Marble Arch Caves

Marble Arch Caves


Location: County Fermanagh Map

Tel. 028 6634 8855

Open: end- Mar- June & Sept 10am- 4:30pm daily

July- Aug 10am- 5pm daily

Official site


Description of Marble Arch Caves

The Marble Arch Caves are located in the limestone area of County Fermanagh near Florencecourt in Northern Ireland. The southwestern area is known for the Erne Lakes and for the sandstone plateau of Cuilcagh Mountain, which raises above the landscape to about 670 m above sea level. The weather is influenced by the Atlantic ocean only 56 km away. In the moorland of Cuilcagh Mountain, the rain penetrates into the peat and reaches the rivers only after a very long time. During the summer, the rivers are poor in water, but after heavy precipitation, a large amount of water flows down the slopes where the peat covers the underlying sandstone. From there they walk into the underground passageways of the Marble Arch Caves, which have been explored since 1895 and declared European Geopark in 2004. Part of the Marble Arch Caves are navigated by boats.



It is crossed by the river Cladagh on the inside and the name Marble Arch (Basque for "Marble arch") is given by a large limestone arch. They are also the longest caves in Ireland and are reputed to be the most beautiful in the British Isles.

The three streams join inside the caves to form the Cladagh River and the water comes from Ireland's largest karst spring. The river inside the caves is navigable and touristic tours are done in boats.



The caves have been known since ancient times and were already a tourist attraction in the 19th century. The first serious explorations, however, were carried out at the beginning of the 20th century, led by the Yorkshire Ramblers' Club in England. They studied the hydrological structure, including the flow of fluorescein and studied and mapped the directions of rivers in 1907-08. There were also new explorations in the 30s and 60s.

In 1982, they adapted it for tourism, installing walkways and lighting. An interpretation center was also built next to the vaults. Between 1985 and 2008, one million tourists are believed to have visited.



The exploitation of the peat above the cave almost completely damaged the caves, because without the peat the water seeped and the caves filled with water often causing floods, for example in 1989. As a result, the exploitation of peat has been prohibited and measures have been taken to grow new ones.


Tourist visits

The cave is open from March to September. The walk lasts 75 minutes and through the passages you can see the Marble Arch arch, stalactites and stalagmites and calcite waterfalls. Sometimes he even goes on a boat along the river.