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The Marble Arch Caves

The Marble Arch Cave complex at the village of Florencecourt in County Fermanagh and have a magical atmosphere, reminiscent of Stephen Speilberg's movie The Goonies. The underground Claddagh River runs through the cave's winding passages, encountering lofty chambers with huge stalagmites and stalactites, and a glorious waterfall. Visitors can take the "wet entrance" to the cave via a guided boat tour, which lasts for 10 minutes, before disembarking at the Grand Gallery, where they can explore the caves on foot. The entire tour takes around 75 minutes. An artificial tunnel connects this Gallery to the rest of the cave complex, which leads out onto the Owenbrean river, where the visitor exits. Note: While any reasonably able-bodied person should be able to complete the tour, those with restricted mobility should be aware that there are some steps within the main cave and a further 150 steps required to exit the cave. The caves are not wheelchair accessible.

Good local tourism video showing the insides of the caves

History and Geology

The cave complex was explored in 1895 by French pioneer Édouard-Alfred Martel, assisted by Dublin naturalist Lyster Jameson. The caves themselves were formed millions of years ago, when water in this karst limestone region permeated the rock over time to create its various fissures, streams and caves.

Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

The caves are set in much wider nature reserve, called the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, which spans both sides of the Irish border, and encompasses the following areas of interest:

  • Cuilcagh Mountain
  • Lough Navar Forest
  • Cavan Burren Park
  • Shannon Pot
  • Ballintempo Forest

Protecting the Caves

The Cuilcagh Mountain above the caves was originally covered with peat bogs, which acted as a natural water reservoir, preventing additional rapid erosion of the caves. Throughout the 20th century, commercial peat cutting and other factors have destroyed huge tracts of the mountside peat. To counteract this environmental damage, and to keep excessive water out of the caves, the local council have banned peat cutting, and have created over a thousand minor dams, to raise water levels in the bog.

Opening Times

April – June (Monday - Sunday) 10am – 4.30pm

July – August (Monday - Sunday) 10am – 5pm

September (Monday - Sunday) 10am – 4.30pm

October  Monday - Friday 11am – 4pm Saturday - Sunday 10am – 4.30pm

November – February CLOSED

Fees

  • Adult £8.75
  • Child £5.75
  • Under 5′s FREE
  • Family Ticket £20.00
  • Senior (60+) £5.95
  • Student £5.95

Visitor Tips

Visitors are advised to pre-book their trips, especially during peak (summer) months. See the official site for more details. Both sterling (UK money) and euros are accepted. However, there is no ATM facility on site.

Image

Boat trip through the Marble Arch caves. Image by Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism.

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