Easter festival to focus on retracing christian pilgrim paths

A new Easter festival envisages thousands of people retracing their ancestral christian heritage on Ireland’s ancient pilgrim paths.

The country boasts a series of traditional holy trails throughout Munster, Connacht, and Leinster. From March 22-29 has been designated National Pilgrim Paths Weekend and during the Easter period, a series of events have been organised.

A day-long pilgrim’s trail event, first held in 2014, has been extended into an inaugural week-long festival. The walks will take place on medieval penitential trails.

Local guides will lead each event, outline the story of the route and explain the motivation behind the medieval pilgrimage. The walks are in locations such as:

  • Tochar Phadraig, Mayo;
  • St Kevin’s Way, Wicklow;
  • Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop, Tipperary;
  • Rath/Dysert Pilgrim Path, Clare;
  • Cosán na Naomh and Cnoc na dTobar Pilgrim Paths, Kerry;
  • St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Path, Cork;
  • St Declan’s Way, Waterford.

Copies of a pilgrim passport for Ireland also will be available during Pilgrim Paths Week.

The passport offers a unique opportunity to walk 120km of Ireland’s foremost medieval trails and receive a Teastas Oilithreachta (Certificate of Completion) from Ballintubber Abbey.

Speaking about the launch of the new festival, chairman of Pilgrim Paths Ireland, John G O’Dwyer said: “Recent times have seen a remarkable renewal of interest in following the footsteps of pilgrims past.

“In this context, National Pilgrim Paths Week was created to raise awareness and use of Ireland’s historic pilgrim routes.

“The event is targeted, not only at those who enjoy exploring and learning more about the intriguing history of Ireland’s ancient tracks, but also the growing number of people seeking to escape the daily grind of life and take some time out for reflection while enjoying the great outdoors.”

To find out more about the National Pilgrim Passport, go to www.pilgrimpath.ie; email info@pilgrimpath.ie

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