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Atlantic Tabor: The Pilgrims of Croagh Patrick


Stunning photographs and compelling analysis of the pilgrimage phenomenon

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For five consecutive years, the Dublin-based Polish photojournalists Tomasz Bereska and Tomasz Szustek travelled to Croagh Patrick on ‘Reek Sunday’ to take portraits and candid shots of some of the many varied pilgrims who climb the 'Holy Mountain'. Their empathetic work captures the great diversity and different backgrounds of the pilgrims but also, somehow, what they have in common, what might be called their ‘pilgrim spirit’.

To complement these wonderful images, Dr Patrick Claffey of Trinity College Dublin has written a scholarly but accessible analysis of the broader pilgrimage phenomenon across different religions, as well as a more detailed exploration of Croagh Patrick. In a book dedicated to ‘pilgrims and seekers everywhere’, he explains how pilgrimages were once primarily sacred but increasingly, in our post-religious time, they have become secular as people respond to different spiritual needs.

Dr Claffey lists several of the holy mountains of the world and some of their associated pilgrimages; he describes the myths, prehistory and early history associated with Croagh Patrick and examines the role ‘the Reek’ came to play over the centuries in Connacht Catholicism and eventually in an emerging Irish nationalism. He looks at the alternate routes to the summit and the devotional practice of the pilgrimage. He concludes with a quite personal postscript that leads him back to the pilgrims of the holy mountain he had climbed in his youth and came to rediscover many years later.

About the Author

Dr Patrick Claffey, born in Castlerea, County Roscommon, is Wallace Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department for the Study of Religions and Theology, Trinity College Dublin. His areas of interest are African and Asian Christianity and the religions of Southeast Asia. He he has travelled widely in these parts of the world for almost forty years. He has published several books and writes for a number of journals and reviews. He is a priest currently working in Dublin.

About the Photographers

Tomasz Bereska was born in 1982 in Poland. He graduated from Silesian Higher School of Economics in Katowice and moved to Ireland in 2007. He has worked as a freelance photographer with publications in Polish community magazines in Ireland and in European music magazines. Co-founder of freelance photojournalism agency Uspecto Images, he is also a producer and videographer of music videos for the leading Irish singers and bands.

Tomasz Szustek was born in 1975 in Poland, graduated from Jagiellonian University, Kraków and moved to Ireland in 2003. He has been working as a freelance photojournalist for Polish community magazines and websites in Ireland and developing at the same time personal photographic projects in Ireland and North Africa. His photos have been published in newspapers and magazines across the Europe. Co-founder of freelance photojournalism agency Uspecto Images, at the end of 2014 he published his first book, Visual Notes from the Recession Time. Ireland 2008-2013.

More Information
Author Claffey, Patrick
Print Format Paperback
ISBN-13 978-1-908308-89-4
Illustrations 81 colour photographs and 62 B&W photographs
Date of Publication October 27, 2016
Number of Pages 220
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