Friday 08 March 2019 12:30:57 AM

Thousands Attend Footsteps In The Forest Event
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Over 12,000 visitors flocked to Slieve Gullion on Saturday and Sunday for a packed weekend of family fun and adventure as part of this year’s Footsteps in the Forest Festival.


Newry Mourne and Down District Chairman Cllr Mark Murnin is abducted on a wheelbarrow by woodland elves.

Featuring a host of magical make-believe characters, storytelling and a bustling schedule of activities, Footsteps in the Forest returned to the slopes of Slieve  Gullion, attracting enthralled crowds for the third year in a row.

Hillsborough couple Elizabeth and Mark Bloomer with their children Isaac (10) and Elodie (8).

Throughout the weekend, larger than life creatures including mischievous trolls, naughty fairies, woodland fawns and dragons, led captivated children enjoying theatrical storybook tours throughout the forest ferns.

Young visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond took part in a range of craft activities, including making swords and shields, to fairy wands and doors, masks and leaf crowns.

These high visitor numbers further support Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s goal of becoming the premier tourism destination on the Island of Ireland as set out by its Corporate Plan 2015-2019.

According to the most recent statistics released last week by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) Tourism Local Government Statistics, spending from overnight trips to Newry, Mourne and Down has risen by 47% from £61m in 2016 to £90m in 2017.

The spend profile has been on an upward trend since the amalgamation of the Councils in 2015, when estimated spend on overnight trips to the region was £48.1m.

Footsteps in the Forest was supported by Tourism NI and is part of the Giant Adventures Programme.

Upcoming events include the Festival of Flight on Saturday 11 August, Wake the Giant on Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 August and City of Merchants in Autumn.

Further information about the Giant Adventures programme can be found at:

Children get in touch with the magic of the woodlands.


Mr and Mrs Troll causing havoc in the forest.