Wexford Walking Festival 2015

Wexford Walking Trails is a network of walking trails throughout Co. Wexford established to raise awareness of location and diversity of trails and enhance the visitor experience. This year we hold our second festival, focusing on the north Wexford area. Our line-up highlights the diverse nature of our trails, revealing the unique

aspects which make our trails special. We hope you enjoy what we have planned for this weekend and remember, this is just a flavour of what Wexford and it’s trails have to offer.

To keep up to date with our festival plans, you can find us on facebook and twitter. If you are interested in attending any or all events, please register with us as spaces are limited. Registration is free of charge. Relevant fee is payable at the event on the day.

Special Weekend Package Offer

This fee covers all events over the weekend
Fee: Individuals: €20, Family group: €30

Foraging Walk

Fee: Individuals: €10, Family group: €20

For those who register in advance of the festival and who avail of the special weekend package, they will be in with a chance of winning one of the following vouchers:

Courtown Adventure Centre:                           Family Outdoor  Adventure Voucher
Irish Agricultural Museum:                              Family ticket for Johnstown Agricultural  Museum and Gardens
OPW:                                                                    Access to all OPW staff sites in Ireland over 12 months
Wells House & Gardens:                                   Entrance and tour of the house for 2 adults and 2 children

We would like to thank Courtown Adventure and Leisure Centre; Irish Agricultural Museum at Johnstown Castle; OPW and Wells House & Gardens for their donation of the vouchers and their continued support.

Other Information

For those who need accommodation, Special rates are available from the Ashdown Park Hotel,  Gorey  053-9480500
More information on the Gorey area can be found on LoveGorey

 Car-pooling is available on request.

For further information, please contact:
Catherine + 353 87 418 9740 or  Mary +353 86 163 3341
or email: [email protected]

Download Festival Poster

Guided Tour of Gorey lovegorey

The opening event of the festival, this tour will be guided by Cáit Branigan, a Shamanic Practitioner based in Gorey. This walk will look at Gorey through a different lens.

Meet at the Library, Gorey Civic Centre at 5:00pm

Welcome Reception in the Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey

Walking and Imagining -a talk by Garrett Keogh followed by conversation and not-so-deep thoughts on walks and walking over a glass of wine. Join us at this reception which will give us an opportunity to meet, relax and discuss the weekend’s events.

Reception starts at 7:00pm

NB  As there is a full day of activities planned,you are advised to bring appropriate clothing, food and refreshments

Tara Hill


Tara Hill Trail

Guided by Martin Murphy, this moderate grade, 2 hour walk, is in an area rich in scenic beauty.

Meet at the church car park in Tara Hill village at 10:00am

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The trail will bring you through forest paths, past a 1798 graveyard and famine village. The scenic views on this trail bring you down to the sea, taking in Arklow to the North, and south to Kilmuckridge and Wexford town. As you walk the conversation is likely to go in any direction but tales of St. Kevin, Cromwell and life lived long ago in the area will feature.

Equinox Walk

The Equinox takes place twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, marking the change of seasons.  Our programme of events this year place the Equinox experience at the The Tulach a’ tSolais monument on Oulart Hill at the centre of our festival plans.

Meet at The Trading Post car park, located on the R741 at 2:00pm

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“The construction of a tulach or burial mound, as a place of connection between the world of the living and the ‘other world’ was common in ancient Ireland” (oularthill.ie). The Equinox walk brings you up-close and personal with the homes and villages of a people and their leaders who, denied any role in a confessional State, reached for the values of Enlightenment and when frustrated in that attempt, took the field to supplant a sectarian junta with a secular polity based on national independence, democracy and égalité. It is to this story that Tulach a tSoilais is dedicated.

Threshing: En route to the Tulach a’ tSolais, take a break and observe the Threshing which takes place at the Bygone Days House of Stories and celebrates this once common method of separating the grain from the straw. Oulart Hill 1798 Battlefield Walking Hub

On reaching Tulach ‘a tSolais, you can relax and enjoy the hospitality which includes an al fresco stew, music and craic before the Equinox experience which can take place between 6.30pm and 7.05pm. Afterwards we will transport to your car.

