The Slieve Bloom Walking Festival, one of Ireland’s oldest walking festivals, is twenty three years running this year, and the 2017 edition takes place this weekend.
Over the years the dedicated walk leaders have taken walkers into the magical unspoilt landscape that is the Slieve Blooms. "This festival is not just a walking festival for the serious walker but a special social event for people to meet, chat and enjoy the outdoors. But don’t take our word for it, come and see for yourself," the organisers at the Slieve Bloom Walking Club have said.
Free membership is offered to the walkers who go along and join the festival weekend, meaning they can then partake in the walks undertaken all year round in the mountains of Laois and Offaly.
"It’s a real opportunity to get out and get active, make friends and have fun," they added.
This year there is a choice of seven walks, ranging from easy woodland, to more challenging treks in remote wilderness areas of the Slieve Blooms. The festival gets under way with three walks departing from Kinnitty Community Centre on Saturday, April 29.
There is a Grade A 13km walk to Glenafelly & Cumber Hill for experienced walkers, a Grade B 10km moderate walk through Kinnitty Woodlands, and also an easygoing Grade C 8km walk along Paul’s Lane and Silver River.
Registration for these walks opens at 10:15am on the day, and there will be an after-walk BBQ in the Slieve Bloom Bar, Kinnitty from 4.30pm with music afterwards from 10.00pm for €5.
On Sunday April 30 the walks start from Clonaslee Community Centre. There is a Grade A 13km walk to Source of the River Barrow, a Grade B 10km moderate walk to Glenbarrow & Capard Woodlands and also a Grade C walk around the beautiful Brittas Lake. Registration at 10:15am. After walk refreshments will be available in Fallons Bar, Clonaslee.
Bank Holiday Monday features a Grade B 10km walk to Clashroe Beagh which again departs from Kinnitty Community Centre, but at the later time of 11:00am.
The fee is €8 per walk but accompanied children are free. If you wish to join the Slieve Bloom Walking Club and avail of guided walks every Sunday of the year then annual membership is €20 (single) or €30 (family).
For more information you can visit www.slievebloom.ie or find the group on Facebook. Alternatively, you can phone 086-8210056.
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