Festive strolls around Laois

Getting ready for this year's Laois Walks Festival were Dominic Hartnett (chairman Laois Walks), Grainne O'Malley (The Heritage Hotel, Killenard) and Ann Lanigan, Laois Partnership Company.               Photo: Kevin Byrne NRF
The 13th annual Laois Walks Festival was launched on Thursday May 5 at The Heritage Golf and Spa Resort in Killenard.

The 13th annual Laois Walks Festival was launched on Thursday May 5 at The Heritage Golf and Spa Resort in Killenard.

The chairperson Dominic Hartnett, and Ann Lanigan, rural recreation officer with Laois Partnership and secretary of the walks committee, welcomed the members of the Walks Festival committee and Grainne O’Malley, sales and marketing manager at The Heritage.

The opening  walk of the festival will be along Fossey Mountain, Timahoe on Tuesday, July 1, and the final walk of the festival will be held in Durrow on July 31.

Mr Hartnett said that this festival could not happen without the good will and support of the local communities but in particular the landowners who have helped the committee to develop and expand the walking loops all around the county over the past 13 years. He also thanked Laois County Council, Coillte, National Parks and Wildlife Services, Inland Waterways, Laois Partnership Company, Laois Sports Partnership and local service providers for their support and commitment. 

Mr Hartnett said: “What makes this festival special is the camaraderie between the walkers and the local communities who provide the light refreshments after each walk and all that for just €2 a walk or €20 for the festival ticket. This is great value for local walkers and visiting walkers to the county.”

Grainne O’Malley said: “We are delighted to see the walks festival grow over the years and we look forward to getting our walking shoes on this July.”

Laois Sports Partnership are offering two ‘get into walking’ workshops with the aim of encouraging  people to walk more often, to see the health benefits of walking and to encourage the creation of more local walking groups. New walking clubs can help our young people become more active and help also in the fight against the rise of obesity.

Anne Maire Maher, sports officer with Laois County Council, is hosting a national play day event during the Walks Festival at Rockview Ballyroan for children aged from two to 12 (accompanied by an adult), and she says that now more than ever it is vital that our young children come back to outdoor play and activity.

For more details or to get a copy of the brochure contact Ann on 057 8661900 or go to our face book page www.fb.com/laoiswalksfestival.