THE second phase of Trail Kilkenny's flagship Nore Valley Walk will be officially launched this weekend.
The 11km walk, which passes through some of the most beautiful land along the River Nore from Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge, will be opened by Minister for Equality, Integration and Human Rights, Mary White, on Saturday at 2pm.
Phase one of the walk – from Thomastown to Inistioge – was launched last year, and Trail Kilkenny hopes to open the third and final section from Bennettsbridge to Thomastown early in 2011. When completed, the Nore Valley Walk will connect Kilkenny to Inistioge with a 34-kilometre river trail.
“People will be able to do the walk in phases and stop along the way in Bennettsbridge and Thomastown to enjoy local food and craft and scenery. This is a wonderful natural amenity for local people and visitors alike to enjoy,” said Eoin Hogan, rural development officer with Trail Kilkenny.
The walk was developed by Kilkenny Leader Partnership and Kilkenny County Council in association with local landowners, angling groups and walking clubs. The walk was installed by workers on the Rural Social Scheme.
Minister Mary White – an avid walker – said she is honoured to be officially opening the walk and praised Trail Kilkenny for its great work in developing tourism in the county. “Walking is one of the simplest and most effective ways of exercising. Coupled with the beauty of the River Nore and the vibrancy of the local environment, this walk is a winner,” she said. “I would say to walkers everywhere come to Kilkenny and support Trail Kilkenny’s latest initiative.”
Trail Kilkenny is a non-profit company charged with developing walks and other leisure and tourism trails in the county. As well as walking trails, it has developed the ‘Made in Kilkenny’ craft trail, cycle trails and ‘A Taste of Kilkenny’ food trail. The craft and food trails are already market leaders in the themed trail sector in Ireland, and there are plans to launch a Garden Trail and a ‘Haunted Kilkenny’ trail examining the folklore of the paranormal in the county.
Trail Kilkenny recently led the way in marrying technology with walking by launching Ireland’s first smartphone ‘app’ to guide tourists and lovers of the outdoors around four of its walks: the first two sections of the Nore Valley Walk plus the Kilmacoliver Looped walk and the Castlemorris Wood walk. The cost of downloading the four walks is 2.35 euro; or they can be purchased separately for 0.77 at www.trailkilkenny.ie.
To date Trail Kilkenny has developed nine ‘looped walking trails’ to Filte Ireland standards, with another six being planned.