. When the chapel was  completed she was buried within the chapel on the right hand  side of the building in a rectangular sunken grave.   Following Edward’s death  he was also buried in the chapel and placed on the left hand side  of the chapel.  Both graves were sealed by a thick clear glass and when you enter the chapel today the coffins are visible.   The floor of the chapel was tiled with  tiles depicting symbols of the crucifixion.

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Decorated floor within Costello chapel

Another lovely feature of the chapel is beautiful stain glass window  which the information plaque at the site  notes was designed by Mayer of Munich.

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Stain glass window within Costello chapel.

The chapel is a beautiful structure and testament to Edward’s  devotion to his wife.  If you are passing through Carrick-on-Shannon do seek it out and see for yourself.

References

Notice board at the site.

http://www.carrickheritage.com/costello-memorial-chapel.html

http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=LE&regno=30813020

http://www.askaboutireland.ie/learning-zone/primary-students/looking-at-places/leitrim/people-and-places-in-leit/carrick-on-shannon/costello-chapel/

James Rice: A 15th century Irish pilgrim to Santiago de Compostella

The names  and stories of the vast majority of  medieval pilgrims  have gone unrecorded in the Irish historical sources but thankfully there  are some  exceptions to this rule.   During the 15th century, two  pilgrimages of a Waterford  man  called James Rice to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostella were recorded in  contemporary sources.

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St James Cathedral Santiago de Compostella

Who was James Rice?

James Rice was born into a wealthy Anglo-Irish merchant family in the port town of Waterford in 15th century.  The exact date of his birth is known but  the name chosen by his parents suggests they had a devotion to St James whose cult from the 12th century onwards enjoyed great popularity across Europe.

We know also that James’s father Peter Rice  held the office of Mayor of Waterford on two occasions the first in 1426-27 and the second in 1427.  Following in the footsteps of his father,  James also  became a politician and held the office of Mayor of Waterford a staggering  eleven times.

Like the majority of people living in medieval Ireland,  James would have performed many pilgrimages  throughout his lifetime.  He  would have visited  local and regional pilgrim sites perhaps heading to Ardmore,  Co Waterford or to Lady’s Island in Co Wexford.   Unfortunately local and regional pilgrimages  tend not  to be recorded in contemporary sources as they were seen as everyday  occurrences.

Long distance pilgrimages  were very expensive and would have been beyond the finances of  most ordinary of people. Therefore to embark on a long distance pilgrimage was a rare and significant occurrence and when undertaken successful brought prestige to the pilgrim.  Being a man of means James Rice was able to  go on at least two long distance pilgrimages that we know of  to the shrine of St James at Santiago do Compostella in Spain.  To give you some idea of the  expense of such  a journey,    Irish pilgrims making the return journey from Spain to Ireland  on-board the ill-fated ship the  La Mary London  in the 15th century paid seven shillings and six pence per head  just for the return leg of  the journey (1400 miles sea voyage).   This was the equivalent  of several weeks wages for an average working man.

So why go all the way  to  Santiago  when there were many pilgrim sites closer to home?  At a basic level James Rice probably had  a great devotion to his namesake St James who was one of the most popular saints in  Ireland.  Santiago was also a high status pilgrim site,  one of the most popular pilgrim destinations in the  medieval  world,  attracting vast numbers of pilgrims from across Europe. It was  also associated with miracles and  it was a place where  indulgences could be obtained.

Pilgrimages to Santiago

In  1473 James made his first pilgrimage to Santiago.  At the time he held the position of  Mayor of Waterford.  His pilgrimage was recorded as he was vacating his office for the duration of the pilgrimage  and protocol required that he applied for permission to parliament to appoint a deputy mayor in his absence.  His request was  granted and  he embarked on  pilgrimage.

As Waterford was a port town  with trade links with France and Spain its likely James travelled by boat to the port of Corunna and then headed  on foot to Santiago. Having arrived at his destination he  would have found somewhere to stay.  Most pilgrims spent the night  in a vigil within the  cathedral in front of the high altar. The next day pilgrims  attended mass and  during the ceremony they presented their  offerings.  Pilgrims would also have made confession and  obtained  certificates of pilgrimage in the Capilla del Rey de Francia.  There are no records detailing James experiences but he must have visited the relics of the saint and perhaps even purchased some souvenirs.  From the 12th century scallop shells were sold to pilgrims in the cathedral square and a small number have been found in Irish medieval burials.

