Minister Michael Ring launches Beara Breifne Way initiative to enhance visitor experience 

Published 9 April 2018

Walking Passport and Heritage Stamps mirrors Camino de Santiago experience

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has said that the creation of a suite of 74 stamps for users of the Beara Breifne Way will help popularise this ancient walking route.  The Minister was speaking at the official launch of the Beara Breifne Way Heritage Stamps in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.  

Minister Ring said: “The number of people visiting Ireland and engaging in outdoor recreation activities has increased significantly in recent years, with many more Irish people and visitors from abroad engaging in a broad range of outdoor recreation activities including walking and cycling.

“The creation of a set of 74 Walking Passport stamps, for collection along the Beara Breifne Way, is an excellent incentive to encourage people to get out and use the route. These stamps allow the walker or cyclist to collect a stamp throughout each section of the route.”

Every stamp depicts an aspect of heritage particular to the area through which the traveller passes. So, for example, a fishing boat is used at Castletownbere. Other features appearing on the stamps include the iconic Romanesque doorway at Clonfert Catherdral and the bridge at Dowra at the northern end of the route.

The Minister added: “The issuing of pilgrim stamps along the Camino de Santiago in Spain and France has been an important element of the success of that world famous route and shows how we can increase the popularity of the Beara Breifne Way here in Ireland.”

The 500km Beara Breifne Way extends from the Beara peninsula in west Cork, through Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim to Blacklion in Cavan. It follows the route of the historic march of the O’Sullivan Beara clan in 1603.

Each of the 12 routes that make up the Beara Breifne Way has its own stamp, as do each of the 62 towns or areas that the Way passes through, making 74 stamps in total.  

Minister Ring continued: “Each community group has chosen the subject matter for the stamp to reflect its own area.  Therefore, visitors get a direct understanding of the feature that each community sees of high importance in their particular area.  Similar to the Camino de Santiago, it is hoped that the collection of stamps in their Walking Passport will drive visitors to call into shops and businesses along the route to collect them, and to experience first-hand the hospitality of the community through which they are walking.”

“In 2017, we had a record year for tourism. I was delighted to be in a position support the further development of Ireland’s outdoor recreational infrastructure by approving €13.6m for over 250 projects under the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Scheme during the second half of 2017 and early 2018, which included €986,692 for the completion of the Beara Breifne Way.”

The Minister added: “The increase in people accessing the outdoors and taking part in a range of outdoor activities is of major benefit to the health and economic prosperity of communities all over the country and it is therefore important to develop and promote amenities such as the Beara Breifne Way in order to maximise their potential for the benefit of the communities along the Way.”