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Best foot forward for Walking Festival

September 1st, 2019 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

County mayor Christopher O'Sullivan with Helen Dempsey, Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce, and Adrian Thomas, chair, Skibbereen Walking Group, announcing details of the Skibbereen Walking Festival which takes place from September 27th-29th. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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THE county mayor, who has packed on a few pounds since taking up office, said he will be accepting an invitation to take part in this year’s walking festival in Skibbereen.

Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) was speaking at the launch of the third annual walking festival – which runs from September 27th to 29th – at the tourist office in Skibbereen, last Friday night.

The mayor said: ‘West Cork is renowned for its food and its culture, but our walking routes are something, I believe, that are not promoted enough. And what a better way to promote all of the beautiful walks – from Lough Hyne to the Sheep’s Head and the Beara Way – than by hosting another well organised walking festival.’

Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce runs the event every year with the assistance of Niall O’Mahony, who does most of the logistics, as well as the ongoing support of the Skibbereen Walking Group.

Chamber of Commerce member, Helen Dempsey, said: ‘Last year, we more than doubled the number of participants, from 100 to 250. And we have found that it is a fantastic boost at the shoulder end of the tourism season.’

Although it is only in its third year, the Skibbereen Walking Festival has been ranked seventh in the country because it all runs so smoothly and takes in some of the region’s incredibly scenic locations, such as Squince, Toormore, Sherkin Island, Lough Hyne, Tragumna, Goleen and Castledonovan. Buses are provided to gather people up and take them to the starting point of each of the walks, and afterwards the Chamber even provides complimentary teas, coffees and scones – all of which makes for a great social outing.

There is a total of seven walks – rated easy to moderate – over the three days. To pre-register see www.skibbereen.ie.

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