“A piece of cake”. So said one of the participants in the 7hr Bunclody Horseshoe walk which challenged the most experienced hill walkers in the annual Wexford Walking Trail festival last weekend.
Conditions were challenging with rain and wind a dominant feature, but this only seemed to bolster the spirits of those taking part. The ‘can do’ attitude and spirit of volunteerism were to the fore over the weekend and made the weekend a memorable one for all involved in the weekend walks.
The festival began with a ‘Ramble’ around Enniscorthy guided by Aileen Lambert and Michael Fortune. This was followed by a ‘Welcome Reception’ in Enniscorthy Castle’s Roche Room. In a wonderful setting, participants had the opportunity to relax and enjoy their surroundings. There was a great sense of occasion and celebration, particularly with the announcement that the Wexford Walking Trail network had been allocated €102,000 through a Recreation Grant which will go towards the development and sustainability of the network.
Other events over the festival weekend included a 3 hr walk on the Askamore St. Brigid’s Loop on Saturday morning. Although it rained , it didn’t dampen spirits and walkers who arrived back in great form to a roaring fire, soup, sandwiches and a cup of tea, all prepared by volunteers in the local Community Centre. This was followed by storytelling and enjoyable banter by the fire. The afternoon Bunclody Kilbrannish walk saw a different weather pattern, as the clouds parted, the sun shone and a gentle warm breeze helped walkers along the way on this 1.5hr walk. Volunteers at the local St. Mary’s Day Care Centre provided transport to and from the walks and refreshments afterwards to the appreciative walkers.
The festival dinner in the Bunclody Golf Club was a great success, followed by set dancing by the Kilmyshall Set Dancing Group and music and singing. Although the day’s exertions were demanding, walkers showed no signs of flagging energy and were keen to enjoy the craic. Vouchers donated by the Irish National Heritage Park; OPW; Courtown Adventure & Leisure Centre were won by: Emer Byrne, Kildavin, Dr Liam Dunne, Bunclody, Paddy Byrne Askamore, Josephine Nugent, Tullow, John Nolan , Bunclody and Karen Cahill, Gorey.
The festival closing event was the walk on the Enniscorthy River Slaney trail and this proved to be the highlight of the festival. Members of Wexford Walking Trail had done a great organising job and the Edermine Rowing Club capped off a great weekend by providing complimentary boating trips for everybody wishing to enjoy the great amenity which the Slaney at Enniscorthy is.
Great thanks is due to all of the volunteers from Wexford Walking Trail; those who provided the greatly appreciated refreshments; Enniscorthy Castle; Riverside Park Hotel; Kilmyshall Set Dancing Club; St. Mary’s Day Care Centre; Carlow Tourism, Enniscorthy Rowing Club and Slaney Rescue Services whose involvement proved so enjoyable for participants of all ages and finally to Wexford County Council who sponsored the festival.
John Nolan, Bunclody, winner of an OPW Family Heritage Card
Paddy Byrne, Askamore winner of an Irish National Heritage Park Family Admission Voucher
Josephine Nugent, Tullow, winner of an Irish National Heritage Park Family Admission Voucher
Karen Cahill, Gorey, winner of an Irish National Heritage Park Family Admission Voucher
Dr Liam Dunne, Bunclody, winner of an Irish National Heritage Park Family Admission Voucher
Emer Byrne, Kildavin, winner of a ½ day Family Outdoor Voucher for Courtown Adventure & Leisure Centre
We would like to thank our fellow Wexford Trail members for donating vouchers:
Irish National Heritage Park – member Wexford Heritage Trail
OPW (through Ferns Castle, Tintern and Ballyhack Castle) – member of Wexford Heritage Trail
Courtown Adventure & Leisure Centre -a member of Wexford Walking Trail.
Their continued support and that of the many volunteers involved in the Festival organisation is much appreciated.