The DYC recently invited young people from across our diocese to join with them on the Tochar Padraig pilgrimage walk from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick. Over 100 young people completed the walk which took place over two stages, on December 28th 2008 and March 1st 2009.
The Tochar Padraig is a pilgrimage of medieval origin, based on traditions which go back to the very dawn of Christianity in Ireland. St Patrick fasted for 40 days and 40 nights on Croagh Patrick before beginning his mission of preaching the Gospel to the pagan Irish in the mid-fifth century. Among his first activities was to baptise converts at a well some distance from the mountain. This place came to be known as Baile an Tobair, or Ballintubber, the town of the well.
The Tochar Padraig covers a distance of approximately 35km (22miles) over a mixture of roads and cross-country with a variety of terrains. It follows the route of a highway which went from the ancient seat of the Kings of Connaught to Croagh Patrick. This was in use before the building of the abbey, and the path was one of the major pilgrimage walks in Ireland until the suppression of the pilgrimage around 1588 when it went into decline. Ballintubber Abbey was opened in 1220 and even after fire, the Penal Laws and a restoration, it is the only church in use in Ireland where Mass has been said continuously since its foundation in the thirteenth century. The Tochar Padraig was restored from Ballintubber Abbey in 1987.
check out the DYC photos of the walk!