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This weekend will see Slieve Gullion Forest come alive with magical fairies, witches and giant hunters (Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June 2019) as Newry, Mourne & Down District Council prepares for its annual Footsteps in the Forest Festival.

Celebrating all the ancient folklore and fairy stories of the beautiful mountain just beyond Newry, this annual festival is free for all the family.

Artists, musicians and performers will bring the forest to life with story-telling, magic, character appearances and entertaining performances throughout the weekend.  Face painting, arts and crafts will keep the kids entertained for hours and a local food market will have plenty to keep forest explorers of all ages fuelled for their adventures.

Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, Cllr Charlie Casey is pictured with some of the festival’s fairytale characters.
Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, Cllr Charlie Casey is pictured with some of the festival’s fairytale characters.

Chairman of Newry Mourne & Down District Council, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “The magical kingdom of Slieve Gullion is the perfect place for little fairies and giant explorers to enjoy outdoor adventures and get acquainted with some of the ancient creatures of our local folklore. With such rich story-telling heritage in this area, it’s a great way to keep the local myths and legends alive for the next generation.  Footsteps in the Forest is a perfect family day out and we’re really looking forward to it.”

The Footsteps in the Forest Festival calls for visitors to join in the hunt for the missing fairies who have gone into hiding after the fabled wicked witch Calliagh Berra has chased them away and taken the friendly giant Finn McCool prisoner.

Energetic youngsters can explore the forest to their heart’s content, tire them out at Finn’s adventure playground, take time out to learn how to make fairy garlands using your forest finds or simply pause for a magical picnic whilst listening to the Serendipitous Sessions.

The newly elected Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, Cllr Charlie Casey is pictured with some of the festival’s fairytale characters, along with little Leila McCullough (6) and Jake Williamson (7).
The newly elected Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, Cllr Charlie Casey is pictured with some of the festival’s fairytale characters, along with little Leila McCullough (6) and Jake Williamson (7).

There are hourly performances along the way, both days, with magic shows starting at 10.15am, storytelling starting at 10.30am, and main stage performances throughout the day from 11am, so plan your visit to take it all in.  Finale on stage at 5pm (each day) where we’ll find out who will save the Magical Kingdom.

Please note there will be exclusive Quiet Guided Walks each day at 10am and 10.15am, ahead of the crowds, offering a quieter tour, suitable for people with sensory processing disorders, for example Autism.   The Quiet Guided Walks are free, however pre-booking via the website is essential www.visitmournemountains.co.uk

On arrival at Slieve Gullion Forest Park visitors will be met by mythical creatures who will lead the walk into their park adventure.  This year the event is non-ticketed with plenty of activities running from 10am – 6pm throughout the day.

This event is taking place as part of the wider Newry, Mourne and Down Giant Adventures Programme, kindly supported by Tourism Northern Ireland.

Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down Enterprise, Regeneration & Tourism Committee, Cllr Roisin Mulgrew has said that the events in the Slieve Gullion area should provide “festival and fun” for all.

“Last year over 12,500 visitors came to the forest park were they enjoyed a full range of family focused events such as street threatre, fairies, magicans, and great entertainment. Most of this was provided by local dance schools and musicians.

"The Festival is also a great opportunity for local artisan food suppliers and crafters to showcase their produce and talents while younger visitors can try their hand at a bit of crafting themselves”.

Follow updates on Facebook @VisitMourneMountains, Twitter @VisitMourne and #Footstepsintheforest.

For information on other upcoming Giant Adventures and Events in Newry, Mourne and Down check out GiantAdventures

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