THE BALLYHOURA International Walking festival may be the oldest one in the country but it is still only celebrating 21 years.
On this May Bank Holiday weekend guides will give keen amblers and hikers the keys to the door of beautiful scenery and nature trails incorporating heritage, archaeology, history, flora and fauna.
Over 1,000 walkers are expected to take part from Saturday, May 2 to Sunday, May 4.
Together, they will cover a total of 20,000km or two millon steps, and burn 40 million calories on a Bank Holiday weekend!
“Guides from the Ballyhoura Bears Walking club will lead a packed programme for all abilities - from the hardy hiker to gentle ramblers and families. They will be accompanied by experts who will pass on their local knowledge,” said Amanda Slattery, of Ballyhoura.
Ballyhoura Country features 1,500km of national loop walks and marked ways, including the historic Ballyhoura Way.
“Every year, new routes are chosen for the walking festival which attracts walkers from all over Ireland and the globe. Visitors come from as far afield as South Africa, Germany, Czech Republic, France and the UK.
“This year will also feature over 30 special community walks suitable for all abilities, ages and families and will cover areas of special interest throughout the whole Ballyhoura region – these are real gems of shorter walks,” said Amanda.
While the Ballyhoura mountains host a large percentage of the walks there are also tours in Ballylanders, Castleconnell, Lough Gur, Kilmallock, Caherconlish, Galbally, Bruff and across the Cork border in Doneraile and Kildorrery.
A new addition this year are dog walks in Limerick Animal Welfare’s sanctuary in Kilfinane.
After burning all those calories they can deservedly be replenished at a food fair in Kilmallock on Bank Holiday Monday.
To see all the different walks and trails and what dates they are taking place log onto www.visitballyhoura.com