BallyHoura Walking Festival
6 October 2022
Established as Ireland’s first-ever walking festival back in the day, Ballyhoura Walking Festival provides an opportunity to explore some of Ballyhoura Country’s stunning countryside, heritage & folklore in the company of local guides. 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 the challenge, to the gentle ramblers who are out to enjoy pleasant walks.
Tickets are now for sale on the EVENTBRITE:
A music and cultural element will be added to the festival for the second year in collaboration with the Joyce Brothers Festival. You can purchase their tickets here:
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.
Programme of events for the Ballyhoura Walking Festival 2022:
FRIDAY 7th October
7pm - Moonlight Walk to Castlegale
Walking at night is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and try something out of the ordinary. Putting on your boots after sunset can make for a great adventure. Embark on a nighttime journey through forest and woodland paths to the top of Carrighenry, which straddles the Limerick/Cork border and boasts the ruins of an iron age promontory fort from 500BC.
Starting time & point: 7pm from Old Daragh Creamery (Bus transport leaves from Kilfinane to the starting point of the trail at 6:30pm.)
Length/Time: 5.5km | 1.5 hours
Guided by: Ballyhoura Bears Gear: Good sturdy shoes, a high-visibility jacket, and a head torch are essential.
Cost: €15 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
SATURDAY 8th October
6am - Sunrise Hike to Seefin
Climb to the summit of Seefin where you will look out over the vales of Limerick and across the historical grounds of Castle Oliver as the sun rises. Sunrise is at 7:45am at the summit.
Starting Point & Time: Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trailhead at 6am
Gear: rain jacket, warm jumper, hat and gloves, food and water, sturdy walking shoes. Recommended to bring: a camera, a change of clothes in the car and an extra warm jumper for the top if we are waiting a few minutes for the sun to come up.
Guided by Britton Outdoors.
Cost: €30 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
10am–Walk in the footsteps of Fionn MacCumhail
Myths and legends bring the landscape to life. Climb to the summit of Seefin and enjoy spectacular scenery in the Ballyhoura Mountains, where the legendary hero Fionn MacCumhaill hunted and roamed. View the picturesque village of Glenosheen, where the poet Robert Dwyer Joyce was born. Glimpses of Castle Oliver, Ballyorgan, and the Hill of Ardpatrick will make you aware that this area has long been the land of “history makers”.
Starting in Greenwood Forest, Ardpatrick, this loop entails a climb of Seefin Mountain, which is part of the route once followed by 1000 men, women, and children led by the O'Sullivan-Bere Clan as they fled north from the Crown forces in Cork in 1602.
Starting Time & Point: 10am at Mountain Bike Trails Trailhead, Greenwood Forest (Bus transport leaves from Kilfinane to the starting point of the trail at 9:30am)
Length/Time: 12km | 2.5-3hrs Difficulty: moderate/experienced Gear: good walking boots, raingear, plenty of liquids
Guided by Ballyhoura Bears
Cost: €20 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
10:30am - Darragh Hills Loop Walk
Reach the summit known as Castle Gale. According to a local story passed down through generations, tenants in this area would hoist a flag atop this pile of stones to inform others that the local landlord was in the process of collecting rent. Keep an eye out for the Holy Well. Legend has it that a local woman once washed her clothes in this well and the next time she returned to the spot where the well had been it had magically moved to the other side of the trail where it remains to this day! The Bridge at Darragh was the site of the Battle of Darragh in 1798 in which the North Cork Militia fought the United Irish Men. A memorial plaque can be seen on the bridge.
Starting Time & Point: 10:30am at Old Darragh Creamery (Bus Transport leaves Kilfinane at 10am)
Length/Time: 8.5km | 3hrs Difficulty:
Moderate Gear: sturdy walking boots, raingear, plenty of liquids
Guided by Ballyhoura Bears Cost: €20 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
11am - Canon Sheehan Loop Walk
This loop owes its name to Canon Patrick Augustine Sheehan (1852-1913) a cleric and writer invariably referred to as Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, mainly because he wrote almost all of his major works while he was there as Parish Priest. The starting point of this loop gives its name to one of Canon Sheehan's most famous works-a novel titled Glenanaar. Follow glorious forest tracks, woodland paths, and riverbanks through Glenanaar Forest and along the banks of the Ogeen River which forms part of the county boundary, passing a mass rock with views of the Blackwater valley and Nagle mountains. Starting Point: 11am at Glenanaar Forest Car Park (Bus transport leaves from Kilfinane at 10:30am).
Length/Time: 7km | 1.5 -2hrs Difficulty: Easy
Guided by Ballyhoura Bears Price: €15 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
7pm - Saturday Forest Night Walk
The Ballyorgan walk has a variety of terrain and scenery, from shady riverside glades to hilltop panoramas, and some good points of interest along the way. It starts in the Village of Ballyorgan and follows the red arrows from the village, and through the woods, where Oliver's Folly will be on your left, a lookout point for Castle Oliver. On leaving the forest, you will pass the original entrance to Castle Oliver estate then veer right into 'the wilderness'. On reaching the public road turn right then left along the greenwood, onto the village of Glenosheen under the highest peak of the Ballyhouras - Seefin.
