Reek Sunday

The winter sunrise turns the snow on Croagh Patrick pink on a winter's morning just before Christmas Day in 2010. There was a particularly cold spell that winter, and the temperature at the base of the mountain was -10 celcius.
According to news reports, between twenty-five and thirty thousand pilgrims climbed Croagh Patrick mountain in co. Mayo yesterday, to mark Reek Sunday. The weather was fairly good for a change – I’ve been drenched, blasted by wind and damn near frozen on the summit, and that was in the summer. The picture above shows weather conditions that might have tested even the hardy climbers yesterday. Taken a few days before Christmas in 2010, when the country was hit by a particularly cold spell, it was minus ten degrees Celsius at the base of the mountain. I have no idea what the temperature was at the summit, but between the altitude and the gale-force winds, it was enough to turn one of my hands numb the second I removed the inner and outer glove. Nevertheless, there are few things more beautiful than having this snow-covered mountain completely to oneself at sunrise – the snow turning first pink, then yellow and finally white as the sun rose over the horizon. And the view from the stop was only massive, too.

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