Communities

The unique landscapes of the Geopark have presented many issues and challenges for the people that have lived here. However, they have also greatly contributed to the extraordinary diversity of settlers that have called this area their home.

Our UNESCO Global Geopark has a history of human settlement that dates back over 10,000 years – a near continuous history of settlement. Throughout this time there have been so many varying communities, all with different abilities, needs and experiences. However, they all have one thing in common. Every community that has dwelled within the Geopark has been influenced and dependent on the wonderful natural landscapes around them.

UNESCO Global Geoparks are not just solely about geology, they are fundamentally about people. Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark celebrates the links between humanity and the landscape in which they live and work. We want to encourage people to understand, explore and celebrate the ties between our communities and their heritage. We want to engage with local communities to ensure that they understand the ethos of the Geopark and are proud to be a part of it. It is vital that communities are heard and that their suggestions and contributions are integrated into our development plans and aspirations. We strive to build strong, cohesive community connections and provide opportunities for communities to fully participate and engage with the Geopark. Equally, we strive to empower individuals within communities to act as ambassadors and champions of the Geopark, both within their local communities and with visitors. At present our Geopark guides are a pivotal link to our Geopark communities, and we are devoted to continuing to nurture this connection.

Geopark Guides

With an abundance of unique natural, and cultural heritage throughout the Geopark, it is extremely important to not only conserve this area for generations to come but also to educate those living and visiting the area.

It is hoped that when people visit sites within the Geopark that they enjoy the wonderful, natural environment and connect with the landscape. One way we encourage this is through our cohort of almost 30 Geopark Guides.

The Geopark established a group of Geopark Ambassadors in 2011. This group are crucial to the delivery of our engagement programme within west Cavan. With their on-going support, assistance, and enthusiasm, we are able to deliver a truly diverse programme to engage with locals and visitors alike.

In 2020, the Geopark worked in partnership with the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to roll out a Co-ordinated Education Training Programme to enable the creation of a network of 20 Heritage Champions.

Our Geopark Ambassadors and Heritage Champions act as an important conduit for meaningful community engagement within the Geopark. It provides an opportunity for new community based sustainable tourism projects and initiatives to be developed and most significantly ensures that local people have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to ensure that the unique and special landscapes of the Geopark are understood, interpreted, and celebrated by all for many generations to come.

With their on-going support and assistance over the years, they have enabled Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark to operate a truly diverse and exciting programme of activities and experiences allowing locals and visitors alike to explore, enjoy and learn more about the Geopark and its unique heritage.

Meet the Guides

Anke Morgenroth

I am the founder of Bear Essentials & Silver Bear Centre in Bawnboy, Co Cavan. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Geopark I created the Irish Lakeland Bears. We love to share our knowledge and creativity, surrounded by mountains, lakes, and amazing wildlife plants with you during our Teddy Bear making classes and during our teddy bear hospital experience.

Anke Morgenroth

Barry Flanagan

The Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark is so important to the people who work in Tourism and Hospitality in this area. I personally wanted to know more about it, in particular its social history, so I could share that knowledge and encourage people to explore it when I take them on tours of Lough Erne with my company Erne Water Taxi. To me the Geopark is home, a special place that I look forward to sharing with our visitors and that’s why I became a Geopark Guide.

Barry Flanagan

Bee Smith

Born in the USA, I lived in England for 14 years before settling with my Northern Irish husband on an acre and a quarter in West Cavan in 2001. A writer since childhood, the Cavan soil provided good nurture for a mid-life creative flourishing. I had poetry published in Irish and UK journals, as well as online and creative non-fiction has appeared in USA and UK magazines over the past 25 years. I have also taught creative writing workshops as Word Alchemy to adults and children, online, in person and in the Irish Prison Service since 2012. A Geopark Guide since 2011, my most recent endeavour has been as curator of the Geopark Poetry Map.

Bee Smith

Desmond Gough

I am from Tipperary and have lived in Cavan since 2000. I trained as a Geopark Guide in 2011 and am an ambassador for the region’s unique heritage. I look after visitors to Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Retreat and Meditation Centre near Bawnboy in West County Cavan. I give tours, talks, and deliver meditation programmes online and to the local school. I facilitate Jampa Ling’s Summer and Winter Programmes and represent the Centre on the Templeport Development Association and Bawnboy Community Festival, and as a Geopark Guide.

