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Three-year-old treated for hypothermia during Croagh Patrick climb

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Croagh Patrick on a relatively calm day
Croagh Patrick on a relatively calm day

A three-year-old girl was among ten people treated for hypothermia yesterday despite warnings the adverse weather would make the ascent up Croagh Patrick dangerous.

Rescue teams have voiced their concern after a number of people ignored a weather warning to make the annual pilgrimage up the steep mountain.

The Reek Sunday pilgrimage, which is a 765m ascent, was cancelled  after a yellow weather alert was issued by Met Eireann.

The adverse weather conditions meant the climb would be very dangerous, especially for families with young children. Conditions on the mountain were described as among the worst many walkers had seen in decades.

However, a number of people ignored the warnings issued by authorities and opted to tackle the climb. 

Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Paul Feeney from Mayo Mountain Rescue said it was frustrating and baffling to him and volunteers to see people ignoring the weather warning. 

"We advised a young couple with a 12-week old baby that they should not be on this mountain," he said. 

"We went over to them and we said 'this is not the right place to be'... they ignored us and continued up the summit."

A three-year-old child was treated for mild hypothermia following the climb, Feeney said. 

"We work on this hill, we know exactly what it can do and how quickly things can turn bad – listen to what we’re saying," Feeney added. 

The climb was called off after consultation between local organisations, including the Gardaí and Mountain Rescue. Authorities said those who decided to attempt the climb were putting the lives of themselves and the rescue teams in danger. 

Many only turned back after they reached the ridge, where they were met with strong winds and poor visibility.

Croagh Patrick is considered the country's holiest mountain and the pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1,500 years.

Part of the temporary structure erected for Masses on the top of the mountain was blown away as was Mayo Mountain Rescue's medical tent.

The Coastguard had also warned its helicopter would be unable to land due to zero visibility on the mountain.