New festival to celebrate the beautiful Comeragh Mountains

Pictured at Mahon Falls in the Comeraghs mountains are: Ellie Moran (6) and Lisa Kavanagh. Picture: Patrick Browne

Pictured at Mahon Falls in the Comeraghs mountains are: Ellie Moran (6) and Lisa Kavanagh. Picture: Patrick Browne

Mountain walks by full moonlight, night time trail runs, reflective meditation, music & storytelling and performance poetry with a Young People’s Laureate are amongst the myriad offerings at the inaugural Comeraghs Wild Festival, details of which have been announced.

Taking place from 19th-22nd September, the Comeraghs Wild festival programme encompasses heritage, nature, literature and music. It is the only festival of its kind in the country, according to organisers, and designed to showcase the beauty and heritage of the Comeraghs and expose visitors to the area’s authenticity and “unique sense of place”. Events will take place across the Comeragh mountains’ communities, along theCopperCoast and in Dungarvan, the festival hub.

One of the festival highlights is A Full Moon Walk in the Comeraghs up to Coumshingaun Lake with international mountaineer and expedition leader Michael Whelan to witness the Harvest Full Moon rising to the East. There is the intriguing option of staying overnight in a tent with supper and storytelling. Other highlights include The Full Moon Trail Run which will also take place at night along the renowned Kilmacthomas trail run, lit only by the full moon. A Last Journey Walk across the Comeraghs from Ballymacarbry to Rathgormack, with music and story telling enroute, linking two communities and ending with a night of music and food at the legendary Nell’s Farmhouse, will be another “wild” experience over the festival weekend.

Heritage-themed initiatives include a three-hour Miners Trail that celebrates the mining heritage of Waterford’s Copper Coast and a separate 6km guided walk of the former cotton mills and famine graveyard of Kilrossanty where Irish born geographer and explorer John Palliser is buried. Fans of “Big Houses” will enjoy a guided walk of the stunning Curraghmore Estate, built by the De la Poer family, led by its former butler.

The spiritual stillness of the Comeraghs merits its own event entitled The Sacred Wild. Taking place at St Helena’s Church in the Nire Valley and in Dungarvan, The Sacred Wild features stillness, poetry, music and reflection that embody the Comeraghs’ mystical environment.

A strong arts strand to the Comeraghs Wild Festival reflects the historic links between Walesand Waterford’s CopperCoastand includes workshops and performance poetry with Young People’s Laureate for WalesMartin Daws, Welsh storyteller Fiona Collins and Wales-based teenage author Lucy Christopher.

Daws is widely regarded as one the best live performance poets in Britainand is a double winner of the Farrago Slam competition for performance poetry. Welsh storyteller Fiona Collins helps people to connect with their environment through stories and story making, while novelist Lucy Christopher, who grew up in Australia and now lives in Wales, is best known for her multiple award-winning teenage novel Stolen.

Irish-based talent is also highlighted with author Claire Keegan joining poet Mark Roper and storyteller Niall de Burca on the varied and exciting programme. Claire Keegan is renowned for her award-winning short stories and whose collections include Antarctica and Walk the Blue Fields. Niall de Burca is considered one of Ireland’s finest traditional storytellers. Mark Roper is an English-born poet and editor, based in Kilkenny, whose poetry collections include The Hen Ark, Catching the Light, The Home Fire, and Whereabouts.


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