Many people from West Cork have completed the Camino of St James to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, and received the certificate as a due reward for their efforts. This year hundreds of pilgrim walkers are expected to avail of a new opportunity for a Camino style walk on Ireland’s pilgrim paths, one of which is St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Way starting in Drimoleague.
A new passport has been introduced, aimed at encouraging Irish people and overseas visitors to follow Ireland’s hugely scenic but little known Pilgrim Paths. This will involve completing 120km of Ireland’s fully waymarked pilgrim paths and then receiving a Teastas Oilithreachta (Irish Pilgrim Walks Certificate) from Ballintubber Abbey. In order to obtain the Teastas Oilithreachta, participants must walk each path according to local guidelines and produce evidence of completion in order to receive the local pilgrim stamp on their passport. When all five walks are completed the fully stamped panel on the passport can be forwarded to Ballintubber Abbey to obtain the Teastas Oilithreachta.
The five pilgrim walks that must be completed to obtain the Teastas are: St Kevin’s Way, Co Wicklow; Cnoc na dTobar and Cosáin na Naomh, Co Kerry; the Tochar to Croagh Padhraigh, Co Mayo and St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Way in Co. Cork. Passports are available from the Camino Information Centre, St. James’s Church, James Street, Dublin; Ballintubber Abbey, Claremorris, Co Mayo and the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc in Drimoleague. Tel: 086 1735134.
The St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Path can be completed in two days. With walkers rewarded by its glorious culmination in Gougane Barra, St Finbarr’s is an ideal introduction to the other four paths. Details can be found at www.topoftherock.ie and regular group walks are undertaken through the summer. Full details on all pilgrim walking opportunities in Ireland are available by visiting www.pilgrimpath.ie.