News 2020


Title:  Restoration work commences at Croagh Patrick
Date:  09/12/2020

Restoration work commences at Croagh Patrick

Mountaineering Ireland has congratulated the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group on the commencement of the sustainable access and habitat restoration project on the pilgrim path on Croagh Patrick.

Matt McConway, an experienced path builder from Scotland, who has done work in the Mournes and the MacGillycuddy Reeks in recent years, has been appointed as Path Manager for the project. Matt leads a team of four trainees who will implement the Croagh Patrick Sustainable Access and Habitat Restoration plan over the next two years. The team includes Frank McMahon a founding member of Mountain Meitheal South East and a member of the Limerick Climbing Club. Two of the other team members are graduates of the Outdoor Education course at GMIT Mayo.

On behalf of Mountaineering Ireland President Paul Kellagher welcomed the news that work had commenced on the Croagh Patrick path and praised Martin Keating, the Chairman of the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group for his skilled leadership and his commitment to the project. Paul commented that the pilgrim path on Croagh Patrick has been acknowledged as the most eroded mountain route on the island of Ireland and that its repair presents opportunities to share learnings with those involved in managing other upland paths.

The technical solution for Croagh Patrick, which has been over five years in the making, came out of 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 withstatutory 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 Croagh Patrick Stakeholders 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. The project is co-funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Mayo County Council.

Announcing the commencement of the project, Martin Keating acknowledged the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development, and in particular Deputy Michael Ring in his former role as Minister. On behalf he also thanked the members of Mayo County Council for providing match funding of €120,000 for the project.

Martin recognised the commitment and support of all stakeholders for the project, particularly the mountain shareholders without whose generosity and trust the project could not have been advanced. In his press statement Martin expressed his appreciation for the input of Mountaineering Ireland over the last five years, and thanked Chris York, Walking-the-Talk Consultancy, and Caroline Goucher for their dedication to the project. Finally, he thanked Portwest for their sponsorship of PPE and the Westport Credit Union for providing banking facilities.

Having reached this significant milestone, Martin said the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group looks forward to the next two years, as the plans to deliver a shared vision for Croagh Patrick are put in place, stone by stone. The group is confident that they have a team in place with the capacity and commitment to deliver an exemplar access solution for Croagh Patrick, while developing the skills, structures and arrangements required to maintain and manage the mountain sustainably into the future.  

Photo: the team working on Croagh Patrick, left to right:David Doyle, Frank McMahon, Bernard Burke, Matt McConway and Tulio Jesus


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