A Catholic bishop has said many people in Ireland feel let down by what they thought was the stable world of banking and commerce, as well as by the Church and governments.

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam said developments in these institutions had created feelings of fear and insecurity.

He was addressing pilgrims in Westport on the eve of today's annual climb of Croagh Patrick in County Mayo.

Overnight rain has made climbing conditions difficult for an estimated 20,000 people taking part in the annual pilgrimage.

A small number of pilgrims climbed the mountain last night but the biggest groups began making their way to the summit early this morning.

This year's pilgrims include groups from the US, Britain, Australia and many European countries.

The first of 14 Masses was celebrated in the Oratory on the summit at 8am.