For the second year in a row, Ballyhoura Walking Festival (7th - 9th October), in collaboration with Joyce Brothers Music Festival (6th - 9th Oct), will take place in Kilfinane, Co. Limerick, with a jam-packed schedule of events happening throughout the weekend.
With the memory of this summer’s heatwave starting to fade and the autumn evenings beginning to close in, there’s no better time to get your walking boots on for the 26th annual Ballyhoura Walking Festival, taking place from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th October in Kilfinane, Co Limerick. Established as Ireland’s first-ever walking festival back in the day, it provides an opportunity to explore some of Ballyhoura Country’s stunning scenery. Many of the walks are led by members of the Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club who have in-depth knowledge of the area and its heritage, history, flora and fauna ,and are suitable for all abilities, from the enthusiastic well-equipped walker who relishes a challenge, to the gentle ramblers who are out to enjoy pleasant walks over the course of the weekend.
Following on from last year’s festival, which saw record numbers of participants, this year sees the Walking Festival taking place for the second year in a row in tandem with the Joyce Brothers Music Festival, taking place from Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th October, whose musical and cultural contribution added so much enjoyment to last year’s festival.
The Cultural Food Fair 2022, organised by Kilfinane Community Council, returns once again this year. The fair brings together local and international members of the community as they prepare traditional dishes for people to sample, and takes place on Saturday 8th October at Ballyhoura Apple Farm from 1.30pm.
Amongst the walking programme’s highlights are the ever-popular Moonlight Walk to Castlegale on Friday evening, where you can embark on a night-time journey through forest and woodland paths to the top of Carrighenry at the Limerick/Cork border, Saturday’s breathtaking Sunrise Walk to Seefin (led by Britton Outdoors) to catch the 7.45am sunrise at the summit of Ballyhoura’s highest mountain, or you could accept an invitation to Walk in the Footsteps of Fionn MacCumhail, enjoying spectacular scenery in the Ballyhoura Mountains, where the legendary hero hunted and roamed. Meanwhile, the easy Canon Sheehan Loop Walk – named after the cleric and poet from Doneraile – follows glorious forest tracks, woodland paths and riverbank through Glenanaar Forest and along the banks of the Ogeen River.
Sunday offers a relaxing Mystical Yoga Walk by Yoga Walks Ireland, bringing you on the path of St. Finnan and Brian Boru, and exploring old traditions of our ancestors. However, if your walking boots are still on a quest of discovery, you’ll have several opportunities on Sunday to satisfy them! A morning Nature Walk following the course of the River Loobagh through the forest and up Slievereagh will help you understand the nature of rivers and how they are formed. Meanwhile, if you would like to get a real feel for an Irish woodland and riverbank with at least forty shades of green, then the Keale River Walk is the one for you. Discover the local history, heritage, folklore and archaeology at Lough Gur, learn about the history of people, castle and medieval town of Kilmallock, or join a guided tour of Doneraile Park & Gardens, a beautiful event filled with pageantry, history, and storytelling set in the majestic Doneraile Estate's surroundings in north Cork.
Registration for the Walking Festival, which is also where you’ll get your must-have merchandise, festival brochure, packed food etc, takes place as follows at the Ballyhoura Centre, Main Street, Kilfinane:
- Friday from 6pm for the Moonlight Walk to Castlegale and the Sunrise Walk to Seefin
- Saturday from 9am for the rest of the walks
More information about the walks and weekend activities are available form the Visit Ballyhoura website.