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Three new looped walking routes for Carlingford, Co. Louth were launched last Friday by Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Mary Hanafin, TD.

These new walks Common’s Loop, Slieve Foye Loop and Barnavave Loop, were developed with support from Fáilte Ireland and Louth County Council and offer walkers the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular surroundings and natural beauty of Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula.

Each of the routes begin at the Carlingford Tourist Office Car Park and are designed to suit average levels of fitness and are well serviced catering for the occasional and leisure walker.

Complementing the new walks we are delighted to see the expansion of Fáilte Ireland’s Walkers Welcome initiative to the Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula.

The Walkers Welcome initiative aims to raise the standard of service walkers can expect from their walking holiday in Ireland. Responding to the needs of walkers, a series of Walkers Welcome charters have been developed as a commitment from local communities and tourism providers to offer the best walking experience possible in the area by providing:

* Guaranteed regular maintenance and upkeep of local walks;
* Walks information, including mapboards and signage,
* Local Walkers Welcome approved accommodation;
* Local amenities committed to providing walker friendly service in shops, pubs and cafes (for example; the provision of packed lunches, spaces for mucky walking boots etc).

20 local businesses including accommodation providers, Hotels and Guesthouses, restaurants, and walking operators and guides have already signed up to the Walkers Welcome initiative in Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula and it is expected this number will continue to grow further in 2011.

Launching the new looped walks Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Minister Hanafin emphasised the importance of developing our tourism offering even at this challenging economic time –

“It has always been clear that walking in Ireland is a particular draw for both domestic and overseas visitors and it is wonderful to see the development of our walking offering in an area as picturesque as Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula.

Developments such as these new walks are an important way of ensuring our tourism infrastructure is kept strong and well positioned to benefit from an economic upturn, when it comes. When the world’s economy improves, and more and more tourists return to our shores, we can rest assured that Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula will be ready and able to offer visitors a high quality walking experience.”

Following on from the Ministers comments Kevin Kidney, Head of Operations, Fáilte Ireland in the East and Midlands continued –

“The addition of Carlingford and the Cooley Penninsula to the Walkers Welcome initiative brings the number of businesses involved nationally to approx 150.

We are delighted to see so many tourism and non tourism related businesses actively involved in improving the walkers experience and I would encourage visitors to look out for the Walkers Welcome Logo so that they can be assured of a warm welcome with ample information and services to help them enjoy their walking experience in the area.”