I HAVE TO CONFESS, CROAGH PATRICK is still on my bucket list. Rising on Ireland’s northwest coast right beside the sea in County Mayo, the stately mountain — actually a high hill — is one of the island’s sacred spots. Back in the year 441, St. Patrick is said to have fasted there 40 days and 40 nights, interrupting his vigil to drive all the snakes into the sea. The ascent has become a pilgrimage site for devoted Catholics, some said to make the ascent barefoot or on their knees. It’s also a popular destination for hikers and for hardy locals who jaunt up once or twice a week just for exercise.
When American travelers make plans to visit Portugal, Lisbon is usually their first stop.