 

Ten years later Rice decided to go on a second pilgrimage to Santiago in the year 1483.  1483 was the Jubilee year at Santiago. In 1181  Pope Alexander III granted jubilee years to the shrine, whenever the feast of St James fell on a Sunday.  Pilgrims  who came at this time  received a plenary indulgence (a remission from all sin) once they made their confession, attended Mass, gave a donation for the upkeep of the shrine, and undertook to perform good works.

Rice was again in public office as the Mayor of Waterford.  The Statue Rolls of the Irish Parliament record that prior to his departure  on pilgrimage, Rice’s made a formal requested to take up the pilgrim staff.  Permission was granted  to embark on his  second pilgrimage under the proviso that the mayor and  the two bailiffs who accompanied him were to appoint replacement deputies acceptable to Waterford city council for the duration of their absence ). The names of his bailiffs were Patrick Mulligan and Philip Bryan.

Prior to departure on this second pilgrimage Rice commissioned a chapel dedicated to St James and St Catherine  connected to Christ Church Cathedral  in Waterford.  The chapel was  consecrated in 1482 (Bradley & Halpin 1992, 119).  Following the completion of his pilgrimage James returned to Waterford where he lived out the rest of his days. He was eventually laid to rest with the chapel in an elaborate  tomb. The chapel was later taken to extend the cathedral yard and moved into  the nave of the  Cathedral church.

 

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Tomb of James Rice

 

The tomb consist of a  chest  with images of saints carved on all sides.  The apostles are found on the north side; James the minor, Thomas, John, James the Major, Andrew and Peter and on the south side:  Matthias Jude, Simeon, Matthew, Bartholomew and Philip.

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St. James Major (N. side, 3rd from W. end of the Rice tomb taken from the Edwin Rae Collection TRIARC http://hdl.handle.net/2262/56205

The west end of the tomb bears the images of St Margaret of Antioch, the Virgin and Child and St Catherine of Alexandria.  The east end depicts St Edmund the Confessor, the Holy Trinity and St Patrick.  An elaborately carved  cadaver  lies on top the tomb. It is wrapped in a shroud knotted at the head and feet  which has fallen open.

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Image of Cadaver from the Edwin Rea Collection TRIARC  http://hdl.handle.net/2262/56072

Frogs and toads are emerging from the body which is surrounded by  a Latin inscription that translates as

Here lies ‘James Rice,one time citizen of this city,founder of this chapel,and Catherine Broun, his wife.

Whoever you may be, passerby, Stop, weep as you read. I am what you are going to be, and I was what you are.

I beg of you, pray for me ! It is  our lot to pass through the jaws of death.

Lord Christ, we beg of thee, we implore thee, be merciful to us!

Thou who has come to redeem the lost condemn not the redeemed.

 

James Rice is just one of many  Irish people who  went on pilgrimage to Santiago  its likely if he had not been in office at the time of his  pilgrimages they would have gone unrecorded.

References

Bradley, J. and Halpin, A. 1992. The topographical development of Scandinavian and Anglo-Norman Waterford City. In (eds) Nolan, W. & Power, T.  Waterford History and Society Interdisciplinary Essays on theHistory of an Irish County.  Dublin: Geography Publications, 105-130.

Connolly, P. (ed.) 2002. Statue Rolls of the Irish Parliament, Richard III-Henry VIII. Dublin: Four Courts Press.

McEneaney, E. 1995.  A History of Waterford and its Mayors, from the 12th century to the 20th century. Waterford: Waterford Corporation.

 

 

 

 

Medieval Graffiti at Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle in  Co Tipperary is one of my favourite  historic sites.   The castle which dates to the 13th century is built  on a rock outcrop in the River Suir and was once the stronghold of the Butlers of Ormond.  The castle was rebuilt in the  15th and 16th century and there was also  a lot of restoration work carried out in the 19th and 20th century.

 

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View of Cahir castle from the outer ward (courtyard).

The castle has a very rich and interesting history and  I highly recommend a visit  and guided tour of the  Castle.   Abarta Audio Guides also  have an excellent audio guide for   Cahir Castle.

