All roads will lead to Templemore next weekend, Friday July 15th, for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Friday evening walks.
The occasion will begin with an anniversary walk followed by a re-union in the Templemore Arms hotel with the obligatory birthday cake. There will also be a presentation of certificates to those who recently completed the Cosán na Naomh and Tochar pilgrim paths. According to Carmel Needham, chief organiser of the walk series “we would like to see as many as possible of those who supported our walks coming along on the night to renew old acquaintances.”
It was exactly 10 years ago that a small group headed off to Upperchurch for the initial outing. Their idea was to offer an opportunity to explore the beauty of the Tipperary countryside by providing low-level but scenic weeks walks for those not wishing to take on the challenge of the high mountains.
Since then the Friday walks have been a much anticipated summer fixture each year in Thurles. When are the Friday walks starting?, is a common question heard around Thurles each April and early May. The answer is that they start, without fail, each May and continue to early September. “The popularity of our Friday walks greatly exceeded our expectation over the years," says Carmel Needham. “We usually have between thirty and forty on each Friday, but this number can grow much higher with 82 coming along on one occasion to Upperchurch.”
The walks have explored many of the most scenic areas of Tipperary including the Glen of Aherlow, the Silvermines, Grange and Kilcommon while in recent years the group had branched out to explore some of the finest low-level walks in County Laois. Each year the group has also headed to walk abroad with the Camino being a continual favourite but other places visited have been, Cornwall, the English Cotswold Country and Chamonix. “For the first time this year, we didn’t go abroad”, says Carmel. “Instead many of our members completed the Irish pilgrim paths and we have the record for being the first group to do so.”
Next Friday’s outing is to the Devil's Bit Loop from the wood entrance at Borrisofarney. For those wishing to join, the meeting points are Slievenamon Road carpark, Thurles at 6.25pm and outside the Abbey Furniture Centre, Templemore at 6.45pm.
For further information, you can contact Carmel at 086 2602133.