Waterford tourism boost as large crowd expected for Nire Valley Walking Festival

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@waterfordlive.ie

Waterford tourism boost as large crowd expected for Nire Valley Walking Festival

Waterford tourism boost as large crowd expected for Nire Valley Walking Festival

Waterford’s most scenic and magnetic mountains will be a hive of outdoor activity and fun next month as the 25th annual Nire Valley Autumn Walking Festival gets underway and outdoor pursuits enthusiasts from all over Ireland and beyond quite literally take to the hills!

The long-running festival takes place from October 12 to 14, is a welcome tourism revenue-spinner for the entire Nire Valley area and is always a wonderful weekend. It offers enthusiasts of all levels and interests fantastic walking, great talking, the back-up of excellent local guides and the company and comradery of like-minded friends, festival spokesperson, Mary Wall, said.

“We have walks to suit everyone’s ability and all interests, ranging from those graded C and C+ to B and B + . There are three walks from which to choose both on the Saturday and the Sunday. Registration for each takes place in Ballymacarbry Community Centre, people can just turn up and no pre-booking is necessary."

“The only event that requires pre-booking is the Festival Dinner. It is always a great event and features a feast of great food and is followed by local, traditional entertainment. Nire Valley Failte acknowledge and appreciate the help of Waterford City and County Council in running the walking festival and the invaluable support of the guides and landowners," Mary added.

“Everyone taking part does so at their own risk and we advise that proper walking gear and boots are essential. Safety is paramount and those who turn up in unsuitable attire run the risk of not being allowed to partake. Fees for the walks range from just €15 for one day or €25 for the two-day event. Light refreshments will be offered after each event,” she continued.

The opening Saturday is a busy one and the programme includes a B+ The Four Peaks Walk. Registration is at 8.30am and the bus leaves at 9am for Bay Lough car park.

Participants will negotiate four peaks over 650m, including Knockmealdowns peak at 794m, a very picturesque walk finishing at Mount Melleray Abbey. This walk is 15km long and is expected to take up to five hours.

The second option on the day is a B-rated 15km walk – the Koncknaree/Knockanaffrin Loop. It leaves at 9.30am. Option three is in Irish, a C+ Siulóid as Ghaeilge Gleann na hUidhre. Registration for that is at 10am and it will follow the ancient funeral path of Boithrín na Sochraide, returning via the Sgillogue Lakes

Sunday’s walks all start out with registration at Ballymacarbry Community Centre. The first is a B+ Leacht na Frankee to Knocklisheen Walk. Registration is at 9am. The walk will see enthusiasts ascending Leacht na Frankee and down to the ancient village of Glenary - crossing stream and descending down into Knocklisheen wood. It is a 12km trek and will take up to four hours.

The second option on the Sunday is a B walk. It’s the Traditional Nire Valley Walk. Registration is at 9.30am and the walk is 10km and will take about three hours. The final option is a C-rated Deerpark Loop. Registration for that is at 10.30am. The historical walk takes in the Old Mill, Lord Ashtown's Estate, the Soup Kitchens of Famine times and the ancient burial grounds of Cillsiogáin.

Pre-booking for the dinner is essential and anyone interested should contact Ann on (086) 3924256 as soon as possible. Detailed information on www.nirevalley.com or talk to Ann (086) 3924256 or Mary (052) 6136134 for more on the walks and the festival in general.