|Westport House, ancestral home of the Marquess of Sligo, stands on the site of the castle once occupied by Grace O’Malley, called the Pirate Queen of Connaught, who ruled the sea in Elizabethan times. ... She defied Elizabeth I of England who offered her a title. Grace’s descendent, Maude, married John Browne whose family arrived in Ireland when the first John Browne was appointed Sheriff of Mayo.|
In 1741 John Browne IV hired Richard Cassels to design the mansion. ...James Wyatt redesigned the west front. Present Marquess of Sligo: Jeremy Browne.
A visitor can walk from Clew Bay past Westport House & follow a path bordering the Carrow Beg River to the town of Westport. ...Wyatt was also employed to design the town center. The mall, as well as the Octagon from which streets radiate in classic style. The cathedral on the south mall is floodlit at night & when the bells chime, flocks of starlings erupt into the sky. – The Coast of Connaught: Westport & Croagh Patrick: Value-Magazine.org ©March 16th, 2007
|Croagh Phádraig / Cruach Phádraig (Patricks Hill) / Mons Aigli / Cruachan Aigle / Croaghan Aigle (Eagle’s Peak) / Irelands Holy Mountain / the Reek|
5 Miles from Westport, overlooking the villages of Muiresc Aigle: Murrisk: Eagle Sea & Lecanvey: Little Stone: County Mhaigh Eo: Plain of Yew (pron. Mwee-oe)
Conical shaped Quartzite Mountain with veins of gold formed during the Ice Age overlooking the 50 teardrop islands of Cuan Mó: Clew Bay in the Atlantic Ocean where Saint Patrick spent 40 days of Lent praying and fasting. The dwelling place of the deity Crom Dubh: Dark Bent One. On April 18 & August 24 the setting sun slides down the northern slope, as if rolling down the hill. Called a double sunset it occurs at the Paps of Jura, a holy mountain in Western Scotland.
The last Sunday in July, Garland Sunday, is the traditional day to climb the sacred mountain. Hundreds of people go on pilgrimages. It is part of the festival of Lughnasa: Raven-Gleam Night, marking the end of summer. Women slept on the summit during Lughnasa to encourage fertility. During Penal times the relic at the summit was destroyed & the monastery at the base of the mountain, Muiresc Abbey, was shut down. Saint Patrick’s Chapel built at the summmit in 1905 celebrates the mass on Garland Sunday & August 15. The Boheh stone known as St. Patrick’s Chair is along the path to the top, and a Celtic hill fort is at the base of the mountain. The winding path up the edge goes to Lugnademon (762 meters) which is beside Croagh Patrick. After reaching Lugnademon one must turn left for the final hike up Croagh Patrick (510 metres).
Tóchar Phádraig: Patrick’s Causeway is the ancient route to the hill from Cruachain in Roscommon to Caher Island in the west. Halfway along the route (22 miles left) on Lennane Road is the twelfth century Aughagower Patrician Monastery in County Mhaigh Eo with its round tower, holy well, St Patrick’s Bed & his Bath. Soil from the base of the sacred tree by the bath is said to have curative powers. The road from Ballintubber Abbey has been cleared. Until the 1970s the pilgrimage was made during the hours of darkness, but now is in daylight. (3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13)