A group of dedicated walkers put their best foot forward in the bilingual, 24.5 mile Camino Mhacha trek from Mullaghbawn to Armagh City at the weekend.
The route through Co Armagh retraces the epic journey of Cú Chulainn, Ulster’s greatest mythological hero.
Aonach Mhacha, Cairde Teo and Gael Linn, who organised the walk, were also behind the state-of-the-art Irish language and arts centre which opened in Armagh city in March 2020 along with Cairde Teo.
As well as those walking, this year’s event attracted one notable runner, Mattie Lennon of Derrynoose, who has managed Armagh Camogie county teams at senior and minor levels, and whose time this year was 3hrs 35min 20 sec. Last year he ran the course in 3.37 hours.
It wasn’t all hard work, though. The walkers enjoyed refreshments at McCoy’s Bar in Cullyhanna and Basil Sheils of Tassagh, as well as being able to refuel at various points along the route.
Back at Aonach Mhacha, the walkers were treated to Indian cuisine from Spice Lounge and traditional music.
Each person received a commemorative T-shirt and a Camino Mhacha medallion.
Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, CEO of Gael Linn and walk organiser, said they were delighted with the response to this year’s event.
“We had walkers from all ages and backgrounds. It will no doubt become an annual feature for locals and visitors and grow steadily year upon year,” he said.
“Cú Chulainn, our greatest mythological hero, inspired this walk. Our councils should get behind an event like this if we are to maximise the Camino concept in Armagh as has happened in other places.
“This is our third year running Camino Mhacha. It’s all about wellbeing and respect for our environment, our shared heritage and culture.”
The group has offered to pass on its maps and signage to any other groups wishing to complete the walk on their own steam.
The aim of the walk is to raise awareness of our shared cultural heritage, the benefits of walking for physical and mental wellbeing and the environment.
It was supported this year by Foras na Gaeilge, Gael Linn, McCoy’s of Cullyhanna and Basil Sheils of Tassagh.
For more information about Camino Mhacha visit www.caminomhacha.com