As we arrived in County Mayo, Ireland for our ascent of Croagh Patrick, we could not help to think of our great ancestor Patrick Mayo whom the mountain and county were aptly named after.
After learning of the true meaning of the mountain (Hint: it has nothing to do with Patrick Mayo) and debating the pros and cons of falconry as a career path (All pros and no cons, so it was not much of a debate), we stopped by the local convenience store for some beverages. Due to the previous night of heavy drinking (surprise surprise in Ireland), we chose water for the journey up and Guinness for the journey down.
Getting to the base of the mountain at 2 PM, we were told the total hike takes about 6 hours. With the last bus heading back to Galway at 6:30, we would have to get up and down the mountain and then to bus station (30+ minute walk or 10 min taxi ride) to get to the bus station in time. The ticket lady said we should only go halfway.
Ha. We ran up the mountain, passing hundreds of people along the way and reached the top of the mountain at 4 PM.
The last hundred or so yards were at a 45+ degree slope with no path, just rocks that slide down the mountain every time you stepped on them. For every step, we lost half a step due to sliding. This really sapped our energy, but when we reached the top we paid homage to the surrounding area and the church at the summit.
We then sat down popped open two Guinness and talked about zip-lining down the mountain. The Guinness breathed life back into us and then we were off.
The top 100 yards of the climb were the best on the way down because it was similar to skim boarding as we jumped and slid down the slope. This is not recommended however, for if we tumbled forward, we would have made it down the mountain in a matter of minutes. Other than stopping at a spot to chuck rocks into a pond (don’t knock it until you try it), we made it down and to the bus station by 6:30.
However, we had the time wrong so we had to get on a train to go to another bus station, to catch the same bus to Galway. We did, and the Irish adventure continued…
Rest in peace, St. Patrick: