Co. Waterford’s long-awaited Comeraghs Wild Festival returns this year after a Covid-19-enforced two-year break.
And, organisers say it is going to be better and bigger than ever with loads of family-focussed events and plenty to see and do for lovers of the great outdoors.
The action-packed programme of events has something for everyone, from thrill seekers, hikers, surfers and yoga enthusiasts, as well as live-music lovers and culture vultures, according to organisers.
This year’s event, which takes place from July 7-10 (inclusive) also has a very strong nature, wildlife, and eco theme, with educational and fun events also taking place over the four-day festival.
The Comeragh Mountains region in Co. Waterford takes in the stunning Copper Coast and breathtaking Nire Valley, a varied natural terrain that includes parts of the award-winning Waterford Greenway.
Renowned television and radio broadcaster, author and biologist, Eanna Ni Lamhna, will join local man, Stephen McCarthy of StepsBackThruTime walking tours for an eco walk close to part of the Waterford Greenway in Kilmacthomas on Saturday, July 9.
She is no stranger to the Comeraghs and is looking forward to her visit.
“Years ago – when I was young – people were not so aware of the importance of the environment,” she said.
“The value of trees for biodiversity and the importance of insects as pollinators were not widely appreciated. Today, however, people really want to be part of nature. In the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to keep within 5km, people got more interested in what they saw and did and became more in tune with nature.
“Today, that continues. People are using pesticides less. They are letting parts of their gardens go wild for the butterflies, birds, and bees. They’re growing wildflower meadows and planting trees. Our walk and talk will help foster this interest and give the whole family a greater appreciation of the world around us.
“I’m delighted to see so many eco events on the festival programme. It’s a fabulous, authentic festival that celebrates the natural beauty of the region and I’m looking forward to joining in the fun and going a bit wild myself,” she quipped.
Festival spokesperson, Mary Flynn, said it is great to be back showcasing all that is special about the Comeraghs.
“We’ve new venues, new events, new attractions and many of our most popular crowd-pullers are back,” she said.
“This is a fabulous and varied terrain with fantastic natural amenities and it’s only fitting that this year’s festival has a very strong green theme and focusses on appreciating and protecting our wildlife and our countryside.
“Our flagship concert in the mountains features legendary blues, jazz, and soul singer, Mary Coughlan, and her live band. This concert has been moved to Crotty’s Lake which is equally idyllic but has better parking, toilet and catering facilities, making the venue far more accessible for all.”
“We’re delighted to confirm that The Backyard Band will be entertaining from 8:00p.m,” Flynn added.
“We’ve a full Nire Valley Drop this year, a hog roast and live music at Nire/Fourmilewater GAA Club and Eanna Ni Lamhna will be joining Stephen McCarthy for an eco walk and talk from Kilmacthomas Railway Station.
“Internationally renowned Irish wildlife cameraman, filmmaker and television presenter, Colin Stafford-Johnson is also joining us for a talk in Portlaw.
“Also new to this year’s programme are music, singing, dancing and storytelling at The Nook, Gateway Eco Camping Park and a Comeragh Mountain Lamb Feast at Cooney’s Yard.
“Eddie Lenihan is back by popular demand at Nell’s; there’s morning yoga and events for children at Crough Wood; surfing at Bonmahon; a Craughan Loop Guided Walk by Muddyboots; and outdoor theatre at Curraghmore House and Gardens.”