RTE Television

Tracks and Trails

Featuring spectacular walks and cycle tracks in stunning locations all over the country, the programmes will be presented by a different personality each week in this five episode series.


Episode 1: Connemara

In the first episode of the new series, newscaster Aengus Mac Grianna walks the beaches of Carraroe in West Galway, taking in Gorumna and Lettermullan before finishing at the promontory at Golam Head.

The beautiful village of Carraroe in West Galway is the starting point for one of Ireland's best known faces, Aengus Mac Grianna, as he walks through the south Connemara Gaeltacht. His route takes him northwest towards the pier at Caladh Thadhg before reaching the coral beach at Dóilín on the peninsula's western tip. Along the way he meets many interesting local characters, among them former Olympic boxer Mike Lally.

Further on he heads for Ceantair na nOileán. These islands were once divided from the mainland by tidal channels but were bridged by causeways in the late 19th century. After visiting the heritage centre in Lettermullan, Aengus' final destination is Golam Head. Golam is a desolate promontory with an 18th century signal tower which now serves as a marker of the journey's end.

Episode 2: Lough Boora

Retired politician and author Liz Mc Manus travels along the looped walks in the Midland Parklands of Lough Boora and journeys on a 16km route from Durrow Castle in Laois to the highest point in the area, the Ballagh.

In this week's episode Liz Mc Manus visits the 50km of looped walking paths in Lough Boora, between Birr and Tullamore. Liz starts her first walk here in the cutaway bog; she is later joined by parklands manager Tom Egan and geologist John Feehan who shed some light on the mystery of the ancient missing lake.

For the second part of her walk Liz Mc Manus tackles a challenging 16km route of river walks and forests in Durrow, Co. Laois. The trail head begins near the gates of Durrow Castle and meanders in a loop around the town taking in the highest vantage point in the area, the Ballagh, where local historian Sean Conroy accompanies her to the top.

Episode 3: Dublin

Broadcaster Jim Sherwin chooses a walk from the Bull Wall in Clontarf, Dublin where he travels along the coast road before moving inland. He passes the house where Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula was born and visits the Casino in Marion on his way to the National Botanic Gardens.

In this week's episode, broadcaster Jim Sherwin, explores the streets of his native Dublin. The route will bring him over familiar ground as he traverses the north side of the city from the Bull Wall in Dollymount along the coast road to the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. Human history is an ever present companion and along the way Jim meets Clontarf Heritage historian Collette Gill, Marino tour guide Pat Liddy and the curator of the National Botanic Gardens, Paul Maher.

Episode 4: Mullingar

Novelist, broadcaster and travel writer Manchán Magan explores the Royal Canal towpath west from Mullingar through Abbeyshrule and Killashee, to where the canal joins the River Shannon.

In the final episode of the series, experienced traveller Manchán Magan journeys west from Mullingar along the Royal Canal's towpath. At summit level, Mullingar is the highest point of the Royal Canal - from there, 25 locks descend east to Dublin and 21 locks descend west to the Shannon. Manchán will walk and cycle to where the Royal Canal joins the River Shannon, exploring the history of the canal along the way. The canal was once a hive of industrial activity and has since been restored so it now serves as a picturesque hub for leisure activities and tourism. Each lock and harbour along his journey tells new stories as Manchán travels into County Longford through Abbeyshrule and Killashee.

Tracks and Trails
  • RTÉ One, Friday, 7.30pm

Related links:

Irish Trails: www.irishtrails.ie

Coillte: www.coillte.ie

Pobail: www.pobail.ie

Discover Ireland: www.discoverireland.ie

Irish Times: www.irishtimes.com

Transport: www.transport.ie