Festival guides have been out on the hills in the past week finalising the routes, with new walks for both low level and high level walkers. The festival takes place over three days from Saturday to Monday, May 31 to June 2, ending with Mass at the Oghillie Mass rock outside Newport on bank holiday Monday.The Mass will be concelebrated by Fr. Declan Carroll, P.P., Burrishoole, and Rev. Andrea Wills of the Church of Ireland, plus a number of other clergy.
It is also probably the most scenic celebration you will ever attend in Ireland, involving a climb of several hundred feet to the Mass rock, which overlooks Clew Bay.
This is the 27th year of Burrishoole Walking Festival, which boasts an informal and relaxed atmosphere. You don’t have to be an experienced hillwalker to take part. There are low level and high level walks, so everyone is accommodated.
Local volunteers, many of them farmers, are the backbone of the festival, offering walkers a unique insight into the landscape between Newport and Mulranny, uphill of the greenway.
As festival chairman Jackie Rumley sums it up: “The festival is all about opening up the unspoilt landscape in this part of west Mayo to visitors and also locals who maybe overlook what’s on their doorstep.
“Over the years our voluntary committee have given untiring commitment to sharing what is good about the area with visitors, many of whom travel from overseas, promoting tourism and supporting the local economy.
“Extending a firm hand of friendship is at the heart of what we do – friendships that span almost three decades at this stage – and we look forward to welcoming many of our old friends back, and to making new ones.”
The festival headquarters is based at the old Derradda National School, just outside Newport. It’s not all about the walking either, with many visitors staying locally and enjoying the evening get-togethers in Derradda.
The festival opens with registration on Saturday, May 31, at Derradda Community Centre at 10.30 a.m., with the walks starting at 11 a.m. There are two choices of walks – high and low level.
Sunday’s registration is again at Derrada Community Centre, at 11 a.m., with two levels of walks again on offer. Entertainment is in Derrada at 9.30 p.m., with the presentation of certificates to all who take part.
Monday’s Mass at Oghillie Mass Rock will take place at 2 p.m. The ascent to the rock starts at 12.30 p.m. and there will be refreshments afterwards in Derradda. This is a popular celebration with local people and everyone is welcome.
For more information, contact chairperson Jackie Rumley on (098) 36144 or treasurer Sinead Cuasck on (087) 2249679. You can also check out the festival website on burrishoolewalkfest.net or follow them on Facebook.