The fifth annual National Trails Day took place across the country today and organisers have hailed it as the most popular National Trails Day ever as record numbers turned up to participate in the free events. National Trails Day is an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the variety of recreational facilities and resources available to everyone in their locality.
National Trails Day is run by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; the National Trails Office of the Irish Sports Council, Coillte and Fáilte Ireland along with Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland and this year the theme of the event is to encourage those who have never taken a trail before to do so. Locally all the events today were run by volunteer local guides who led groups out throughout the day. Some of the trails which took place today are as follows:
- Horse ride, Bel-Air Equestrian Centre, Ashford, Co Wicklow
- Nature trail, Coillte Forest Park Curragh Chase, Kilcornan, Co. Limerick
- Guided canoe trip along the Barrow River, Graiguenamanagh Co. Kilkenny
- Social mountain biking trip, Killarney National Park, Co Kerry
- Cliff walk from Donabate to Portrane, Co Dublin
David Gunning, Chief Executive of Coillte said " National Trails Day is a very important day in the Coillte calendar as it is the day we can introduce more and more people to these great natural resources. I am delighted to see so many people out on the trails today and hope they will continue to use them all year around"
John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council said "The Irish Sports Council is thrilled with the turnout today, we consider National Trails Day an important means of introducing people and families to the variety of resources that they can utilise, from water trails to walking and biking and equestrian trails. I hope for those who participated in the trails today for the first time that they realise what a great resource they have at their doorstep"
Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland said "Ireland has a unique countryside that hundreds of thousands of people travel to every year to take advantage of. National Trails Day was set up to increase awareness of this natural beauty for the people who live here because no matter where you live in your county you are never too from a variety of wonderful amenities. I want to congratulate all the local volunteers who worked so hard to make today a success."
Please see www.nationaltrailsday.ie for more details.