The festival will be based out of two picturesque villages over the weekend, Clonaslee in Laois and Kinnitty in Offaly. Both of these villages are set on the foothills of the mountains and provide a splendid base for which to explore the region from. After a good days trekking they are ideal locations to kick back, relax and enjoy a chat and a drink with the locals, with entertainment provided both nights.
The Slieve Bloom Mountains are a mountain range in the midlands of Ireland that span through Offaly and Laois. The highest point is a modest 527M but the scale of the mountains are extensive. The mountain range is bordered by towns such as Clonaslee, Mountrath, Roscrea, Rosenallis, Clonaslee, Cadamstown Kinnitty and Mountmellick. The Slieve Bloom mountains are amongst the oldest in Europe and once they stood at 3700M before weathering and erosion reduced them to the current size of 527M.
The walking trails range from looped walks, long distance way-marked walks or unguided walks but don’t forget a map and compass if you are not going as part of a group! Organized walks are held every week by the Slieve Bloom Mountains Walking Group and it’s a great way to learn the full mountain history from the local experienced guides. A full list of the walks can be found at the following link.
Laois walks festival commenced on Sunday the 1st of July with a walk around the picturesque Derryounce Lakes and bogland in Portarlington. Now in its 17th year, the festival offers the opportunity for walkers to experience all that Laois has to offer with 27 guided walks throughout the county with varying difficulty during the month of July. The festival offers walks that are designed to encourage you to get out and explore the countryside and the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The scenic walks are varied; through woodland, over pastoral lands and along country laneways. For those who are interested in completing a pilgrim passport or a Camino challenge. The month of July will give you a total of 249 Kms of excitement and scenery walking in Co Laois.
Laois Walks Festival Co-Ordinator Susan Lawlor “the festival offers something for everyone” according to Susan.
This festival could not happen without the goodwill and support of several private and state landowners, including Coillte, National Parks and Wildlife Services, Office of Public Works, and Inland Waterways, who provide access to the walkways”, said Susan. “I would also like to acknowledge the support we receive from Laois Partnership Company, Laois Sports Partnership and Laois County Council, which is key to organising such a successful festival”, she continued.
The Festival provides an opportunity to explore some of Laois’s stunning views and countryside in the company of local guides. This year’s packed programme features walks for all abilities, from the enthusiastic well-equipped walker who relishes the challenge on the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the gentle rambler who is out to enjoy a pleasant guided walk. So, whatever type of a walker you are, come to Laois this July where you are assured of a wonderfully warm welcome at our festival.