Launch of Nire Valley Walking Trails and first Irish and English smartphone walking App by RTE’S John Murray

THE FIRST smartphone walking App in both Irish and English, which will guide visitors around the Nire Valley in the Comeragh Mountains in Co Waterford, will be available to download later this month.

The app will act as a virtual guide for the thousands of tourists who visit West Waterford, helping them navigate four new scenic Nire Valley Walking Trails and learn about the rich history and culture of the region at the same time.

The Nire Valley Walking Trails were officially launched on Saturday (July 7th) by RTE presenter and walking enthusiast, John Murray, at a celebration in Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford. Developed to National Trails Office standards, the trails range in distance from 6km to 9km, taking walkers through stunning lake, mountain and valley scenery.

A smartphone App to give visitors information on what they encounter on the walks will be available to download from mid-July in both Irish and English. It is the result of collaboration between Waterford County Council, Fáilte Ireland, the Comeragh Mountains Forum and Nire Valley Tourism.

Developed by Waterford Company ZolkC, the App which will cost €1.99 will allow users download walks maps and will link them to restaurants and accommodation in the Valley, including the renowned Hanora’s Cottage restaurant and guest house, Glasha Farmhouse and the Ballymacarbry Hostel.

Speaking at the launch of the new Walking Trails today County Mayor Billy Kyne commended the local community, and in particular the landowners, for working in a spirit of co-operation with Waterford County Council on developing these attractive walks.

John Murray, who regularly hosts walks on his RTE Radio One programme, said it is wonderful to see so many people all over the country take advantage of the many walking trails we have.

“The Nire Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and with the help of this new App I hope more and more people will come to experience it for themselves. I am particularly delighted to see that the App is available in both Irish and English. It is great to see modern technology being used to enhance people’s enjoyment of the great outdoors.”

Well known local walking guide, Michael Desmond, said the App will allow visitors to experience the strong traditions and culture of the valley using smartphone technology.

He revealed that the creation of the App led to the discovery of some old traditional songs which were nearly forgotten. “When I was researching our local history for the App I met two senior residents who started singing tunes from times past. We took the opportunity to record them and they can be heard on the Nire Valley Walking App ensuring the songs will be there for future generations.”

Don Tuohy, Senior Executive Officer of Waterford County Council, said: “The Nire Valley is an ideal location for having a really good walking experience. There are top-class walks available locally for all types of walker. We are very excited by the potential of the new app-guide and the partnership we have with ZolkC. It will connect visitors to the Nire Valley with all our trails and others attractions too. The Irish version would not have being possible without the support of Foras na Gaeilge.”

Bronwen Robinson from ZolkC said: “Our walking companion apps are changing the way people experience the outdoors. To bring the history, the people, the songs and the wildlife of the Valley to life as you walk the trails in this beautiful landscape allows an emotional connection with the landscape in a way that was not possible before.”

Waterford County Manager, Denis McCarthy, said the Council has been making huge efforts over the last number of years to increase the numbers of walkers and cyclists visiting the county, thereby boosting tourism revenue. “Hillwalkers stay an average of 17 days which is significantly longer than the average holiday maker and that’s where our marketing efforts are currently focused.”

The Nire Valley Trails will be included in a new promotional brochure featuring twenty Co Waterford walks to be published later this month by Waterford County Council.

The App is the latest in a number of promotional tools being developed by Waterford County Council to boost tourism in the county, and follows on the success of the Council’s tourism website www.itsafeeling.com.

To download the app simply search “Nire Valley Trail Guide” the app store.

 

Links: http://www.itsafeeling.com/top-attractions/get-out-there/comeraghs.html

 

http://www.itsafeeling.com/walking-trails.html

 

About The Comeragh Mountains and Nire Valley

Situated in the south east of Ireland, the Nire Valley runs into the Comeragh Mountains meeting them under the Nire lakes. Inhabited since the Early Bronze Age, the Valley is glaciated and contains six of the 16 lakes to be found in the Comeraghs.

In the Nire valley you can climb Knocksheegowna, walk along Knockanafrinn ridge and see Counties Waterford,Tipperary, Cork and Kilkenny spread out beneath you.

You can stand 1200 feet above Coumshingaun, one of the finest corrie lakes in Europe, and marvel at the forces of nature that shaped such a place. Or see the smoking waterfall “Bean Piobra”, or walk along an ancient road crossing the mountain through the Gap.

The Nire Valley is rich in culture, song, dance and poetry.

Nearly long forgotten songs that have been rediscovered and are on the new App are:

  • Plains of Nire Valley – written by Pádraig Ó’Fiannúsa (the only recording of this song in existence)
  • Dark Shadows on the Wall – unknown
  • The Rose of Aught na Buone – unknown
  • Babs – written by Liam Ryan
  • The Burno Bungalow – written by Liam Ryan

 

ZolkC Information re: Waterford County Council Nire Valley Launch –

ZolkC is a Waterford based company that has revolutionised the tourist experience with its world-first user friendly audio visual guides and interactive technology. The company’s hand held ‘vGuide’, and specially created Apps, deliver amazing interactive experiences at prestigious visitors centres and key tourist attractions in the UK, Ireland, and Canada.

 

ZolkC grew out of the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group at Waterford Institute of Technology and now employs 13 people. Founded in 2007, ZolkC ‘s unique hand-held multi-media guides are in use at Scotland’s Loch Ness, the Scottish Highland’s Culloden Battlefield site, the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, the Shetland Geopark, the Jasper Tramway in Alberta, Canada, Wexford’s Ros Tapestries, Dunbrody Famine Ship, and many more. See www.zolkc.com

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