The Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark is located across west County Fermanagh and west County Cavan. Standing at 655 metres, and through the highest peak of both counties, the border cuts through Cuilcagh Mountain. To help you explore what the heart of the Geopark has to offer we have handpicked the top 8 sites surrounding the Cuilcagh Mountain area for you to enjoy, make memories and learn about our heritage along your way.
From the deepest part of County Fermanagh, where the public can be fascinated by the underground world, to magical waterfalls, biodiversity havens, to the tip of Cuilcagh Mountain, there is something for all members of the family to enjoy.
Distance: 56.3km/ 35miles
Time: 8+ hours
Florence Court House is surrounded by thick woodland, with 10 miles of trails to cycle or walk along whist enjoying the majestic countryside setting.
The house itself is named after the wife of Sir John Cole who first built a house on the spectacular site in the early 18th Century. The present Palladian style house was probably built by his son John, afterwards the 1st Lord Mount Florence.
The wings and Pavilion were added to the mid-18th Century block around 1770 by William Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen. Disaster struck in 1955 when the main building was virtually gutted by fire. The house and the striking plasterwork have been meticulously restored by the National Trust. Tours of the house are provided seasonally.
Discover magical moments in one of Europe’s finest show caves. The Marble Arch Caves pay homage to the fascinating secrets of a world of subterranean rivers, winding passages, lofty chambers and an array of delicate cave formations.
Enthusiastic guides conduct tours along carefully constructed paths enabling you to comfortably traverse through awe-inspiring passages whilst the discrete lighting displays the cave features and delicate cave formations to their best.
The tour takes approximately 75 minutes and passes through approximately 1 mile/1.5km of cave passage with energetic sections of steps and stairways.
The Marble Arch Caves is open daily from March to October.
Cuilcagh Mountain Park takes in 2,500 hectares on the northern slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain. The distinctive tabletop profile forms a natural focal point of an area rich in geology, archaeology, folklore, history and wildlife. At 665 metres, the mountain summit is the highest point in both Counties Fermanagh and Cavan.
As you steadily climb the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, which is 4 miles of a difficult linear route, you meander and weave your way through a rugged boulder landscape to eventually reach the viewing platform. The viewing platform positioned precariously at the edge of the mountain plateau offers breath taking views over the surrounding landscape and an opportunity to take a well-deserved rest before starting your decent.
The Killykeegan National Nature Reserve is representative of the most extensive area of limestone grassland in Northern Ireland. The thin soils covering the limestone bedrock in this area support a rich variety of colourful herbs and plants including pink thyme, blue harebell and yellow bird’s-foot trefoil as well as insects such as the common blue and peacock butterflies. At one time the entire area was wooded with hazel, elm and ash. With the clearances for farming since the Stone Age, only a few patches of hazel scrub now remain.
Here you will find a short 600 metre circular trail where you can see fine examples of limestone pavement and glacial erratics, archaeological features, and historical farming features. There is also a small exhibition of local history on site in a restored cottage.
Marlbank Viewpoint offers exceptional views on a clear day. From here you will be able to see Upper and Lower Lough MacNean, the village of Belcoo, Belmore Mountain and Cushrush Island, as well as other fine features over this magnificent landscape.
The natural history of this part of County Fermanagh can be traced back as far as 340 million years ago when this area was covered by a shallow tropical sea. The tropical sea left behind layers of lime-rich mud and the remains of dead sea creatures, which over millions of years became fossil-rich limestone. Fossils of these creatures can now be found throughout County Fermanagh.
The valley that now lies beneath the Marlbank Viewpoint was carved out during the last Ice Age, around 18,000 years ago when huge ice sheets scoured out and deepened the valley floor allowing Lough MacNean to form.
Altachullion Viewpoint provides a great opportunity to see contrasting and diverse views, as well as a rare chance to see the more rugged northern landscapes of the Geopark dominated by Cuilcagh Mountain, alongside the gently rolling drumlin lowlands that dominate the southern part of the region. The area immediately surrounding the viewpoint is home to one of the largest expanses of intact blanket bog in Ireland, protected as a Special Area of Conservation and including many interesting plant species such as deer grass and bog asphodel. The area is also home to rare bird species such as Golden Plover, Peregrine and Merlin.
At Tullydermot Falls you will be provided with a wonderful close up view of the amazing waterfalls, located under the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain. These are a must for any visitor to the Geopark. They occur in the upper reaches of the Cladagh River, a tributary of the River Erne, flowing eastwards from its source on Cuilcagh Mountain towards the village of Swanlinbar.
These magical falls are caused by the action of the water on the underlying bedrock which consists of alternating layers of hard sandstones and softer shales. The fast-flowing river erodes the soft rock leading to the undercutting and collapse of the overlying hard rock and it is gradually cutting its way upstream.
The village of Swanlinbar has an interesting history linked to the region’s geology. The official Irish name of Swanlinbar is An Muileann Iarainn meaning ‘Iron Mill’ and reflects presence of ironworks in the town in the early 18th Century. Some years later Swanlinbar was famous for its natural mineral spas, which attracted many people from all over Britain and Europe to the village, to drink from the spa (or mineral) wells. There was even a Spa Hotel to accommodate all of these visitors, however sadly, both of these industries have long since disappeared.
Today, Swanlinbar is a peaceful village located in an area of unspoilt natural beauty, with a great, friendly community spirit. Within the village centre you will find Trivia House, which is home to the Cuilcagh Café. Fresh produce that has been grown in a tunnel in the community garden is served in the café. The café is opened seasonally, on weekends and is a wonderful place to relax and grab a cup of tea or a bite to eat before moving on to your next activity.
Florence Court, Fermanagh
Corridors of lofty trees, dynamic rivers, rambling stone field walls, a rich tre...
Visitors are guided through a fascinating natural underworld of rivers, waterfal...
The trail meanders along a farmland track, through one of the largest expanses o...
The reserve's limestone grassland is managed through conservation grazing and is...
From here you will be able to see Upper and Lower Lough MacNean, the village of ...
Altachullion Lower, Cavan
A great opportunity to see contrasting and diverse views, as well as a rare chan...
Take your time to explore the fascinating, picturesque and unique landscapes tha...
The Fermanagh Uplands route takes in some of the most breathtaking viewpoints in...