Laois has a tasty selection of outdoor events over the Christmas holidays

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan

Laois has a fine selection of outdoor events to choose from over the Christmas holidays

Robert, Oonagh, Emily, Daniel, Robert, Colin, Lorraine and James Miller with Kate and Emma Hyland enjoying the 2017 St Stephen's Day walk in Clonaslee.

When the turkey, chocolates and family get a little too much this Christmas, there are plenty of chances to exercise in the fresh air for good causes across Laois.

There are two GOAL Mile events On Christmas morning. One takes place at the beautiful Oakvale Woods in Stradbally at 10am and the other from Portarlington GAA at 11am. No registration required, just turn up, make a donation and run walk or jog to build up an appetite for the Christmas dinner.

St Stephen's Day features two annual mountain walks which require warm waterproof clothes, good footwear and perhaps a trusty stick. The Clonaslee walks in the Slieve Blooms are in aid of Laois Hospice. Register and donate at the Community Centre. The long walk starts at 12 noon and shorter walk at 1pm. Refreshments afterwards, and soup midway on the long walk.

A second walk is the Gathabawn loop walk over Cullahill mountain, in aid of Saint Vincent de Paul and Gathabawn Rural Development Group. The longer walk is 12km and takes 3 to 4 hours. A 7 km walk takes about 1.5 hours. Both start from Gathabawn Village at 12 noon. Dogs not allowed as through farmland. Registration beforehand outside Mackey’s Bar. Hot soup in store for returning walkers.

Abbeyleix is the place to be around noon on the December 26 to see off the annual Laois Hunt horses and hounds.

Timahoe GAA is holding a fun festive game between the young lads and the not so young lads on St Stephen's Day. Throw-in at 2pm and all funds raised will go to the EI school attached to the local National School.

Portlaoise Athletics Club hosts its annual St Stephen's Day fun run from 10.30am meeting at St Fintan's Hospital. No entry fee donations on the day in aid of the Cuisle Centre.

St Stephen's Day is set to be a big day in Ballyroan with the holding of the annual Tom Kinsella Memorial Christmas Convoy Road Run.
Supporting the Laois Specialist Palliative Care Team which is a very worthy cause, the Road Run, hosted by Ballyroan Vintage Club will start from Ballyroan GAA Club at 12 noon. Tractors and other vehicles registration begins at 11am.

Laois Kayak and Canoe Club hosts a family paddle meeting at the club house on St Stephen's Day at 11am.

Derryounce Lakes in Portarlington hosts a 6km festive family walk on Thursday, December 27. Registration at 11am and walkstarts at 11.30am. Meet at Marion Hill. Refreshments at the half way point. Queries to Donie Molloy 086 3288858.

In Coolrain Village on Friday December 28, Clonenagh National School Parents Association are holding their Annual 6km Family Fun Run/Walk, Tractor Run and Monster Auction. Registration for fun run is at 11am, Registration for Tractor Run is 1pm (leaving at 2pm) Monster Auction takes place at 9pm. All day refreshments and music are available. An annual school fundraiser that is always an joyful event.

One of the hardiest events takes place on New Years Day. Derryounce Lakes hosts the Port Lake Swimmers sponsored swim on January 1 at 12pm in aid of Portarlington Community Development Association, wetsuits may be best for this one.

Also on New Years Day, pit yourself against Ireland's fittest families finalists the McDonalds from Ballyroan, special guests to lead the 17th annual Timahoe Walks. The long 10km walk takes you over the picturesque Fossey Hills, high over the plains of Laois, with a shorter 6km option. The walk raises funds for the Laois Irish Wheelchair Association and Maura O’Brien’s Fatima Pilgrimage fund. Refreshments in the Community Hall afterwards.

New Years Day in Ballacolla features the Annual Richard Moynan Memorial Walk and Vintage run. The 15k Vintage run starts in Ballacolla village @ 2pm with registration and donation from 1pm. The route is through Grantstown, Coolacurragh, Cannonswood, Woodenbridge and returns by Lalor's Farm where Christmas cheer will be served.The annual walk will also start at 2pm for a 6.5 km route. This years event supports The Hawthorn Community Centre, Aghaboe Senior Citizens and local school. Tractors, cars, bikes, pony and traps and walking boots all welcome. Monster raffle with refreshments at the finish in St Patrick's Hall followed by entertainment in local hostelries.