BY JACKIE KEOGH
UNION Hall is about to boost its tourism profile in a major way with the launch of five new walking and cycling routes.
A lot of time, effort and energy by a hard-working committee of ten went in to the initiative – Union Hall Walks – and they are confident that it will be every bit as successful as the Fastnet Trails which were launched in the greater Ballydehob area last year.
The idea for the project came out of a desire by the Union Hall Women’s group to do something to mark the 1916 centenary. ‘There is a real interest in mapping popular walks and sharing that information with visitors,’ said Sally Fegan Wyles, who is the group’s secretary.
‘Initially, we were going to feature a whole lot more, but in order to comply with health and safety requirements and have a package in place for the summer we decided to feature five of the finest walks, which vary in length from 2.3k to 13.5k.’
Union Hall is slightly off the beaten track for tourists and to the dismay of the people living in the locality, it is not featured on the Wild Atlantic Way. But what started as a commemorative project now has the potential to become a valuable marketing tool.
The project is being driven by a strong partnership comprising Union Hall Women’s Group, the tidy towns committee, and the local development committee, under the chairmanship of Denis Shanahan.
Although it was the brainchild of the women’s group, Sally said: ‘We are relying on the goodwill, sponsorship and support of all the local businesses. They have been great because they know these walks have the potential to attract walking and cycling enthusiasts from all over the country.
‘Of course, none of it would have been possible without the help of Trish Bevan of West Cork Development Partnership, who is very knowledgeable about community walking initiatives, having worked with walking groups in Sheep’s Head, Drimoleague, Kilbrittain, Baltimore and Ballydehob,’ she added.
A brochure – featuring good quality route maps and information about places of interest and local amenities – will be available at the launch at 3pm at the Causeway on Saturday, July 16th. See also www.unionhallwalks.ie