Some of the Spanish visitors at a rection in the Drogheda Tourist office.
When, on June 16th 2019, a group of about 70 walkers set off from St. Peter’s Church in West Street on the first ever official Boyne Valley Camino walk, it was the fulfilment of a long held dream for Dusty Flanagan and his friends in the local walking group.
Since then, the Boyne Valley Camino has gone from strength to strength and is now attracting thousands of visitors to the region each year and providing a popular amenity for walking groups from the locality and further afield.
The Boyne Valley Camino is a 25 kilometre looped walk that starts and finishes in Drogheda, it is an official leg of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain.
In medieval times pilgrims travelled long distances to Drogheda from all over the North East and Midlands before embarking at Drogheda Port to sail to A Coruña, one of the starting points of the Camino route.
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Last week the traffic was in the opposite direction as a group of dignitaries from A Coruna and the Galicia region of Spain visited Drogheda.
The Spanish group, who were welcomed to Drogheda by Louth County Council, Boyne Camino Group and Love Drogheda BID were here to celebrate the link between Drogheda, the Boyne Valley and Galicia. In attendance was the Presidente of the Diputación de A Coruña, Valentín González Formoso.
He was joined by Antonio Leira Piñeiro: A Coruña Provincial Council Manuel Miras Franqueira: President Association of Councils of the Camino Inglés Maite Loureiro Ventureira: Head of the Tourism Department of A Coruña Provincial Council and Lanzada Calatayud Álvarez: Camino Ingles Project Manager in Ireland and UK and Michelle Yalch Camino Society of Ireland
Drogheda has historical links with Galicia in Spain, most notably the Celtic Camino, a 100KM walking route to Santiago de Compostella, 25KM of which is located as the Boyne Valley. The earliest recorded journey from Drogheda was 1473 when the Lord Mayor and local shipping Merchant John Fowling made the pilgrimage by ship.
Today this journey has been revived and Drogheda has received many visitors looking to complete the Irish section before continuing to Spain. This Celtic Camino route from A Coruña to Santiago has been approved as an official Camino in 2016, with the certification of the Boyne Valley Camino in 2019.
While in Drogheda, the Spanish delegation visited the Boyne Valley Camino Trailhead at St Peter’s, the Tourist Office, Laurence Gate, The Highlanes Gallery and met with Collette Moss and Thomas McEvoy of Louth County Council, TD Ged Nash, Cllr Pio Smith, Hubert Murphy, Chair of the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Chair of Drogheda United, Mark Mohan of Fáilte Ireland and Manager of Ireland’s Ancient East, other Boyne Valley Trails Walk Leaders and the Trevor and Kelly Louise from Drogheda BIDS.
The sun shone, lunch in Scholars was top class, as was the music by local group Tradify, where Lanzada tried her hand playing the Uilleann pipes.
The two regions share many cultural elements, including Celtic Mythology, music, and trade. Dusty Flanagan and members of the Boyne Valley Camino group were delighted with the success of the visit and look forward to building stronger links between the two cities across the Celtic Sea on the Celtic