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Northern Ireland and Ireland join the Appalachian Trail


From September, walkers on the Bluestack Way in Donegal or on the Ulster Way can be excused for thinking they are walking an American trail. Now our two famous trails will officially be part of a long-distance route network called the International Appalachian Trail, one of the best known walking paths in the world. This will help lift the profile internationally for walking here.  Details of the trail are on the website

Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan and Donegal TD Joe McHugh, joined International Appalachian Trail President, Paul Wylezol and local IAT Chair Magne Haugseng to launch the trail at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh at 2pm on Saturday 31 August 2013.

Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan said:

“The International Appalachian Trail will be very much welcomed by the many long distance

walkers on our shores. What’s more, it gives them an opportunity to experience Northern

Ireland’s stunning and diverse landscape, passing through four Areas of Outstanding Natural

Beauty (AONB) and to wonder at the biodiversity and enjoy the local built heritage.

The route stretches from Slieve League in Donegal to Kelly’s Bridge in the Killeter Forest on the Border with Strabane and onwards to Bollagh Mountain where it joins the Ulster Way as it curves north to the Antrim coast, before turning south through the Glens, ending at Larne. In Scotland, the route starts at Strandraer and runs north all the way to Cape Wrath. The trail continues around the coast of the North Sea, skips across to the Faeroe Islands, to Iceland and to Greenland before reaching Newfoundland in Canada, where it continues south to the US border.

Senator George J. Mitchell adds his support to the IAT:

“It is a wonderful accomplishment to have created a continuous trail from Slieve League in Donegal to Larne in Northern Ireland. Congratulations to all the relevant borough councils in Northern Ireland, who signed up, one-by-one to the Ulster Way becoming part of the International Appalachian Trail.”


Photo: Magne Haugseng; Mark H. Durkan; Omagh Deputy Chair Sorcha McAnespy; Paul Wylezol, IAT President; Joe McHugh, Donegal TD

For more information, click here.