Tochar Phadraig

From Ballintubber runs the old pilgrim road to Croagh Patrick, 22 miles (35.4 km) away. The road is known as Tochar Phadraig, after Ireland's patron saint. However, Tochar Phadraig predates christianity and was probably built around 350AD, as the main route from Cruachan (seat of the kings of Connacht) to Cruachan Aigle, the pagan name for Croagh Patrick. This path was one of the major pilgrimage walks in Ireland until the suppression of the pilgrimage around 1588 when it went into decline.

In 1987 the Tochar walk was restored from Ballintubber Abbey and since then, it has become possible to walk the Tochar from Balla.

The Tochar Phadraig is a mixture of roads and cross-country with a variety of terrains, and because much of the walk is over private land, pilgrims are asked to respect the property of landowners who generously allow people to access the walk.

The walk takes place over a Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday morning and afternoon, beginning with Mass in Ballintubber Abbey and ending with the ascent and descent of Croagh Patrick. Support and transport is provided along the route, enabling the pilgrim to drop out if they feel at any time that they are unable to complete the tochar. Even in July, Irish weather is unpredictable, so pilgrims and walkers are urged to remember this in their preparations and to bring suitable clothing for cold and rain.

Guided walks can also be arranged.