There are many interesting features within the castle but my  favourite  is a piece of medieval graffiti  located on the east gable of  the 13th century gatehouse, which later became the castle keep.  The carving is located just inside the gateway with the portcullis (a latticed/grilled gate).  If you have any difficulty finding the graffiti just ask any of the guides who work here they are so helpful.

 

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Portcullis gateway close to the reception area in the middle ward of the castle.

As you pass through the gateway  keep your eye out for a triangular-shaped stone with some cement surrounding it  at the top of the batter of the east gable of the gate house wall. If you are coming from the middle ward (courtyard) it will be on your left hand side.

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Stone with medieval graffiti on the east gable of the gatehouse at Cahir Castle.

The graffiti consists of a design of three figures which have been designed to fit the natural shape of a stone.  The central figure consists of a triangular-shaped head with a rounded crown sitting on top of  a thin neck and torso. Traces of ribs are visible in the torso.

‘The   lower part of the body is damaged  making it impossible to say where or how it terminated. The figure has a thin left arm and possibly a right arm, bent at the elbow, which many be indicated by a loop on the side. (Holland 1988, 15).

 

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Stone with graffiti showing the three faces.

On either side of the central figure  are two inverted  faces with  eyes, eyebrows and nose.  Both  are of a similar shape to the central figure, with ears placed high on their heads.  All three are contemporary and there appears to have been some thought about the design to make use of the shape of the stone.

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The photo above inverted to show the two side faces more clearly.

Given that  the stone is in situ its likely the  graffiti was carved some time after the gatehouse was built-in the 13th century.  But who carved it and why ?  Was someone bored ? Or  was it  placed here for a specific purpose ?  Most of these question may never be answered but its fun to  try and come up with some answers.  I havent come across anything like this graffiti at any other  Irish medieval site I have visited which makes it all the more special.   For a more  in-depth discussion of the Cahir castle graffiti there is a very interesting article  ‘A Carving in Cahir Castle, Co Tipperary’ by Patrick Holland (full references below).

 

References

http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/south-east/cahircastle/

http://abartaaudioguides.com/cahir-castle

Holland, P. 1988.  ‘A Carving in Cahir Castle, Co Tipperary’, North Munster Antiquarian Journal , Vol. 30, 14-18.

 

 

St Brendan’s Rag Tree and Holy Well at Clonfert Co Galway

Last Sunday I paid a flying visit to the medieval Cathedral at Clonfert Co Galway.

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Medieval church at Clonfert

Clonfert Cathedral was built on the site of an early medieval monastery founded by St Brendan the Navigator circa 557 AD.   The history of Clonfert and its architecture is really interesting  and I will come back to it again but for this post I want to focus on a lesser known feature at the site known as St Brendan’s rag tree.

The tree,  a horse-chestnut,  is located in a grove of trees beside  the medieval church along the nuns walk. This is one of the most impressive rag trees that I have come across.  It is covered in votive offerings.

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St Brendan’s rag tree at Clonfert.

The following text was written  by  Christy Cunniffe  for the  South East Archaeological and Historical Society Newsletter for Spring 2012  and provides an excellent discussion of the tree and its history and folklore.

Devotion at holy wells and sacred trees is still quite common
throughout rural Ireland. This example in the woodland near the
cathedral at Clonfert consists of a holy well dedicated to St Brendan.
It manifests itself in the form of a horse chestnut tree with a small
opening in its northern side. In its original form St Brendan’s Well
consisted of an actual well in the ground located in the corner of a
field some three hundred metres south east of here. According to
tradition the well was desecrated when a dog drowned in it. It then
dried up as is usual for wells that are interfered with in some way .

It moved to a new location in the bough of a large ash tree growing on
the ‘hill of the abbey about a hundred metres away. The folklore
attached to this latter well relates that two young boys climbed the
tree and that one of them ‘peed’ into the waters of the well causing it
to fall in a subsequent storm . So once again because the well was
desecrated it went dry and was forced to move. The well that people
now recognise as St Brendan’s Well was only discovered in the
earlier part of the twentieth century and was recognised as such due
to it resembling the shape of the nearby Romanesque doorway of St
Brendan’s Cathedral. Pilgrims and people seeking cures for illness
visit here and leave votive offerings and requests for cures. In earlier
times it was used only for the cure of warts, but in more recent times
is used as a place to seek cures for sick children, thus explaining the
particular array of votive offerings left by believers. To effect a cure
it is commonly believed that one must make three visits and leave
something (Cunniffe 2012, 2).

