The Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group formed in November 2015 as a Community response to concerns over the condition of the mountain. Other concerns included safety and liability of shareholders and landowners, the status of Croagh Patrick as Ireland’s Holy Mountain and the absence of structures to manage the impact of growing numbers of recreational users on the natural environment, habitats and ecosystems of the area.
The group has a broad representation of stakeholders including Mountain Shareholders, Church, Murrisk Community, Mayo County Council, South West Mayo Development Company, Mountaineering Ireland, Mayo Mountain Rescue, Croagh Patrick Archaeological Society and the Tourism and Adventure Sectors.
The Sustainable Access and Habitat Restoration aim is to address the erosion issues on Croagh Patrick through specialised path repair, development and restoration work. This will include aggregate and stone pitched paths, path drainage works consisting of culverts, cross drains and water bars. Habitat restoration will take place on the heavily eroded areas.
Benefits of Solution
The technical solution, which has been five years in the making, involved a unique collaborative process between the most experienced upland path consultants and contractors in Scotland, England and Ireland together with all the stakeholders on Croagh Patrick. It involved trial path work on the Summit to confirm that the proposed solution for this unique upland site was fit for purpose. The Planning process involved consultation, with the statutory consultees, together with extensive engagement with Community, Church and Recreational users and has confirmed the support of all for the project including the formal approval of the Planning Authority. The Stakeholder Group has put in place an appropriate Corporate structure and has acquired an interest in the path to facilitate the project proceeding in an orderly and safe manner.
In parallel with the efforts to reduce the physical damage to Croagh Patrick, measures will be put in place to help reduce the pressure on the mountain so that the experience for every visitor is as high as possible. This will involve an ongoing programme promoting appropriate use, managing expectations and encouraging people to consider their potential impact on Croagh Patrick as well as helping them to understand the historical and cultural significance of the mountain, through interpretation. This will be actioned through the use of an Event Assessment Tool based on the Mountaineering Ireland Guidelines for Events in Upland Areas.