Desmond Gough

Fergal Connolly

I have a had a lifelong interest and love of nature, wildlife, and history in particular. Living close to the Geopark area and guide work with Cavan Adventure Centre further inspired me to become a Geopark Guide for the Geopark. I love to share my interest and knowledge with all those who come to visit this beautiful, rich diverse landscape and to tell the stories of the wonders of its wildlife, the features of the landscapes and especially the human history of its many ancient sites.

Fergal Connolly

Heather Bothwell

I am a naturalist, with a particular interest in insects. I’m interested in exploring and looking more closely, with young and old, the fantastic range of habitats within the Geopark.

Heather Bothwell

Helen Carleton

Despite having grown up in the area, I still manage to be struck by the beauty found within the Geopark – from the striking profile of Cuilcagh Mountain, down to the vibrant displays of tiny wildflowers. I explore the diverse habitats of the Geopark through walking, hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming, and caving – there really is something for everyone. As a Geopark Guide I hope to be able to share my knowledge of the habitats, flora and fauna of the Geopark to enhance the knowledge and appreciation of this truly special part of the world for locals and visitors alike.

Helen Carleton

Ian Sturdee

As a Geopark Guide l am able to deliver a lot of experiences to our visitors, for example, I have a good knowledge on how local communities would construct their little cottages, how people would benefit from the limestone in the area, including how they used the unique plants that grow in the area for medicinal purposes centuries ago, as well as the folklore associated with the karst and cave systems in our Geopark. I would like to deliver some workshops in the future concerning the above-mentioned experiences.

Ian Sturdee

Kevin Baker

Since arriving in Fermanagh 40 years ago, I have been struck by its natural beauty. I have always loved the outdoors and the wonders of nature. Ten years ago, I had the opportunity to work in the Marble Arch Caves and the Geopark as a Guide. Gaining a greater understanding of biodiversity during this period, helps me understand the delicate balance of nature and the effect “Man” has on his surroundings. By promoting and educating others on what Fermanagh has to offer, may help maintain its unique habitat for future generations. Being a Geopark Guide gives me the opportunity to share with others, this beauty.

Kevin Baker

Morag Donald

I am a visual artist who is inspired by the varied landscape of the Geopark. I love to walk and take photos which inspire my felted and woven artworks. My creative tours combine calming time in nature with creating something to take home as a touchstone of your experience.

Morag Donald

Tony Smith

I am the owner of Oakwood Bushcraft Forest & School Wilderness, living here in Fermanagh. My lifelong passion is the love of nature and great outdoors. Living here within the Geopark I have loved the sense of adventure that it provides me with. I love to instruct, teach and guide others and let them experience the beauty of the Geopark. I do this through wild camping, bushcraft, foraging, Leave no Trace, canoeing and boating. From an early time in my outdoor life I have been interested in the association between the benefits of the outdoors and the effects it has on our health and wellbeing. I look forward to meeting you all and helping you experience the great outdoors of the Geopark.

Tony Smith

Trevor Foster

I am an experienced paddle coach and leader and am privileged to be a Guide to the Geopark in my role as Heritage Champion. I founded Blue Green Yonder; an outdoor adventure company which is designed to be part of the Waterways Ireland Blueway and is based at the Lakeland Canoe Centre on Castle Island. Our company hires out water sports equipment, and also offers guided tours throughout the Geopark, paddling, walking, historical tours, foraging, bushcraft and survival skills, wild swimming, and camping.

Trevor Foster
Geopark Sites

Geopark Sites

Straddling the border between counties Fermanagh and Cavan, our Geopark allows v...

Maps & Guides

Maps & Guides

Our publications are aimed at helping people to appreciate, understand and ident...

Things to Do

Things to Do

Tours cover things such as boglands, historical monuments, education on conserv...

Atlantic Geotourism Route

Atlantic Geotourism Route

An awe-inspiring trail of magnificent destinations awaits you right along the ep...

FAQs

FAQs

Find out more about getting to and around the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark plus in...