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Offerings pinned to St Brendan’s rag tree at Clonfert.

The offerings pinned to the tree are varied.  They range from rosary beads, hair bobbins, sockets, babies dummies,  religious statues and children’s toys and brown scapular.

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Votive offerings surrounding St Brendan’s rag tree at Clonfert.

The base of the  tree is surrounded with a circle of offering some may have fallen from the tree but others  are likely placed here on the ground.  These offering are similar to those pinned to the tree although I notices more items of clothing,  religious statues, inhalers, containers for tablets  and holy water bottles. The volume of objects is astonishing and shows that there is still a great devotion to the tree.

References

Cunniffe, C. 2012 ‘St Brendan’s Tree, Clonfert’, South East Archaeological and Historical Society Newsletter, No 9,  Spring, 2012, 2.

A poem from childhood

My niece  is almost two. My parents  often recite  little poems and rhymes to her that they told to my sister and I  when we were small.  Many of the poems they learned as children  making some at least three generations old.

One of my nieces favourite poems is How many miles to Dublin? which  is always recited while being bounced on one knee. It  goes a follows

Hupp, hupp my little horse, hupp, hupp again sir.
How many miles to Dublin? Three score and ten sir,
Will we be there by candle light? Yes sir and back  sir.

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Photograph of a hansom cab, From ‘Street Life in London’, 1877, by John Thompson and Adolphe Smith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansom_cab#mediaviewer/File:London_Cabmen.jpg)

This is not an Irish poem. According to the book A history of nursery rhymes,   during the 19th century the poem was  commonly recited to children in  Britain as well as Ireland,  where the word  Dublin was substituted  for London or other  English towns.   This book suggests that this poem may date  back even further  to Tudor times. Its really interesting to see how simple family traditions can be preserved  through the generations.

References

Green, P. 1899. A history of Nursery Rhymes. London: Greening & Co. Ltd.

 

Reek Sunday 2014: my pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick

This year I joined with thousands of pilgrims  in the annual pilgrimage to  Croagh Patrick. For those of you who might not know,  Croagh Patrick is a holy mountain  located on the western coast of May on of the southern shores of Clew Bay associated with St Patrick.  The mountain is  764m (2510 ft) in height.  Pilgrimage can place throughout the year but the main focus for pilgrims takes place the last weekend of August.  The  Friday of this weekend is generally the day local  people climb the mountain and the  Sunday often called Reek Sunday is the main day for pilgrims from a wider geographical hinterland.  Each year on this weekend thousands of people  make pilgrimage and ascend the mountain to pray at its summit.  There is a long history of pilgrimage at this site  which I have discussed in a previous post.

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Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo

Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick  2014

On  the morning of  the  27th of  July  I joined with circa twenty thousands  pilgrims in the annual pilgrimage  to the summit of Croagh Patrick. There are a number of approach route the summit. The majority of pilgrim climb from  the townland of Murrisk following a track worn by centuries of feet known as the Cásan Phádraig (the Path of Patrick).

I arrived  by car to the base of the mountain  about 10.00am.  An early start for a Sunday but not at Croagh Patrick, where pilgrims had begun climbing in the early hours of the morning to arrive at  6 am on the summit.  I parked my car in one of the fields converted into temporary car parks to cope with the influx of traffic  and paid a  5 Euro fee for the  day.    As I pulled on my walking boots and pack my rucksack with food and water,  I noticed many of the  people  in my car park were having picnics out of their cars , tea and sandwiches, a reward for a pilgrimage completed or perhaps fuel for the climb ahead.  To begin my climb   I a short distance to a small laneway located beside  the car park of the Croagh Patrick  visitor centre.

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Pilgrims begin their climb at the car park at the base of the mountain.

