Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has called on Cavan County Council to pursue the provision of proper access for walkers to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain noting that Cuilcagh is a key location within the wider UNESCO Marble Arch Global Geopark it is a unique visitor attraction in its own right as the highest point in County Cavan.
‘There are significant numbers now seeking to climb Cuilcagh whether as individuals or in organised groups such as those organised by local festivals in Swanlinbar or Glangevlin or the Cavan Lions Club. I want Cavan County Council in conjunction with local landowners and other agencies to provide carparking at an appropriate location and a marked walkway to the summit.’
Highlighting the importance of the location of Cuilcagh Mountain, the highest point in the County, Councillor Feeley referred to the impressive views from the summit across adjoining counties, the national monuments, the importance of the mountain in the mapping of Ireland by the Ordinance Survey who used it as a point of sight from Slieve Donard to Croagh Patrick, Slieve Snacht and Keepers Hill. In addition the Cavan County Councillor noted that there is a huge increase in the number of walkers anxious to climb locations such as Cuilcagh.
‘In recent years there has been a hugh increase in the numbers engaged in hillwalking. More and more people want to pursue activity based holidays and areas such as County Cavan and particularly County Cavan are well placed to take advantage of this market and initiatives like the Cavan Walking Festival, the development of walks all over the County and in particular the huge investment ongoing in and around the Cavan Burren’
There is an substantial investment underway under the Border Uplands Programme and the Harnessing Natural Resources Programme to create a neckless of attractions or to enhance visitor experiences in the catchment of the Marble Arche Geopark including the investment in the Cavan Burren, the development of an Interpretative Centre in the Market House, Blacklion, the restoration of Dowra Garda Station, improvements at the Marble Arch Caves Visitors Centre and ongoing investment in walks and other attractions such as the River Walk in Blacklion.
‘There are a number of locations around Cuilcagh Mountains which would be suitable to develop as an access point whether from Gowlan, Glangevlin, Corlough or Swanlinbar or indeed in County Fermanagh. I would think as a start the obvious place would be in Glan Gap and I have asked Cavan County Council to take the lead in this project and prepare plans that can be actioned once funds become available.’
Part of the site is designated as a Special Area of Conservaton but Councillor Feeley noted that rather the best way to protect a site visited by significant numbers of people is to to ensure that they are guided through the site in a controlled and safe manner.
When the matter was discussed at a recent meeting of Cavan County Council the proposal received unanimous and cross party support. Responding to the proposal, Eoin Doyle, Director of Services noted tat in the context of the other developments in the region this would be an obvious and welcome proposal and would be followed by the Council in respect of the funding which might be available. He confirmed that Cavan County Council had commenced a study of the location and are anxious to see the development take place.