Bygone Days House of Stories: At 8pm you can attend this session of storytelling and music by the fireside of a 300 year old farmhouse. Hosted by local storytellers, this is a popular event with locals and visitors alike.

Foraging walk on Kilanerin Trailkilanerin

Our closing event will take place on the Kilanerin Trail, located on the L1009, north west of Gorey. Led by Mary White, of Blackstairs Eco Trails, an avid walker with a great knowledge of birds, flora, fungi, mammals and butterflies.

Meet at Kilanerin Community Hall at 11:00am

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Mary White is one of the Heritage Council’s Heritage Experts and runs Eco Trails, Guided Hikes, Workshops, Foraging, The Foraging Hen Events – Elegant Hen Parties for Elegant Brides, Teachers Courses, School Visits Childrens Trails and Fun in the Wild! After the foraging walk, Mary will give a cookery demonstration in the Kilanerin Community Hall.


We would like to thank our sponsors:

Apex Geoservices; Ashdown Park Hotel; Cáit Branigan, Shamanic Practitioner; Murphy’s Gala Shop, Kilanerin; Oulart Hill Group; Stena Line Ferries; Wexford Lavender Farm
apex-logoashdown park Oulart2Stena LineWexfordLavenderFarmLogo

How it all went…

festival4Although strong sunshine was a factor in the success of the Wexford Walking Trail Festival last weekend, there was no doubt that the trails themselves and the local communities involved were the real reason for the success. Walking events were held in Gorey, Tara Hill, Oulart Hill and Killanerin – each with its own theme to highlight the unique characteristic of the trail.

The sense of pride at local level at each of the trails was evident when volunteers turned out offering hospitality and afestival3 welcome to walkers as they returned from each walk. Cups of tea and snacks were laid out as walkers converged in appreciation of the complimentary fare. There was a great sense of comradeship and exploration, many unaware of the trail treasures in their own area. While support at local level was crucial to the enjoyment of the festival, credit must also be given to those who supported the festival : Apex Geoservices; Ashdown Park Hotel; Cait Branigan; Murphy’s Gala Shop, Kilanerin; Oulart Hill Group; Stena Line Ferries; Wexford County Council and Wexford Lavender Farm.

festival1The festival attracted walkers from many parts of Wexford and Dublin and even a walker from Australia who accessed information on the Wexford Walking Trail facebook page while travelling in France.

Walks varied in tone and theme, starting with the ‘shamanic’ walk in Gorey which set the scene for the whole weekend, Garrett Keogh’s inspirational talk at the Welcome Reception in the Ashdown Park Hotel, the scenic and historic guided walk on Tara Hill, the walk on Oulart Hill whose highlight was the Autumnal Equinox but also incorporated a threshing event and storytelling and music at the Bygone Days Storytelling House. The festival culminated on the Kilanerin Trail with a festival2super foraging event led by Mary & Robert White which entertained and delighted all who took part. The response from walkers was hugely positive, with Rita from Ardamine commenting ‘it was the best weekend she’d spent in years’. Plans for the location of next year’s festival will start in the coming weeks.

The trails themselves were presented at their best in the sunshine. As members of the Wexford Walking Trail network, trails availed of funding and supports accessed by the network from government agencies, County Councillors; and Wexford County Council whose ongoing support ensures the sustainability of the network. Their funding was vital as network trails are required to reach a standard which calls for installation of waymark posts, trailhead signs and improvement of trail surfaces where necessary. Tremendous progress has been made on network trails and great credit is due to the volunteers who represent their trails in the network.

Festival Voucher Winners were: Eileen Buckley, winner of a ½ day Family Outdoor voucher for the Courtown Adventure & Leisure Centre; David O’Callaghan, winner of a voucher which entitles 2 adults & 2 children entrance to Wells House & Gardens; Rose Sullivan, winner of a family voucher for the Irish Agricultural Museum and Gardens at Johnstown Castle and Rita Cronin, winner of an OPW family Heritage Card. Congratulations to all and thanks also for the support of our fellow trail members.

Link to Facebook Festival album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.603476469806212.1073741842.412618925558635&type=1&l=1016439894

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