The Marble Arch Caves are a series of natural limestone caves located near the village of Florencecourt in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
The caves are named after a natural limestone arch which crosses the Cladagh river not far from the caves.
|Diorama showing the cave system|
Here you see a representation of the caves. The caves form the longest known cave system in Northern Ireland.
|I love the tiny tour boat in the diorama!|
As the park now takes in parts of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it is the first international Geopark in the world.
|Early explorers used ropes to lower themselves into the cave network|
See the tiny explorers depicted on the left! Aren't they cute?
In this primitive (by our standards) fashion, they explored about a thousand feet of passages, including a junction where three rivers meet underground!
They drew a map of their discoveries and line drawings depicting their expedition.
I love this view of the cave mouth with the tiny little sheep wandering down the steep hillside. I would think the sheep could get into lots of trouble if they wandered into the cave!
After initially exploring the underground system, Martel and Jameson thought the Marble Arch Cave could make a worthy show cave, but it was not until 1982 that work eventually began on creating a tourist attraction out of it.
When efforts began to make the tourist attraction, development included building concrete and metal walkways with handrails throughout the cave and the installation of electric lighting.
Electric lighting seems like a good thing when you are deep underground. Forget about candles and magnesium flares.
After being oriented about the cave system and it's history, tourists are guided into the cave itself.
|This walkway looks beautiful to me!|
The Marble Arch Caves "show cave" was first opened to the public on May 29, 1985.
|Looking down at the cave mouth from the trail|
|Wrong country, of course, but couldn't you just imagine Merlin, the magician living in such a cave?|
|It doesn't look like a very big opening in this photo|
|Here we see how large it actually is.|
|Here you get a glimpse of the tour boat and a waiting guide|
|A tour boat filled with tourists heading into the darkness|
|A spectacular staircase through the majestic subterranean chamber|
|A dark stalactite hangs like a bloody hand from the ceiling|
|Tourists make a colorful addition to this underground chamber|
|Baby stalactites, looking like lace fringe|
|A great stone table|
There is a short section of the walled pathway dug into the floor of the cave, to facilitate the tourist route through the underground caverns. It is called the "Moses Walk", because it has a low ceiling and the river continues to run at shoulder level on either side of the path.
|Our Irish Tourguide Lisa posing with the Cave Marker|
This concludes our tour of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
Thanks for joining our tour!