Croagh Patrick

Since St. Patrick is the patron of this blog, I must share this story with you. It concerns the place where the first Snakes were Driven Out.

A ripple of applause greeted the first Mass yesterday morning on the summit of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain, as tens of thousands of pilgrims laboured up its treacherous approaches in brilliant and unexpected sunshine.

Rising in a perfect cone on the southern shore of Clew Bay, St Patrick’s Mountain is one of the world’s oldest pilgrimage sites. Its importance as a holy place predates the arrival of Christianity and the national saint’s 40-day fast on its summit.

During his Lenten fast in the year 441, St Patrick is said to have dispelled all the snakes from Ireland by throwing a bell down the mountainside. (...)

The pilgrimage took root soon after that date but in the 12th century was moved to the summer months after 30 pilgrims perished on the mountain during a thunderstorm on the night of March 17, 1113.

That also conveniently put paid to the more ancient celebrations on the mountaintop. For the Celts it was the dwelling place of the deity Crom Dubh and the principal site of the harvest festival of Lughnasa, where women slept the night on the summit in the hope of encouraging fertility. MORE

Someday I will have to travel to this place and make a wireless post to Driving Out The Snakes. Hopefully St. Patrick will approve.

Irish hat tip: Mark Shea

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