Catholic priests have been asked to assist with the Annual National Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick or 'Reek Sunday'.

A greater number of priests are needed to climb the Reek on one or more of the pilgrimage dates in July in order to hear Confessions and celebrate Mass on the summit.

The Reek Pilgrimage normally takes place on the last Sunday in July and up to now the Sacraments have only been available on that day.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the organiser Father Charlie McDonnell has said it would be impossible to facilitate it on one day.

Masses will be limited to the numbers permitted for outdoor gatherings at that particular time, which currently apply to 100 people up to 4 July and 200 people from 5 July.

The aim is to have two priests on the summit on any given day.

Croagh Patrick, lies within the parish of Westport in Co Mayo.

The pilgrimage is associated with Saint Patrick who, in 441AD, spent 40 days and nights fasting on the summit.

The name ‘Reek Sunday’ comes from many pagan customs being Christianised by Patrick, including the festival of Lughnasa which marked the start of the harvest festival honouring the ancient pagan god Lugh.

The festival’s tradition became absorbed into the new Christian beliefs and locally become known as Domhnach na Cruaiche (Reek Sunday).

The Reek pilgrimage has been undertaken for 1,500 years and an estimated 100,000 pilgrims visit the holy mountain annually.