THE BREATHTAKING Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in Kilmanagh is the venue this weekend for the Kilkenny Walking Festival finale as families gather in the spectacular venue on Sunday for a fitting end to the month-long event which has been an outstanding success.
The ‘Family Fun in the Outdoors’ event begins at the Amphitheatre at 2pm on Sunday and will include a wildlife scavenger hunt for children as well as a guided walk for adults. There will also be teas and coffees and a barbecue for all the family and loads to see and do in the spectacular venue.
It will be a fantastic afternoon of fun in the great outdoors and those who do come along are encouraged to dress appropriately, according to Nicola Keeshan of Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership.
“It’s the perfect way for us to wrap up the walking festival and we’re encouraging as many families as possible to come along and join in the fun. What better way to quell that appetite built up over the afternoon of walking and fun than with teas, coffees and items from the barbecue will be on sale throughout the afternoon.
“We are very thankful to the Ballykeeffe team who have pulled out all of the stops. There will also be music from local musicians Miriam Dewberry and Colm Rooney from their debut album ‘There’s no I in Tea’. Well loved by the amphitheatre audiences, last year the duo played support to Andy Irvine at the venue,” she said.
With just days to go to the festival finish on Monday next, there’s still a chance to end the festival on a high note with the action-packed programme continuing for the rest of the week. There’s a Scavenger Hunt in Castlecomer Discovery Park, the Mount Juliet Garden Trail and Afternoon tea, the Estate Walking Trail and a Riverbank Eco Trail today, Wednesday. Details of how to apply are on the website.
And weekend events this weekend include a Bluebell Walk at Castlecomer Discovery Park on Saturday as well as events at Mount Juliet, the Archaeology Beneath Your Feet trek at Canices and the final Shankill Castle Garden Walk, all on Saturday.
Sunday’s events include the Dawn Chorus at Kilkenny Castle Park, a trek with the Tyndall Club and the forementioned event at Ballykeeffe. The festival finishes with the final of the City Walk Series - Nore Loop walk on Monday next, April 30th, beginning at 7pm with tea/coffee and a chat afterwards in the Set Theatre. Due to the popularity of these walks, it is hoped to continue the City Walk Series for a further 6 week starting on 14th May and the Sports Partnership is looking for people who would be interested in participating in these walks and also for those who would like to share in leading the walks.
The inaugural Kilkenny Walking Festival was about lots more than just walking and the organisers are thrilled that enthusiasts of all levels, families, groups and individuals joined in the various events from walks in the bluebells, Scavenger Hunts, walks along the riverbank and barbecues. There has been huge interest in the festival and the event organisers hope to harness this interest for the development of walking in the County. Under the Get Ireland Walking Initiative, Kilkenny Recreation & Sports Partnership and TrailKilkenny will organise an information evening in May to discuss walking in Kilkenny, the establishment of a County Kilkenny Walking Forum and potential walk leader training opportunities including piloting of a new Trail Walk Leaders course developed by Mountaineering Council of Ireland.
The new festival is a collaboration between Trail Kilkenny, which has been championing the development, management and promotion of a range of high quality walking, cycling and other leisure trails and the Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership which works hand in hand with local communities encouraging, facilitating and promoting more active lifestyles.
Directions for Ballykeeffe:
Starting at the Callan Roundabout take the exit to College Road and at the roundabout for Hotel Kilkenny take the first exit and follow the Circular Road straight through a set of traffic lights until you meet a “T” junction. Turn left at the “T” junction onto the R695. Follow this road for approximately 9km. The Ballykeefe Amphitheatre is located on the right hand side of the road and is signposted.