ONE of Dingle's newest and most popular events returns next month as the 2013 Dingle Walking Festival takes place from February 15-17.
Festival director Colm Bambury launched the 2013 programme of walks this week along with members of the Dingle Cliff and Coast Rescue Service who will be one of the festival's main beneficiaries.
According to Colm, if the turnout for the 2013 Dingle Walking Festival is even half as good as last year's event - which saw nearly 600 walkers take part - local organisers will be delighted as the walking festival provides an important boost to the local economy at what is traditionally considered to be a very quiet time of the year.
The weekend commences with a night walk on Friday February 15 from the Dingle Brewing Company where Crean's Lager is made. This 90 minutes walk cost €5 and all proceeds will go to the Dingle Coast and Cliff Rescue Service.
On Saturday February 16 a number of walks are on offer including a five hour walk to Mount Brandon beginning at Baile na hAbha before heading on to Masatiompáin and Brandon and descending to Baile Bhreac via the Pilgrim's Route.
A walk to Conor Pass beginning in Glens, taking in the Owenmore Valley enroute and a local looped walk towards Conor Pass and return via Garfinny Bridge on number of local ' bótharíns' also forms part of Saturday's activities.
Sunday February 17 begins with a walk from Glens to Barr an Ghéaráin (part of Brandon) and then on to Conor Pass and back to Dingle.
A walk on the ancient pilgrims route Cosán na Naomh (The Saints' Road) will include some of the Dingle Peninsula's most iconic early Christian sites such as Gallarus Oratory and Cill Maolchéadair Church.
The final walk of the festival is St. Colman's Walk – Siúlóid Cholmáin - a looped wall by Ceann Trá taking in historical sites such as Séipéilín Cholmáin and Caisleán Rath Fhionáin.
According to Colm, buses from Dingle to the beginning of all routes have been organised along with packed lunches.
"Registration for all walks - bar the night walk on Friday - will take place in Danno's Restaurant & Bar on Strand Street and people must register if they want to take part," said Colm.
"This is the third staging of the festival and it is really going from strength to strength; all the route information is available on DingleWalkingFestival.com and people are welcome to get in touch for more information'"he added.