By Sean Ryan - 06 April, 2015
Large numbers of both Irish and overseas visitors have walked the country’s 11 ancient trails over the course of the weekend.
Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, the Chairman of Pilgrim Paths Ireland, John G O’Dwyer said, “National Pilgrim Paths Day offers all comers from every religious background and none an opportunity to reconnect with Ireland’s medieval heritage.”
The paths are: Turas Glen Colm Cille, Sliabh A’Liag and Lough Derg in Co Donegal, Sli Mor in Co Offaly, Tochar Padraig in Co Mayo, St Kevin’s Way in Co Wicklow , St Brigid’s Pilgrim Path in Co Kildare, Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop in Co Tipperary, Rath Dysert Pilgrim Path in Co Clare, Cosan na Naomh and Cnoc na d’Tobar in Co Kerry, St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Path in Co Cork and St Declan’s Way in Co Waterford.
Supported by the Heritage Council, guides from local communities led each of the pilgrim walks while outlining the story of the route and explaining how medieval penitents coped with their arduous journeys.
Mr O’Dwyer said, “The support received last year on the first National Pilgrim Paths Day was overwhelming. Over 1,800 people walked or cycled the pathways of Ireland’s ancient pilgrim paths.”
“This year we invite people to once again escape from the daily treadmill of living and take some time out to reflect on life while experiencing the joy of exploring the hidden places of peace and beauty.”
He added, “As with the highly successful event in 2014, Pilgrim Paths Day again aims to provide a warm welcome for participants of all religious backgrounds and equally those without religious affiliations.”
“It is planned as a unifying day emphasising Ireland’s common Christian heritage and is designed to facilitate a deeper understanding of the country’s historic past.”
He said every effort has been made to facilitate the participation of families, the less fit, and in so far as possible, those with special needs in a unique event aimed at rediscovering Ireland’s rich medieval and spiritual inheritance.”
Most of the pilgrim walks have been single day events which took place on Saturday 4 April. However, some take two or three days.
All are targeted at facilitating a degree of deeper reflection on, and appreciation of, the Irish outdoors and the Easter period.
More information at www.pilgrimpaths.ie