Cuilcagh (Irish: Binn Chuilceach ) is the highest mountain in the Breifne area and the 165th highest on the island of Ireland . The summit lies on the border between County Fermanagh (in Northern Ireland) and County Cavan (in the Republic of Ireland), and is the highest point in both counties. Water from the southern slope flows underground until it emerges some miles away in the Shannon Pot, the traditional source of the River Shannon.
Flora and fauna
Cuilcagh Mountain has one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, on a relatively high elevation upland landscape, bounded by limestone grassland to the north and montane habitats to the south. The blanket bog
exhibits a wide range of characteristic vegetation and structural features, with well developed pool, hummock and lawn features, acid flushes and bog
bursts. The bog vegetation is characterised by luxuriant Sphagnum
mosses but over most of the site dwarf-shrubs and graminoid herbaceous species dominate.
The Cuilcagh Mountain Park
has recently been joined with the popular tourist attraction the Marble Arch Caves
and the Cladagh Glen
Nature Reserve to make the Marble Arch Caves and Cuilcagh Mountain European Geopark. The Geopark is protected and managed by Fermanagh District Council
through the staff of the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre. Both the Marble Arch Caves and the Cuilcagh Mountain Park have been awarded UNESCO
Global Geopark status since 2004 and has become one of 25 of these types of sites around the world funded by the EU.
The Cuilcagh Mountain Ramsar site (wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention
), is 2744.45 hectares in area, at Latitude 54 13 26 N and Longitude 07 48 17 W. It was designated a Ramsar site on 31 December 1998
. The site qualified under Criterion 1 of the Ramsar Convention
because is a large and relatively intact example of a blanket bog and one of the best examples of this habitat in the United Kingdom
. It also contains a comparatively high-altitude example of an oligotrophic
lake. The site also qualified under Criterion 2 because it supports numbers of rare, vulnerable or endangered species. It is one of the most important upland breeding sites in Northern Ireland for Eurasian Golden Plover
, an Irish Red Data Book Species. Other Irish Red Data book bird species occurring on the site include Merlin
. The bog is also occasionally used for feeding by Greater White-fronted Geese
- BBC Learning Northern Ireland: Landscapes Unlocked - Aerial footage from the Sky High series explaining the physical, social and economic geography of Northern Ireland.