I have  climbed this mountain many times over the years  in various weather condition while doing research for my PhD thesis  but this was my first climb with actual pilgrims.  I was slightly apprehensive.  I am not a fan of very large crowds  and knowing how difficult the terrain of the mountain is I worried  crowds the  would make the climb uncomfortable however  once I began my fears were soon allayed but I was conscious throughout the climb of what was going on about me.

On the main pilgrimage day  Mountain Rescue groups and the Order of Malta have a very visible presence and  they do really excellent work to help pilgrims get up and down the mountain safely.  Croagh Patrick can be a dangerous mountain.  Much of the route  and in particular the conical top  of the mountain  is covered by loose shale which moves under foot and can be very slippery in wet weather.   The terrain is difficult especially in the final stages.  The weather conditions on the summit can be very changeable  and temperatures at the top of the mountain can be up to 10 degrees colder than at sea level.  It is very important to be prepared for the climb and to  have good footware, appropriate clothing water and a stick.  As I walked to the summit I noticed blood on some of the stones on the path and I witnessed at least 3 people fall  and many more stumble but retain their balance because of their sticks.

The following day I read that there had been 17 casualties on this years pilgrimage   with four people  taken off the mountain via stretcher, and two helicopter evacuations. On my way up I saw one person being carried by stretcher from the cone of the mountain and one person being  air lifted from the mountain during my decent.

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Helicopter getting ready to take an injured person off the mountain

 

The Cásan Phádriag

The pilgrim climb in Murrisk begins at the  base of the mountain at a small laneway on the east side of the carpark of the visitor centre.   This path  takes you passed numerous  stalls  such as the legion of Mary  as well as vendors selling religious items.

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Vendor selling religious items.

At the top of the lane  you come face to face with a large statue  of   St Patrick and get a great view of the mountain looming behind. The weather conditions were pretty good it was a warm day with a slight refreshing breeze.  During my climb summit of the mountain was covered with low-lying  cloud, that cleared  intermittently to reveal the top. I could see  people  on the summit who from a distance looked like tiny colourful ants.

 

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Statue of St Patrick at the base of Croagh Patrick.

On the way up the path was very busy with  a constant stream of people coming up and down the mountain passing each other by. The pilgrims were made up of  all age groups from  as young as 7/8 to  people in their 80’s.  Some people walk alone while others  walk in small  groups of friends or family.

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Pilgrims climbing the lower sections of the Cásan Phádraig.

People climb and participate in Reek Sunday for  many reasons some for religious and spiritual reasons, others to carry on family traditions and other to  experience this unique occasion and to enjoy the amazing scenery.  As I walked along I saw a wide range  of human emotions; a father and his small child  quarrelling about the climb, a woman sitting down and spontaneously crying, children racing along like mountain goats and a woman helping bandage the hand of a stranger who had fallen and cut his fingers.  There was a great sense of  comradery among pilgrims. I noticed  people would often stop and help people who slipped or ask others  who stopped for their breath, if they were ok.  In the final stages of climbing the cone those coming down the mountain would offer words of encouragement “your nearly there now”  “Nearly at the top now”.   I also noted a handful of people climbing the mountain in their bare  feet as part of their penitential pilgrimage.

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Pilgrims walking the lower section of the Cásan Phádraig

Climbing the Croagh Patrick on such a busy day means that you must pay extra attention to where you walk. One often needs to   manoeuvre and avoid  walking in the path of those  coming down  the mountain  as well as those walking  ahead at a slower pace  or those who  stop suddenly in front of you. You also need to be aware of where to put your feet and to try and choose the best path ahead.

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Views of Clew bay from the lower section of Croagh Patrick

Depending on your level of fitness and weather conditions it can take anywhere between 1.5 to 2/3  to reach the summit.  It took me ages as I was constantly stopping to take photos.

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Cásan Phádraig as it levels out before reaching the cone.

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Pilgrims approaching the cone of Croagh Patrick

At the base of the cone of the mountain pilgrims encounter the pilgrim station known as Leacht Mionnáin/Benan. This is a large cairn of stones probably of 19th century date.

 

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Pilgrims walking in prayer around Leacht Benan a the base of the cone.

Pilgrims preforming the rounds (traditional prayer focused on a number of holy foci ) walk in a clockwise direction around the cairn reciting the following prayers; 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Mary’s and  the Creed. Having finished they embark on the final climb  to the summit. The steepness of this section of the route and the movable terrain underfoot  make this the most difficult section of the climb.

