Marble Arch Geopark Cavan
The Marble Arch Geopark is a borderless Park which is located within Cavan and Fermanagh. The Geopark was the first ever cross border Geopark and it is shared jointly between the Fermanagh county Council in Northern Ireland, and with the Cavan County Council in the Republic of Ireland.
There are currently thirty four sites which make up the Geopark, most of which are open to the public. Sites are selected upon the basis of their significance in terms of not only geology, but also history, folklore, archaeology, wildlife, and of course walking and cycling. The Geopark encompasses some of the finest scenery Ireland has to offer, in a region that has never really been exploited in terms of tourism. The Geopark Region is truly unique, truly unspoilt, and is truly one of Irelands hidden Gems.
A Geopark is an area recognised by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to have exceptional geological heritage.
The Marble Arch Geopark is comprised of most of the Upper Highlands of West Fermanagh, and areas of Co Cavan. The area has a massive history with fossils dating back to 650 million years ago. The Caves themselves which are located in Florencecourt, and which are the primary feature of the Geopark where discovered in the nineteenth century when they were explored in 1895 by French Speologist Edward Martel and naturalist Lyster Jameson.
The Caves where first opened to the public in 1985, and were awarded Geopark status in 2001. In the year 2004 The Marble Arch Caves Geopark was awarded international status and in 2008 it became the first cross border Geopark in the world as it extended into County Cavan.
The Marble Arch Caves are world renowned and are well worth the visit. Visitors begin with a tour by boat through gigantic caverns with unmatched geological beauty. Tours are seasonal due to the unpredictability of water levels and visitors should phone the Visitors Centre at the caves to not be disappointed.
Marble Arch Caves Cavan contact details
Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark
Northern Ireland BT92 1EW
Telephone from Northern Ireland / UK: 028 6634 8855
Telephone from Republic of Ireland: 048 6634 8855
Telephone from the rest of the World: +44 (0) 28 6634 8855
Fax NI / UK: 028 6634 8928 ROI: 048 6634 8928
Fax from the rest of World: +44 (0) 28 6634 8928
The Caves are just one of the thirty four sites within the geopark, and all others are easily accessible year round. Obviously some require more effort than others to access and walkers should definitely consider appropriate clothing and footwear when attempting many of the walks and trails. Many trails are moderate to easy, while others require a little more effort.
For a full list of downloadable walking trails visit the main website for the Marble Arch Geopark.
Historical Sites and Attractions
The park affords visitors with several unique and fantastic attractions with Historical sites such as Drumlane Abbey and Clough Oughter Castle near Belturbet. The Motte and Bailey in Belturbet town located on Turbet Island is an Anglo Norman settlement which represents the first known settlement of the town itself. A fully accessible walking trail exists on the island making this reachable to any and all visitors. A parking lot exists besides Kilconny bridge, across from the petrol station and there are several information plaques on the island detailing local histories.
The Geopark also offers a huge amount of walking trails of varying difficulty levels for recreational walkers as well as for hill walkers and more experienced walkers. The Burren Forest near Blacklion features a huge amount of archaeological treasures with several tombs dating back to thousands of years ago. The Burren Forest trails are part of The Ulster Way, and most monuments are accessible by a gravel path. Some features such as the Deserted Village however require access through the forest itself. Trails in the forest are maintained and fairly easy, but walkers should always have the appropriate footwear. More experienced climbers may wish to climb Cuilcaigh Mountain itself which is Cavan’s highest peak.
Belturbet Town, Co. Cavan
Belturbet Town is within close proximity to all official sites in the Geopark. The town is large enough to have all the modern conveniences required by tourists, such as ample accommodation, restaurants and shopping, but is small enough to still maintain the feel of traditional Ireland. Belturbet is the ideal location to base yourself while touring around the local Cavan and Fermanagh landscape and seeing a part of Ireland which is truly unexplored but truly priceless.
Belturbet is just an hour and a half from both Belfast and Dublin so is easily accessible, and is located in the heart of The Marble Arch Caves Geopark. Why not spend a few days exploring the most remote parts of Ireland, where the scenery is unmatched and the list of things to do is exhaustive. Belturbet in County Cavan is set within landscapes which are truly unique and truly underexplored.
For more information on the visit The Railway Station Information office in Belturbet or make an enquiry on contact us page.