The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan T.D today launched the fifth all- Ireland National Trails Day which will take place on Sunday 7th October. National Trails Day is aimed at increasing awareness of the recreational facilities available to everyone and encourages people to experience a trail in their locality. All events are organised and run by volunteer local guides and this year the National Trails Day Partners are asking anyone who has never taken to a trail before to attend on the day.
National Trails Day is an all- Ireland event organised 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. This year over 150 events are taking place across the country. The trails are themed according to interest, ability and region with something to appeal to everyone including an Electric Bike trail in Leitrim, a paddle down the Liffey and an Autumn Nature Children's walk in Tipperary.
At the launch the Minister Deenihan issued a call to all those who have previously never considered taking a trail before to take come out on the day, "Ireland has an incredible network of trails weaving through our mountains, rivers, hills and forests exposing us to beautiful scenery and wildlife. As Minister for Heritage, of particular interest to me is the focus on heritage and biodiversity trails as part of National Trails Day. People can take part in trail walks that focus on, for example, the 1798 rebellion in Wicklow, the red squirrel in Tyrone, and the exceptional diversity of the raised bog habitat in Clara, County Offaly. National Trails Day is an excellent way to engage with our beautiful landscape, and its biodiversity and heritage, and I would strongly encourage people to take to a trail on foot or bike on October 7th."
David Gunning, Chief Executive of Coillte said "National Trails Day is now a firmly established annual event, over the course of the past five years the numbers taking part each October grows. We then see this trend reflected in the use of the trails for the rest of the year. So this is a very important day in our calendar. "This year we are extending the National Trails Day invitation to all those who have never taken a trail before and with guides available to show people along the trails, we think it will be a wonderful introduction to this great natural resource".
Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland " Ireland's network of trails criss-cross some of the most beautiful parts of the country and every year hail rain or shine tourists travel to Ireland to walk, hike, mountain bike and kayak along the network. National Trails Day is a means of encouraging all people here to do the same and I would encourage people to discover Ireland's great walks for themselves".
John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council said "This year there are more family friendly National Trails Day events than ever before, with trails suitable for families with buggies, trails for toddlers and adventure trails for older children. National Trails Day is the perfect way to introduce children to the outdoors and realise the impact outdoor activity that can have on the quality of people's lives.
A full listing of events is on www.nationaltrailsday.ie. Event organisers can still post events for the day by logging on to the website and completing the form.