An Irish great-grandmother amazed onlookers as she reached the summit of one of Ireland’s highest mountains the morning after a session.
Kathleen Nicoll, an Irish 87-year-old great-grandmother, recently climbed Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, accompanied by her son and two grandchildren.
According to Kathleen, the idea to climb Ireland’s holy mountain occurred last year when “something clicked in her head” while watching a television show. It was this moment that provided her with the motivation to climb the famous 2,500 ft (762 m) Mayo mountain.
Croagh Patrick – Ireland’s holy mountain
Croagh Patrick is known as Ireland’s holy mountain and has been recognised as a sacred site in Ireland for thousands of years. St Patrick, who fasted there for 40 days and nights before he banished snakes from Ireland, made the area famous.
Approximately 20,000 to 25,000 pilgrims trek up the mountain yearly on the last Sunday in July. Those who ascend the ancient mountain are greeted with breathtaking views.
Kathleen Nicoll – an Irish great-grandmother
Kathleen managed to climb up and down the Connacht mountain, which is 12.9 km (8 mi) in total, in just over eight hours.
Regarding her determination to climb the iconic mountain, Kathleen’s daughter Caroline said, “When something clicks in her head, she is very determined. Given her age, I was frightened she’d fall. But she wouldn’t listen to anyone who had their doubts.
“It was a bucket list item for her. She said – It can be done; we’ll find a way. She is such a strong lady”.
Grandson Johnny was astonished that the 87-year-old made the climb after a few drinks in a local pub the night before.
“We decided to go up to our local to have three pints, and that’s it, as we were climbing the next morning and we were home by 11 pm,” Johnny commented. “We were being sensible going to bed at 11”.
87 years old – defying age expectations
Despite facing a challenging climb, Kathleen persevered and reached the summit amidst scenes of jubilation. Johnny said Kathleen was highly motivated not to give up until she reached the summit and offered her words of encouragement during the climb.
“She looked to me for divine inspiration and I told her to plough on,” said Johnny. “I said your biggest regret is you never climbed Croagh Patrick. I said if you did walk down this mountain now, it’ll be an even bigger regret you didn’t keep going”.
Johnny recounted how Kathleen looked at him, agreed, and plodded on.
“She was thinking about her life, her family, her kids, and her husband, who’d passed. It was something she really wanted to do – she wouldn’t give in. She gave me a big kiss on the lips to say thank you for helping her up,” explained Johnny.