Starting Time & Point: 7pm in Ballyorgan village (Bus transport leaves Kilfinane at 6:30pm)
Length/Time: 10km | 2hrs Difficulty: Easy Gear: Good walking boots, a high visibility jacket and head torch is essential
Guided by Ballyhoura Bears Cost: €15 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
SUNDAY 9th October:
10am - Mystical Yoga Walk This mystical yoga walk brings you on the path of St. Finnan and Brian Boru. You will explore old traditions of our ancestors, while celebrating the Ballyhoura Festival of 2022 with fun mantras and mudras. Along the short loop walk, you will enjoy gentle yoga stretches, relaxing meditations, have lots of fun and laughter, visit a new Stone Circle, enjoy a morning picnic and manifest our dreams on top of the world, when we climb the Moate. This yoga walk is suitable for any level of fitness.
Starting point: Ballyhoura Centre, Kilfinane, Co. Limerick Gear: Wear warm comfortable clothes, hiking boots
Cost: €25 Guided by Yoga Walks Ireland BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
10am - Nature Walk by the River Loobagh up Slievereagh
Understanding the nature of rivers and how they are formed helps us appreciate and care for our surrounding environment. On this walk you will follow the course of the River Loobagh through the forest and up Slievereagh. During the walk you will learn how rivers are formed, identify the surrounding plants and discover the wildlife found under the water.
Starting time & point: 10am from Hennessy’s farm yard (Bus transport leaves from Kilfinane at 9:30am.)
Length/Time: 5km | 2.5 hours Difficulty: Moderate
Guided by: Liz Gabbett of the Maigue Rivers Trust
Gear: Clean sturdy shoes and be prepared to walk through running water, camera Cost: €10 adult, €5 under 18 years BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
11am - Keale River Walk – with an introduction to Geocaching
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 perfect solution. Keale River is a level walk fenced from start to finish with many little bridges in between. For those interested in learning more about Geocaching - the world’s largest treasure hunt – Diarmuid O’Leary will guide you how to use this great treasure hunt tool. Geochaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil). The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. In order to take part, you must log on to Geocaching website or download the Geocaching App, to create an account which is free to sign up to.
Starting Time & Point: 11am in Village of Ballyorgan (Bus Transport leaving Kilfinane at 10:30am)
Length/Time: 7 km | 1.5hrs Difficulty: Easy
Guided by Diarmuid O’Leary Cost: €10 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
11am - Kilmallock Medieval Town Guided Walk
If Kilmallock’s walls could talk, they’d have some intriguing tales to tell. Learn about the history of people, castle and town of medieval Kilmallock with our local guide.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Starting Point: King John's Castle, Kilmallock BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
1pm - FREE walk from Ballyorgan village to the Joyce Homestead, Glenosheen led by historian, Angela Hennessy , A historical walk and tunes at the Joyce homestead. This is a free event, and all are welcome!
12pm - Lough Gur Heritage Walk
There are few places as rich in history, heritage, and archaeology as Lough Gur. This walk will bring people along some of the areas lesser-known roads and past many sites and monuments from early prehistory to modern times. Our experienced guide will explore placenames, folklore, and history and offer a unique insight into this most celebrated of landscapes. The best way to understand a landscape is to walk it and this October we are offering you a chance to do just that across of Ireland’s most important historical areas.
Walking route stops: Beginning at Lough Gur lakefront | Cross of Lough | Patrickswell | Knockderk | Ballynagallagh | Holycross | Teampull Nua/Giant’s grave | Finish at Lough Gur lakefront
Walk distance: 12.5km Terrain: Roads
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Time: 2.5 Hours (approx.)
Cost: €15 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
2:30pm - Guided Tour of Doneraile Park & Gardens
Come and enjoy this beautiful event filled with pageantry, history, and storytelling set in the majestic Doneraile Estate's surroundings. This tour is guided by knowledgeable local Doneraile Tour Guides, and incredibly talented members of the Doneraile Drama Society Group, who will be narrating some of the Estate's history in period costumes, dressed as characters from the estate's history such as Edmund Spenser, Queen Elizabeth I, and Elizabeth St Leger, The Lady Freemason. You will get exclusive access to the 17th-century private Pleasure Gardens, Parterre, and Walled Gardens. The tour is suitable for all age groups and abilities.
Starting Point: Playground Carpark at Doneraile Park
Cost: €5 BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE
To mark being surrounded all weekend by the stunning Ballyhoura landscape, festival participants with an eye for capturing a good photograph–whether that be the beautiful scenery or the ‘craic’ of the festival–can take part in an online photography competition. #BallyhouraMoments #BallyhouraWalkingFestival and #VisitBallyhoura are the all-important hashtags you will need to enter! ------------------------------- *The Ballyhoura Walking Festival is taking place in association with Limerick City and County Council and Fáilte Ireland