Songs and strolls in Ballyhoura festivals this October

Pictured at the launch of Ballhoura Walking Festival. Photo: Don Moloney

BALLYHOURA is the place to be this October as two wonderful festivals come together where the countryside unfolds like a storybook.

The Ballyhoura Walking Festival and Joyce Brothers Music Festival promise a fantastic weekend combining the natural beauty of the landscape, the great outdoors, and the magic of traditional music and history from October 5 to 8.

Established as Ireland’s first-ever walking festival back in the day, the Ballhoura Wakling Festival, now in its 27th year, provides an opportunity to explore some of Ballyhoura’s stunning scenery

Many of the walks – which are suitable for all abilities – are led by members of the Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club, who have in-depth knowledge of the area and its heritage, history, flora, and fauna.

For the third year in a row, the Walking Festival is collaborating with the Joyce Brothers Music Festivalwhich complements the walking programme with its own jam-packed schedule.

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It promises a weekend of music, song, history, and workshops, celebrating the wonderful legacy and remarkable lives of brothers PW and Robert Dwyer Joyce, natives of Glenosheenwho were renowned for collecting and documenting Irish music and songs.

The Cultural Food Fair 2023, organised by Kilfinane Community Council, also returns once again this year.

The fair brings together local and international members of the community as they prepare traditional dishes for people to sample, and takes place on Saturday October 7 at Ballyhoura Apple Farm from 2-4pm.

Amongst the walking programme’s highlights are the Moonlight Walk to Castlegale on Friday evening (October 6), Saturday’s breath-taking Sunrise Walk to Seefin, the highest point of Ballyhoura Mountains, as well as Ballyhoura Highest Peaks Hike for those who like a little bit of challenge. 

There are lots more trails and walks and a chance to enjoy Irish folklore and mythology with Eddie Lenihan at O Céallachairs Pub in Kilfinane.

There’s also a chance to experience a yoga walk and forest bathing, a guided tour of Doneraile Park and Gardens, and a family-friendly bug safari on Griston Bog.

For more on the festival lineup, log on to