Climbing Croagh Patrick: the Best Trip of My Life

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In this personal essay of exploring the best trip of my life I will talk about what the trip up Croagh Patrick meant to me on a number of levels, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I will discuss the special bond that was strengthened between my aunt Siobhan and my best friend Abby. I will describe the experience of the day and the positive effects it had on me in the short and longer term.

I have always wanted to climb Croagh Patrick since a very young age. I have heard many a great story about climbing the holy mountain so when my aunt decided she would climb it in the summer just gone my best friend Abby and I couldn’t surpass this amazing opportunity. We decided that we would all climb it together. This climb turned out to be more than just an ascend up a holy mountain but a very special bonding trip that I will never forget.

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After driving for about an hour longer than expected we finally reached our destination of Croagh Patrick. We discovered so many little winding country roads that we shouldn’t have come across on the car journey. This was all thanks to google maps and the misleading directions that were given to us. Our excitement was uncontrollable as we drove in the car park entrance. We were in awe as we looked up at this huge mountain that almost touched the white fluffy clouds that were located in the deep blue sky over head. Not knowing what to expect we were ready for the challenge that lay ahead.

As we started our climb, I looked around and I was completely amazed at the breath-taking scenery that surrounded us. As I took the first few steps up Croagh Patrick I turned around and I was overlooking Westport bay. The clear blue sky glistened off the crystal-clear water. It was a perfect day to climb Croagh Patrick. I took deep breaths in and appreciated my surroundings. I was taken back at the breath-taking scenery and I couldn’t wait to reach the top of the summit to see the spectacular landscape from nearly 3000 feet in the air. As I closed my eyes the noise of mumbled voices and birds humming filled the air. I was very grateful to be able to have the opportunity to climb Croagh Patrick.

A few hundred feet into the climb we came across the statue of St. Patrick. I felt it was only right to stop and say a prayer to St. Patrick and thank him for allowing me to be able to experience this amazing opportunity. I felt very humbled by this whole experience.

The first stage of the journey was mainly rocky with little chippings of granite scattered all over the trail up the side of the mountain. After about an hour into the climb we stopped for a quick water break. We took out our cameras out to take photographs of the picturesque views that could be seen from the midpoint of our climb. When we started out on this journey, we decided that we would record the day and take as many pictures and videos as we could. We wanted to make a video so that we could relive the experience in months and even years to come. We also wanted to be able to share our experience with friends, family and even on social media. When I turned to look back at the scenic views, I was amazed by how far away I already was from the statue of St. Patrick. It had shrunk to a tiny sparkling white spot.

As I sat on a rock observing the scenic views, I couldn’t help but notice a family making the climb barefoot. I later learned that this family climb the holy mountain every year as an act of penance. I found this very inspiring. I am also aware that roughly 5000 pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday. Many do it as an act of faith and spirit development. It is something I would like to do on a regular basis too as I benefited from it on so many different levels.

When we hit the 2000 feet mark, I was exhausted I could see the top but yet it seemed so far away. I never thought I would make it to the top but with motivation from my aunt I decided I have come so far it would be a shame not to finish the climb out. We decided to sit for a rest, and take another water break, before starting the steep ascent. As I climbed, my breathing and legs got heavier. Every time I took another step, I kept reminding myself only a small bit more. This is how everyone was getting up the last few hundred feet, you almost had to crawl up on your hands and knees. One wrong move and you could go sliding down the mountain and you could have seriously injured yourself.

Every step was becoming harder and harder. Breathing became a small bit more difficult as we were nearly 3000 feet in the air. Siobhan continued to encourage Abby and I. As I climbed this section of the mountain, all I could see was rocks. I wasn’t able to see the top until I get there. After an immense amount of encouragement from Siobhan and some final pushes, Siobhan shrieked with excitement ‘We are there!”. After almost 2 hours of climbing, we had made it to the summit. What a relief, the emotions of pure joy hit me. I couldn’t believe I had made it to the top.

Finally, a lifelong dream of mine had come true. I had waited many years for this moment and I was finally able to experience it. As I looked around me the backdrop was something you would see in a movie. I was in complete awe. As we sat on the jagged quartz rocks taking in the breath-taking scenery we chatted and chuckled about the amazing trip this was. I can honestly say this was the best trip of my life.

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