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Skibbereen’s best foot put forward for walking festival

August 24th, 2023 7:10 AM

By Eimear O'Dwyer

Skibbereen’s best foot put forward for walking festival Image
Kate Callanan, administrator, Skibbereen Chamber of Commerce with Sandra Gallagher, co-chair, Skibbereen Chamber, Cllr John Healy, deputy mayor, and Helen Dempsey, co-chair, Skibbereen Chamber, at the launch of the festival. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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WALKERS can expect a ‘lovely mix of local history, folklore and wildlife’, at the seventh annual Skibbereen Walking Festival. 

These are the words of Conor Buckley, who will lead the Toe Head hike – one of the eight guided trails on offer as part of the festival which will run from September 22nd to 24th. 

‘There are walks for everybody, really – some of them are free, some of them are costing a little bit – but they’re all very interesting and good fun,’ said Helen Dempsey, co-chair of Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce. 

The Chamber of Commerce runs the festival each year to encourage tourists to come to West Cork as the summer season draws to a close. 

‘Our aim is to bring tourists to Skibbereen towards the end of the season and therefore increase out help to hotels and businesses and to develop and promote our area,’ said Helen. 

‘This year we’re organising eight walks of all standard – for people that like an easier walk and also some very strenuous walks,’ she added, ‘so it’s quite varied and different every year.’ 

From Friday September 22nd to Sunday 24th walkers can wander across country roads, private land, hills and islands in West Cork – boasting of spectacular landscapes and seascapes. 

The Friday event will entail a scenic walk from Coomnageehy Hill to Liss Ard. Meanwhile, three guided walks will take place on the Saturday, covering Cape Clear, Ballydehob and Drimoleague. On the same day there will also be an optional trip to the Fastnet. 

There will be four more routes to explore on Sunday 24th – walkers can enjoy a stroll to the stone circle in Glandore, or a hike over beautiful Toe Head. There will also be two local walks in Skibbereen that day, including a river walk and a historical walk.

The festival was formally launched by the Chamber of Commerce at Skibbereen Tourist Office on Thursday July 27th, with deputy mayor Cllr John Healy in attendance. Cllr Healy congratulated the initiative and said walkers will have the opportunity to enjoy ‘the spectacular beauty and scenery’ of West Cork. 

The meeting point for most events is Skibbereen Heritage Centre and buses will run from this location for all out-of-town walks. Pre-registration is essential.


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