The 2019 Footsteps in the Forest festival saw magical Slieve Gullion Forest Park welcome thousands of young fairy, witch and giant hunters at the weekend.

The annual festival, produced by Newry, Mourne and Down Council and supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, was a free day out for all the family with artists, musicians and performers bringing the forest to life with story-telling, magic, character appearances and entertaining performances throughout the weekend.

Face painting, arts and crafts kept the kids entertained for hours and a local food market had plenty to keep forest explorers of all ages fuelled for their mystical adventures and fairy folklore.

Patricia Nagalska (6) from Lurgan with Fairy Patta at the Footsteps in the Forest Festival at Slieve Gullion Forest Park.
Patricia Nagalska (6) from Lurgan with Fairy Patta at the Footsteps in the Forest Festival at Slieve Gullion Forest Park.

Both days featured theatre performances with a cast of woodland characters calling on children and their mums, dads and carers to join the hunt for the missing fairies after the fabled wicked witch Calliagh Berra chased them away and taken the friendly giant Finn McCool prisoner.

Energetic youngsters got to explore the forest trails to their heart’s content, jump and swing around Finn’s adventure playground, learn how to make fairy garlands using forest finds, enjoy an array of magic shows and storytelling or enjoy a magical picnic whilst listening to the Serendipitous Sessions.

Chairman of Newry Mourne & Down District Council, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “Footsteps in the Forest Festival is a signature event for Newry, Mourne & Down District Council and it’s an event that truly captures the imagination of families across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.

“This year’s Festival has proven to be has been a tremendous success with thousands of families making the trip to Slieve Gullion Forest Park over the two days of the free event to enjoy the fantastic array of arts, crafts, music, magic and story-telling as well the best of local food and drink.”

This event is as part of the wider Newry, Mourne and Down Giant Adventures Programme.

For information on other upcoming Giant Adventures and Events in Newry, Mourne and Down see

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