Walkers from all over Ireland and beyond attended the 24th Ballyhoura International Walking festival over the May Bank Holiday Weekend, with exceptional turnouts at all of the walks held across the four days.
This year the highlights included a very successful singles walk on the Keale River, the Galtee Mountain Charity Climb & the family walk at the nature trail at the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Park, not to mention the Ballyhoura Mountain Marathon which was the “best yet” according to organiser, Tom Blackburn.
Ballyhoura Country was bathed in sunshine on Sunday and Monday putting a spotlight on the stunning countryside in the company of great guides from the Ballyhoura Bears walking club and the wonderful community tour guides across East Limerick and North Cork.
The festival featured a packed programme of walks for all abilities, from the marathon on the Saturday morning, to the singles walk on Saturday afternoon with people answering the call to an almost even ratio of men to women! And of course the guided walks on heritage, archaeology, history, flora and fauna right across the Ballyhoura area led by community guides, was enjoyed by all.
Chairperson Ben O’Sullivan of Ballyhoura Failte, acknowledged the support and assistance of Ballyhoura Beo, Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club, the voluntary guides in communities for organising the community walks; all volunteers who helped on the weekend and to the generous sponsors and funders who included SuperValu in Kilmallock and 8 Degrees Brewing in Mitchelstown.
Mike Noonan of Ballyhoura Beo who was one the main organisers of this years festival, was delighted with the overall good weather, the level of interest in all of the 18 walks and the fun and enjoyment of all participants.
“This year we wanted to try and add new elements to the festival like yoga, mindfulness, a charity climb and of course the singles walks. Now our aim is to be even bigger and better for 2018”