Pilgrims arriving at Gougane Barra on a previous walk.

Cork path has been chosen for a national pilgrimage

A county Cork pilgrimage path has been included among the 5 routes being walked as part of the Irish Pilgrim Journey, 2023.

Starting on 17 June, walkers in Cork will travel along the St Finbarr's Pilgrim Path which goes from Drimoleague to Gougane Barra.

The 35km route is one of the busiest of its kind in the country.

The path is part of a nationwide and fully guided walk called the Irish Pilgrim Journey which is taking place along Ireland’s penitential paths over the midsummer period.

Outside of Cork, the other 4 ancient routes being followed are located across the country including Cnoc na dTobar in Cahersiveen, County Kerry; Cosán na Naomh in Dingle, also in County Kerry; St Kevin’s Way in County Wicklow as well as Tochar Phádraig in County Mayo.

The 120 km journey, which is open to all and takes place from June 17-24 June, is organised by the local communities in each area.

Knowledgeable guides will lead each walk, allow time for personal contemplation, outline the story of the route, and explain how medieval penitents coped with their arduous journeys.

Upon completion of a path, participants will collect a stamp before being awarded a Pilgrim Journey Certificate when they arrive at Ballintubber Abbey, Co Mayo after finishing the full walk including all 4 paths.

Speaking at the launch of the Irish Pilgrim Journey, Chairman of Pilgrim Paths Ireland, John G O’Dwyer said: “The medieval pilgrimage originally combining prayer and sacrifice with an element of physical challenge.”

He continued: “Recently, there has been great interest in following the footsteps of pilgrims past and connecting with our forefathers on a pilgrim walk.

“The upcoming Irish Pilgrim Journey is ideal for those seeking to escape the daily grind of life and take time out to reflect while enjoying the outdoors and meeting like-minded people,” John conluded.

John also said that advance booking for the pilgrimage is essential and must be made individually with each pilgrim path.

Information on how to book can be found on pilgrimpath.ie.

Pilgrim Paths Ireland was founded in 2013 as the umbrella association for the community groups representing the principal pilgrim paths in Ireland.

It works to re-develop and build awareness of these routes for the enjoyment of walkers and pilgrims alike while promoting locally based tourism initiatives.