Pollnagollum Cave Walk
The Pollnagollum/ Coolarkan Cave Walk through Belmore Forest is at the heart of Fermanagh’s Boho cave country. The walking route is mostly along forest tracks and offers stunning landscapes and views of Belmore Mountain.
Click here for the Pollnagollum Cave Walk Map.
Distance: 7km Time: 2 hours
Grade: Moderate Terrain: all types, but mostly forest track and surfaced footpaths.
Route: Anti-clockwise circular.
Wheelchair friendly: No.
Facilities: Parking, on site interpretation, way marked walking route.
Map: Discoverer Series OSNI Sheet 17 Lower Lough Erne
Grid Reference: IH 120 433
The first part of the walk passes Coolarkan Quarry. One of many quarries in West Fermanagh, Coolarkan Quarry was worked for its limestone rock -principally for road construction. The limestone formed over 330 million years ago, when Ireland was covered by a shallow, tropical sea.
Shortly after the quarry, a path branches off the track and directs you down some stone slab steps, to an observation platform that provides a safe access point for viewing Pollnagollum Cave – meaning ‘hole of the doves’. The Cave was explored in 1895 by the Dublin born naturalist Henry Lyster Jameson and the French cave explorer Edouard Alfred Martel, who also explored the Marble Arch Cave system. After prolonged rainfall, a powerful waterfall cascades from the top of a 12 metre limestone cliff before disappearing into the mouth of Pollnagollum. The stream flows underground for approximately 1.8km before resurfacing along the North bank of the Aghanaglack River.
An interesting and captivating site, Belmore Forest attracts geologists and cavers from far afield. Please note unauthorised entry into the cave is not permitted. The walk resumes along the forest track. Meandering uphill it offers spectacular views over the surrounding area including Cuilcagh Mountain, Lower Lough MacNean to the South and Brougher Mountain to the East. Continuing through Belmore Forest, you may be lucky enough to spot some Irish hares. Larger than rabbits, adult hares have black tips on their ears and their long back legs give them a distinctive walk or ‘lope’. This rare mammal is native to Ireland and is arguably our oldest surviving mammal, having been present in Ireland before the last Ice Age.