The Travel Tales with Fergal Podcast guest is Triona O’Mahony to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the setting up of the Munster Vales tourism initiative.
Triona O’Mahony is the tourism marketing officer of the Munster Vales which was set up through the hard work of local community groups, county councils and Government agencies to promote the stunning areas lying to the south of Cashel, east of Charleville, and north of Fermoy and Lismore, it’s a vast area between the counties of Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Tipperary.
The purpose of Munster Vales is to promote this geographical area as a unique tourism brand, linking everything in between the Comeragh, Knockmealdown, Galtee, Ballyhoura and Nagles mountain ranges. These five mountain ranges incorporate nine heritage sites and 1,100km of over 90 marked walking trails and provide a mix of outdoor recreational activities including walking, cycling and angling amongst historic inland and coastal and rural towns and villages.
The aim of Munster Vales is to develop and market our glorious region as “Ireland’s key inland visitor destination” and over the last five years through hard work they have successfully promoted this region within Ireland and internationally to highlight world class attractions like the Suir Blueway, Doneraile Wildlife Park, the Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, the Waterford Greenway, Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Park, Glen of Aherlow, Lough Gur and the Copper coast to name just a few places.
For me personally the drive that sums up the stunning natural beauty and majesty of the Munster Vales region is a summers’ evening drive from Clonmel through Ardfinnan and Clogheen past open fields golden from the setting sun in the west over the Galtees and reflecting light on the Comeraghs in the hazy distance. Then the drive takes you up and past the purple rhododendron covered hills all the way up to the Vee gap in the Knockmealdown mountains.
This viewing point shows off the Golden Vale plains stretching out as far as the eye can see behind you with Knockaunabulloga on one side and the Sugar Loaf on the other and a great walk to Bay lough just below. The drive down to through ancient forests brings you to the old bridge to enter Lismore with the castle guarding the village like a scene from the Game of Thrones.
The whole of the Munster Vales is full of great sites to see and I would recommend to visit places like Doneraile Court, the Blackwater Valley Makers in Fermoy, Curraghmore House gardens, Black Castle at lough Gur. An area of over 6,000 years of human history that has been written recently about by Manchan Magan in his new book Rivers of Goddesses.
The whole Munster Vales area has some of the best walking trails in Ireland over five mountain ranges, along many rivers and on Waterford coastal trails I would recommend readers to check the www.munstevales.com website.