The Leader columnist Louise Cantillon with Ballyhoura's Seamus Fox, Jim Flynn, Pat Casey and John Kennedy launching the app
WE ALL know the Ballyhoura region has untold beauty but perhaps we didn’t know how to go about uncovering it.
Modern technology has now made it easier than ever before to enjoy its stunning scenery and medieval history thanks to Ballyhoura Country’s new Trails Gude App.
Launched last week, walkers, hikers, scramblers and adventurers can use the app to navigate the area and keep up to date on Ballyhoura’s news. It features 11 looped walks along the south Limerick, west Tipperary and north Cork borders. The trails provide all levels of challenges and guaranteed spectacular scenery for hikers.
In this era where we all key in our destinations into Google Maps the app will encourage more to go into the Ballyhouras now that they know where they are going. And ease fears about getting lost in the woods.
Mark Britton, CE scheme supervisor, Ballyhoura Heritage and Environment, agrees that they are trying to put their hidden gems on public display for all to see and enjoy.
“Many people know there are walks in the region but don’t know where they actually start from. The app solves that problem and also provides information on the terrain, distance and points of interest of each trail.
“There are many fantastic amenities to be accessed across the Ballyhoura region from mountain biking trails, to cycle routes, playgrounds and of course walks,” said Mark. And those of us who are technphobes shouldn’t be put off. “It’s as simple as possible to use and we hope it will encourage people to get out into nature,” he said.
The app is intended to highlight to visitors the breadth of what Ballyhoura Country has to offer. It will allow people instantly find what is in their vicinity, the range of walks on offer and describe in real time distances between them and the start point of their chosen trail.
There are numerous functions. The user can choose a Ballyhoura Country loop walk to explore based on distance, difficulty or current location. The 11 walks range in distance from 5km to 18km. These walks vary from easy strolls to challenging hikes through sandy roadways, woodland trails and forest paths.
It isn’t all bout geography as history hasn’t been forgotten about.
You can learn about local heritage and folklore in the areas of Limerick and Cork which your chosen trail passes through. No matter the trail there is so much to explore and learn with adventures through historic sites such as the Battle of Darragh and the Seefin Mountain climb, plus the ancient Ardpatrick monastery, remnants of a water mill and a holy well.
Also, the app can be used to pick the perfect place to stay and explore more of the region. Keeping your energy up is important and the app will help you find a café or restaurant to refuel after your walk.. Finally, your Ballyhoura Trail Guides app will keep you up to date on news and events in Ballyhoura Country and other activities available in the area.
The Ballyhoura Trails Guide App is available on the playstore for android and the app store for Apple devices. It is available in four languages including English, Spanish, German and French, thus making it accessible and attractive to visitors from near and far.
The Ballyhoura region isnt’t noted for its excellent mobile coverage but the app is designed to function well even when you find yourself in a spot with weak internet access. Although be sure and download it before you hit the trails. The app was developed by BlackBear Software and is supported by Ballyhoura Heritage and Environment, Ballyhoura Fáilte, Ballyhoura Development CLG, The Department of Arts, Heritage, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Leave No Trace.
Mark says they will be testing the app during their family adventure day on Sunday, July 21 at the trailhead in Ardpatrick.
“The day is opend for anyone that is interested in coming along and trying it out or just download the app and head out to explore the area yourself,” said Mark. The launch could make for some very ‘appy days ahead in Ballyhoura Country.