Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Orla Leyden, described Monday as “an epic day for County Roscommon” as Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring arrived to announce a passport and stamp initiative to promote the continued development and use of the county’s walking routes as part of the Beara Breifne Way.
Details of the extended walking route, which has been described as ‘Ireland’s Camino’ and runs from the Beara peninsula in west Cork to Blacklion in Cavan, were also announced at a reception at the Abbey Hotel which was attended by public representatives and representatives of Fáilte Ireland and the Heritage Council.
The route, which is over 500km, follows the historic march of Gaelic Chieftain Dónal Cam O’Sullivan Beara and his clan in 1603 following the Battle of Kinsale. The Suck Valley Way, the Lung/Lough Gara Way and the Miner’s Way extend the existing route by 70km to Blacklion, Co. Cavan.
At the launch, Minister Ring said that there were many people “knocking” rural Ireland but that the region was “alive and well” and that projects such as the Beara Breifne Way would keep it that way.
The Minister added that the creation of a passport and suite of stamps for users of the route would aid in popularising it as an outdoor attraction.
“The creation of a set of 74 Walking Passport stamps, for collection along the Beara Breifne Way, is an excellent incentive to encourage people to get out and use the route. These stamps allow the walker or cyclist to collect a stamp throughout each section of the route,” he said.
Each stamp depicts an aspect of the heritage distinct to the various areas travelled through on the walk.
The Minister added: “The issuing of pilgrim stamps along the Camino de Santiago in Spain and France has been an important element of the success of that world famous route and shows how we can increase the popularity of the Beara Breifne Way here in Ireland”.
Minister Denis Naughten highlighted the importance of projects such as the Beara Breifne Way in supporting local communities before adding that the Lakelands region would in turn support the walking route.
Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Cllr. Orla Leyden highlighted the potential economic boost to the region before praising the work of those involved.
“I would like to thank Jim O’Sullivan (Beara Tourism) and the 12 community walking trails for their pioneering spirit and determination to revitalise our rural communities and I would like to specially thank the farmers along the route who facilitated the walks by granting permission and thank the Leader and Partnership companies and staff and Rural Social Scheme and participants for their hard work”.