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Walking festival in Upperchurch this weekend

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 3:28pm
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Walking festival in Upperchurch this weekend
Walking festival in Upperchurch this weekend

The scenic mountain village of Upperchurch will once again be the setting for a few days and nights of fun and frolics, exercise and entertainment this weekend, November 9th, 10th and 11th, as this year’s Walking Weekend goes ahead with nine walks and runs, and four offerings of indoor events to test the stamina of outdoor fitness enthusiasts and party lovers alike.

An annual fixture since 2006, the event has attracted thousands of visitors down the years and this year looks like being another crowd-puller. The organisers have laid on a wide selection of walks for all levels of ability but the big attraction has always been the hospitality and the chance to meet old and new friends, not to mention the stew the walkers get to help recover from their endeavours.

The activities kick off on Friday evening at 7.30pm with two road walks over 7km and 12km, starting in the village. Neither is particularly difficult with only a few minor hills. At least that’s all the locals would regard them as!

Saturday morning at 10 o'clock sees the start of the 18km Hills of Upperchurch walk, regarded as the most difficult of the weekend. Walkers do really need to be fit for this one. There are two much easier walks later in the day, the 8km Birchill Nature Trail starting at noon at Rosmult on the Thurles-Upperchurch road, and the Red Hugh-Knockalough walk, starting at 12.15pm in Upperchurch. This latter walk has the option of a 6km or a 10km circuit.

Walkers should note that the Eamon an Chnoic 8km loop walk is on Sunday only at 12.30, again starting from Upperchurch. Also on Sunday, the Hollyford-Red Hill walk over 14km starts at the earlier than usual time of 10.30. This walk is mainly on forest tracks and visits sites connected with the famous rapparee, Ned of the Hill. There will also be a 5km Fun Run around the Bog Track beside Upperchurch Hall starting at 2pm on Sunday.

A new and challenging addition to this year’s programme is the Thurles to Upperchurch walk, over 20km starting from Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre at 10.30am. The route goes along the road through Cormackstown to Farney bridge, before traversing the fields and farm roadways via Moyaliffe Hill, Drombane Co-op, Whitehall lane and the summit of Knockalough en route to Upperchurch village and the well-earned stew. While not particularly difficult, the walk is quite long and is expected to take about five hours. Free return transport to Thurles will be provided afterwards.

Indoor entertainment starts with the Seisiún Mór in Kinnane’s on Friday night. There will be Set Dancing lessons in Oliver Ryan’s immediately after the walks on Saturday at 4pm. Culture Night was a well-received addition to last year’s events and this year it will again be held in Pa’s Bar on Saturday at 8pm. The programme will include classical music and singing, a couple of short films of local interest, a play reading and two talks on what to look for in a painting and an overview of coffee production with samples for tasting. There will also be a traditional music session at Jim o’ the Mill's at 10pm.

The full brochure can be seen on the Facebook page of Upperchurch Hill Walking Trails, or phone 086-0518934 for enquiries. All registrations 15-30 minutes before the start of each walk. The organisers wish to thank sincerely the kindness of the landowners and also the committees of Upperchurch and Hollyford halls and Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre.

Programme of Events
Friday 9th, 7.30pm: Start in Upperchurch, 7km Moher-Gortkelly Road Walk and 12km Moher-Finnahy Road Walk, followed by Seisiún Mór in Kinane’s.
Saturday 10th: Start in Upperchurch at 10am - 18km Hills of Upperchurch Walk and 12.15pm: 6km or 10km Red Hugh- Knockalough Walk. Start at Rosmult at 12 noon for 8km Birchill Nature Trail Walk. Set dancing lessons in Oliver’s at 4pm. Culture Night in Pa’s Bar at 8pm. Traditional music at Jim o’ the Mill’s at 10pm.
Sunday 11th: Start in Hollyford at 10.30am - 14km Hollyford-Red Hill Walk. Start in Thurles at 10.30am for 20km Thurles- Upperchurch Walk. Start in Upperchurch at 12.30pm for 8km Eamon an Chnoic Loop Walk and 2pm for 5km Fun Run.

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