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Pilgrims starting to climb the cone of the mountain the final stages of the ascent.

As I climbed upward the summit was hidden from by the clouds. The final stage of the climb is very steep and lots of concentration is needed to keep your balance but  almost without realising it the ground suddenly becomes flat and you realise you have made it in one piece to the summit.

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Some pilgrims perform their pilgrimage barefoot

The first thing I did was to sit down and catch my breath. I was sitting on the left hand side of the church  lots of pilgrims were sitting down in this area too.    It wasn’t long before I noticed the cold air and I was very glad of the fleece top I had packed at the bottom of my rucksack.  The summit is a large flat area enclosed by a dry stone wall  in poor condition on the top are  toilets,  a small church and a number of pilgrim stations.

The pilgrimage rituals on the summit include  visiting the remaining stations or foci of devotion,  as well as attending mass and confession. The first station is an unnamed cairn of stones.

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The pilgrim kneels at the cairn and recites 7 Hail Marys, 7 Our Fathers, and 1 creed.  Next the  pilgrim prays near the modern chapel for the Pope’s intentions and walks 15 times round the oratory reciting 15 Our Fathers, 15 Hail Marys and 1 Creed.

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The back the oratory on the summit of Croagh Patrick

Finally, the pilgrim proceeds to the station known as Leabha Phádraig/Patrick’s bed. This is a small hollow defined by a metal railing. The pilgrim walks clockwise around  reciting  7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys and 1 Creed.

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The small chapel on the summit provided the sacrament of confessions begin on the summit at 7:30am and continuing until 2:00pm.   The first Mass on the summit began  at 8:00am and every half hour thereafter until the last Mass which at 2:00pm.

 

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Pilgrims attending mass on the summit.

Traditionally  the final pilgrim station of the pilgrimage was a visit to large possible Bronze age enclosure called Roiling Mhuire (Virgin’s Cemetery) on the western side of the mountain. Three cairns of stones are found within the enclosure and the pilgrim walked 7 times round each cairn, saying 7 Our Fathers, 7  Hail Mary’s and 1 Creed and finally go round the whole enclosure seven times praying.  The majority of modern pilgrims skip this final stage and finish their pilgrimage on the summit.

 

While the pilgrims pray and perform their rounds  other pilgrims take the opportunity to relax after their arduous climb many  take the opportunity to sit and eat the food they have brought with them or purchased at the food stall that sells tea and sandwiches.

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Stall selling food and hot drinks on the summit.

The summit was covered in cloud but intermittently the cloud would clear to reveal the stunning scenery and let the sun warm the weary pilgrims.

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Views of Clew Bay from the summit.

I also notice people taking selfies on their mobile photos in front of the church or  Leabha Phádraig  while others posed beside a signs placed here in 2013  which says Croagh Patrick Ireland’s Holy Mountain. I am not sure sure why you need a sign to tell you your are on the summit  but those who were photographed beside it seem to like it.

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Sign on top of Croagh Patrick.

 

The final part of the pilgrimage is the decent.  Climbing back down is as difficult if not more so then the ascent. This is also when most accidents take place.  It was here that I found my trusty  stick  most useful.

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Climbing down Craogh Patrick.

Taking part in this pilgrimage was a wonderful experience and I hope I will be lucky enough to take part again in the future. Pilgrims  who climb here should also be aware that the constant foot fall of pilgrims and tourists whose numbers can be up to 100, 000  during the year  is causing sever erosion of the mountain. To find out more about this check out  Mountaineering Ireland website.

Having returned safely down the mountain I  ended my pilgrimage here by  visiting the nearby sites of Glaspatrick and Kilgeever-   posts to follow.

Further reading on this years pilgrimage.

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/croagh-patrick-pilgrimage-17-people-3922909

http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0727/633338-croagh-patrick/

http://www.mountaineering.ie/aboutus/news/2013/default.aspx?iid=305

http://pilgrimagemedievalireland.com/2012/07/29/an-overview-of-the-history-of-pilgrimage-to-croagh-patrick/

http://liminalentwinings.com/path-croagh-patrick/