Ross MillarAndrea HarrowerTom Cooper
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WalkNI.com - In your boots!

Posted on May 30, 2012 @ 4:27 PM in Walking

With summer just around the corner, many Irish walkers are already planning how they may spend this year’s holidays. In an attempt to gauge general opinions of the walking fraternity, WalkNI.com recently caught up with Dublin-based Patrick Harraghy to find out what makes him tick and to see if a walking break to Northern Ireland would be high up his agenda this summer.

Patrick Harraghy

Have you always lived in Dublin?
No. I lived in South Donegal/North Leitrim up to 1975. I then moved to Co. Monaghan and lived there for around 3 years. I finally moved to Dublin in 1978 and have lived here ever since. If I’m honest I feel more at home now in Dublin but love going back to Donegal.

Have you always enjoyed hill walking or is this a pastime you’ve taken up in recently?
I grew up on a farm and have always had a love of nature. When you move to a city environment you begin to appreciate the countryside and the freedom of the hills even more than when you lived there. I would say that I have had a real interest in hill walking for about the last fifteen years. It’s the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and just get back to the basics of nature. 

What is it that keeps you hooked on walking?
For me, hill walking is all about experiencing true freedom and enjoying nature and I would say that I’m kept hooked by being able to share these experiences with other like-minded walkers.

Is there a particular walk which best showcases the landscape on your doorstep?
If I am going local I would generally take in the area around Lough Dan in Wicklow. There are some great walking routes here with fabulous views.

Compass or GPS?
If I was heading on a long-distance walk I would generally reach for my map and compass although I sometimes would put my GPS in the rucksack as a backup.

How often do you walk with your local club?
We would generally get together at least once a week and then would probably take a trip away within Ireland every bank holiday weekend. The club tries to travel abroad for walking trips around twice a year.

Do you ever walk in Northern Ireland? If so, do you have a favourite area?
I would say that I take day trips up to the Mourne Mountains about ten times a year and would generally spend about two weekends there every year. It is a stunning mountain range with unique rock formations and spectacular views. Underfoot is nice and solid and the entire range is so easily accessible from Dublin, so it would be an easy favourite for me.

Slieve Bearnagh, The Mourne Mountains

Have you ever attended any walking festivals in Northern Ireland? How did you get on?
I have done The Mournes Seven Sevens for the last 4 years. This event summits seven peaks over seven hundred metres in the Mourne Mountains and so is quite a challenge but it is so well organized and there is always a great festive atmosphere in the area.

How do you normally find out about new walking routes, events and festivals?
I participate in most of the challenge walks in Ireland and I mark the dates in my diary at the beginning of the year. I find out the dates from chatting to other walkers, from websites such as WalkNI.com and of course from Walking World Ireland.

What would you say to those who have never before been walking in Northern Ireland?
You don’t know what you’re missing.

What does the future hold?
Our club is planning on bringing twenty-five walkers up to the North Coast of Northern Ireland for the weekend soon and some of us are also planning to partake in a local challenge walk while we’re there. I’m also organising a trip to the Mournes for the weekend of the Seven Sevens again this year.

Visit www.walkni.com for detailed route descriptions, images and maps for over 300 quality walks across Northern Ireland. 

 

Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong  Mountain Bike Officer

Chris looks after all things mountain biking in Northern Ireland ...it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!

1 comment has been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Patrickkur on April 3, 2013 @ 10:01 AM

very nice place to visit..

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