A brochure and maps of 10 forest, mountain and road walks around the scenic Comeragh Mountains near Rathgormack village have been published to attract more walking tourists to the area.
Olympic silver medallist and Irish Sports Council Chief Executive John Treacy officially launched the “Way Marked Ways” brochure and walking route maps at Rathgormack Community & Hiking Centre last Saturday afternoon.
The event was attended by Deputy County Mayor of Waterford Cllr Ger Barron, Carrick-on-Suir based Senator Denis Landy, Fine Gael TD Paudie Coffey, Cllr Mary Greene from Rathgormack, Rathgormack Community & Hiking Centre Committee and members of the local community.
Two thousand “Way Marked Ways” brochures and maps cards have been printed and are available from Clery’s Newsagents, Splash & Chat and the Heritage Centre in Carrick-on-Suir and Power’s Shop in Clonea. The brochure is free and map cards cost E2
As well as information on the walking routes, the brochure features useful facts on local history and heritage as well as local tourist accomomodation, restaurants, cafes, pubs, other leisure pusuits and visitor attractions.
The maps and brochure were compiled by the Rathgormack Walks Project Co-ordinator Michael O’Donoghue, a keen hill walker, who founded Rathgormack Ramblers hiking club.
The Rathgormack Walks Project began about four years ago with the marking out of firstly the road and forest walks including Ross Bridge Road Walk, Clondonnell Loop Walk, Glenpatrick Bridge Loop Walk, Lough Mohra Loop Walk, Rath Beag Loop Walk and AlBoithrin an Mhargaigh Walk. More recently the mountain walks of The Gap between The Nire and Rathgormack, The Boolas and the Coumduala Linear Walk have been marked out for hikers.
The walks project has been funded by a E33,000 grant from the former Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs and support from Waterford Co. Council.
Michael O’Donoghue, a former teacher at Carrick-on-Suir CBS Secondary School, has put in hundreds of man hours of work marking and mapping out the walking routes.
He points out that the walks are the first Failte Ireland approved loop walks in Co. Waterford and there is a route to suit every level of fitness and age ranging from the 2.5km Boitrin an Mhargaidh Walk to the tougher 10km Boola/Gap Loop Walk.
Following the official launch of the brochure and map cards, Sports Council CEO John Treacy led a large group of walkers including children on an hour long trek of the Glenpatrick Bridge Loop forest walk. At the end of their hike, the walkers enjoyed refreshments back at the Rathgormack Community & Hiking Centre.
John Treacy said the Sports Council was very impressed with the brochure and congratulated all involved in the project and paid tribute to their hard work.
The former World Cross Country Champion said Rathgormack was a lovely place, which reminded him of the village he grew up in on the other side of the county.
He hoped the walks and brochure promoting them would encourage more people to visit Co. Waterford and spend their money in the county.
Michael O’Donoghue, who presented Mr Treacy with a mirror crafted by local woodturner Eddie Fogarty, thanked the owners of land along the walking routes and Waterford Co. Council for their support of the Walks Project.
Rathgormack Community & Hiking Centre Committee Chairperson Cllr Mary Greene echoed Mr Treacy’s hope that the brochure will bring more people to the Rathgormack area to enjoy its beautiful views and walk.
She said Rathgormack Community Centre, which includes a hostel, was the perfect place for school groups and young people striving to achieve Gaisce awards to come and stay and do the walks in the area.