Mayo gears up for influx of thousands to Croagh Patrick and Bonniconlon

Mayo will see an influx of some 40,000 people this weekend with both the annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage and the Bonniconlon Show seeing thousands come to the county to take part in the events.

On Sunday the annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage will see an estimated 25,000 people climb Ireland's holy mountain from the early hours of the morning. Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, will lead the 2016 national Reek Sunday pilgrimage on Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.

He will be joined this year by Archbishop Charles J Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, who will preach this year’s Croagh Patrick homily. This year’s Reek Sunday pilgrimage takes place in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for more than 1,500 years. On Sunday, on the summit, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession ) will be available from 7.30am until 2pm. The first Mass will be celebrated at 8am and every half hour thereafter until the final Mass at 2pm.

Keeping everyone safe on the mountain will be the voluntary Mayo Mountain Rescue team, who have been organising and co-ordinating the emergency care and rescue service for the pilgrims who take part in the annual climb. There will be in the region of 100 mountain rescue personnel involved on Sunday with members from all 12 mountain rescue teams in the country taking part alongside assistance from the Order of Malta, Mayo County Council, Air Corps, An Garda Siochana, Civil Defence, members of the Murrisk Development Association, and local landowners.

This is usually the busiest weekend for the Mayo Mountain Rescue team, but so far this year they have already had 25 call outs on Croagh Patrick, including a number this week already and this represents an increase of 30 per cent on the same time period of last year. Mayo Mountain Rescue is appealing for anyone taking on the climb to be prepared and make sure they are wearing the correct footwear, they advise wearing sturdy boots, bring waterproof clothing, and some food and water. They also advise that temperatures can vary by as much as seven degrees between sea level and the summit.

Bonniconlon ready for the big show

On Monday, up to 30,000 people are expected to descend on the north Mayo village of Bonniconlon for its annual show.

The Bonniconlon show has become one of the most popular shows in the country over recent years. From its foundation in 1949 Bonniconlon Show and Gykhama has expanded every year to become one of the largest shows in Ireland. Situated on the Sligo-Mayo border at the foot of the Ox Mountains, Bonniconlon opens its gates to 30,000 specators every August Bank Holiday Monday for its annual show and gymkhana.

There is something for everyone, 600 showing classes for horses, ponies, cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, dogs, pets, and classes to cater for everybody interested in the domestic arts section. It also has classes for special needs, and a junior section. The Bonniconlon Show hosts eight All Ireland finals competitions for horses, ponies, cattle, sheep, poultry, domestic arts, and the national sheep champions of champions competition in all sections of sheep and a Connacht dog championship.

It will also have in excess of 250 trade stands on the day. There will be 10 events in the gymkhana for horses and ponies, plus loose jumping with more than €5,000 in prize money. Competitors from all over Ireland will compete in the sheaf tossing events for young and old. For the children there will be the bonny baby show, and a children’s party and disco with special guests. There will be lots of side attractions including live music by The Outlaws from 1pm to 3pm, and Michael English from 3pm to 5pm, plus many more live acts including Pamela Gilmartin and Seamus Moore. For more information contact Gerry Durcan on (087 ) 6370073 or email [email protected].


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