Some 20,000 people climbed the 2,500 feet (762 metres) high Croagh Patrick mountain in County Mayo, Ireland on Sunday (25 July) to make the annual pilgrimage to a statue of St.
GV Pilgrims walking up mountain (4 shots)
GV Red Cross helpers up mountain (2 shots)
GV, CU St. Patrick's statue
GV, CU People walking around statue (3 shots)
GV People walking down mountain
GV Woman being carried down mountain on stretcher
GV St. Patrick's statue and valley
The pilgrims cut walking sticks from local trees and after their pilgrimage they leave the sticks in a pile at the foot of the mountain. Local legend says that the sticks are removed in the night by fairies and that one day a stairway of gold steps - each representing a stick - will wind its way to the top of Croagh Patrick.
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Background: Some 20,000 people climbed the 2,500 feet (762 metres) high Croagh Patrick mountain in County Mayo, Ireland on Sunday (25 July) to make the annual pilgrimage to a statue of St. Patrick - Ireland's patron saint.
SYNOPSIS: The conditions for walking were good, despite a slight mist, as the first group set off up the mountain at six o'clock in the morning. Many of the pilgrims are elderly and make the journey each year. It has become a tradition that the walk takes place on the last Sunday in July each year and many walk up the mountain path-ways with bare feet. There are short stops for prayer along the way at Stations of the Cross and by statues.
Saint Patrick was born in England in the late fourth century and was sent to Ireland to be a slave of King Niall. The mountain is said to have been visited by Saint Patrick and according to one story, he began his ministry there. For some time since, Croagh Patrick has been a place of annual pilgrimage.
Catholics from around the world go to County Mayo to make that pilgrimage. But for a few people the journey proves to be too much. Most of the injuries are minor though and few are deterred from returning to County Mayo each year.