THE FIRST smartphone walking App in both Irish and English, which will guide visitors around the Nire Valley in the Comeragh Mountains will be available to download later this month.
The app will act as a virtual guide for the thousands of tourists who visit the Nire, helping them navigate four new scenic Nire Valley Walking Trails and learn about the rich history and culture of the region at the same time.
The Nire Valley Walking Trails were officially launched on Saturday by RTE presenter and walking enthusiast, John Murray, at a celebration in Ballymacarbry. Developed to National Trails Office standards, the trails range in distance from 6km to 9km, taking walkers through stunning lake, mountain and valley scenery.
A smartphone App to give visitors information on what they encounter on the walks will be available to download from mid-July in both Irish and English. It is the result of collaboration between Waterford County Council, Fáilte Ireland, the Comeragh Mountains Forum and Nire Valley Tourism.
Developed by Waterford Company ZolkC, the App which will cost €1.99 will allow users download walks maps and will link them to restaurants and accommodation in the Valley, including the renowned Hanora’s Cottage restaurant and guest house, Glasha Farmhouse and the Ballymacarbry Hostel.
John Murray, who regularly hosts walks on his RTE Radio One programme, said it is wonderful to see so many people all over the country take advantage of the many walking trails we have.
“The Nire Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and with the help of this new App I hope more and more people will come to experience it for themselves. I am particularly delighted to see that the App is available in both Irish and English. It is great to see modern technology being used to enhance people’s enjoyment of the great outdoors.”
Well known local walking guide, Michael Desmond, said the App will allow visitors to experience the strong traditions and culture of the valley using smartphone technology.
He revealed that the creation of the App led to the discovery of some old traditional songs which were nearly forgotten. “When I was researching our local history for the App I met two senior residents who started singing tunes from times past. We took the opportunity to record them and they can be heard on the Nire Valley Walking App ensuring the songs will be there for future generations.”
Don Tuohy, Senior Executive Officer of Waterford County Council, said: “The Nire Valley is an ideal location for having a really good walking experience. There are top-class walks available locally for all types of walker. We are very excited by the potential of the new app-guide and the partnership we have with ZolkC. It will connect visitors to the Nire Valley with all our trails and others attractions too. The Irish version would not have being possible without the support of Foras na Gaeilge.”
The Nire Valley Trails will be included in a new promotional brochure featuring twenty Co Waterford walks to be published later this month by Waterford County Council.
To download the app simply search “Nire Valley Trail Guide” the app store.