Pilgrims at the Peak

On the last Sunday in July, tens of thousands of pilgrims climb Ireland's Croagh Patrick to honor the revered patron saint of Ireland. This tradition, known as Reek Sunday, has occurred for 1,500 years and pre-dates both St. Patrick and Christianity. Some historians believe that climbing the mountain was part of a pagan ritual associated with Lughnasadh, the Gaelic festival marking the
start of the harvest season. One legend tells of how St. Patrick went to the mountain to convert a pagan king to Catholicism. Patrick battled the king’s mother, a demon in disguise, and cast her into a lake far below, successfully converting the king.