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Hiking tour to explore the ancient origins of Halloween

18 October 2018

Local landscape guide and ecologist Martin Bradley has created a tour that invites curious visitors to explore rural Derry and Strabane this Halloween, to discover some of the ancient origins of the Celtic festival of Samhain.

The Halloween Origins Tour is a unique trip that visits a number of prehistoric sites and ancient habitats that hold tales about the beginnings of the festival.

The tour will take place from Friday October 26th to Thursday November 1st and is part of a wide range of trails in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Halloween 2018 programme.

“My tour explores stone circles, sacred wells, druid`s altars, ancient forests and stories of bog bodies, ritual offerings and more,” explained Martin who has an extensive knowledge of the plant archaeology of this region.

“It also considers the fact that many of the trees, shrubs and plants now found in our countryside have associations with ancient festivals such as Samhain.

“Interest in the tour has been quite surprising, with a healthy number of North American`s having already booked on Eventbrite. Plus Visit Derry has been able to point a number of Europeans to my origins tour as bookings from Austria and Spain have also been confirmed”.

The tour takes approximately 7 hours and departs from the Tourist Office at Foyle Street daily at 9.30 am, taking participants through part of Donegal and into the Derg Valley.

Those interested in taking part are advised to wear hiking boots and to prebook as places are limited.

Tickets are available on www.derryhalloween.com/tickets or by contacting Martin on 07926785706 or e mailing [email protected].

The Halloween Origins Tour is one of 11 trails on offer in the Derry Halloween 2018 Programme, including tours of the City Cemetery and the Tower Museum.

The 2018 Halloween programme will run from 26th October – 3rd November 2018, with over 100 family friendly activities at more than 40 venues, stretching over nine jam-packed days. Among the regular highlights which draw thousands to the city each year, is the Awakening of the Walls, which makes a welcome return for 2018, along with dynamic drumming sensations Spark.

There will be ghost tours, story-telling, animation, Halloween markets and so much more happening in the build up to the big night itself on October 31, when the traditional Carnival parade will bring hundreds of performers together to celebrate this year’s Return of the Ancients theme. The night will finish in a spectacular Halloween fireworks finale.

The programme is organised and funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from the Tourism N. Ireland International Fund. 

The full programme for this year’s Halloween Festival is available online at www.derryhalloween.com.