Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, in partnership with Cavan County Council, has this week launched an exciting new brand for the former Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark, with a renewed emphasis on communities, engagement and tourism.
‘Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark’ as it is now known, spans the bordering counties of Cavan and Fermanagh and contains some of the finest landscapes on this island, ranging from rugged uplands, lakes and forests through to gently rolling drumlins.
The neighbouring councils who jointly manage the Geopark undertook the re-branding exercise in consultation with the community and wider stakeholders across the business and tourism sector.
In undertaking the consultation, the councils were keen to develop a brand for the former Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark which would help create a clear sense of the Geopark as a place for everyone. Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark invites us all to explore the history, geology, and special nature of the region, and to protect it for future generations. The Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre remains an integral Geosite within the Geopark and will continue to form part of Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark along with sites such as Cavan Burren Park, Shannon Pot, Lough Navar, and Cuilcagh Boardwalk.
Geopark Manager, Gráinne O’Connor commented: “As the Geopark designation in counties Cavan and Fermanagh continues to evolve we are delighted to introduce this rebrand which will build on the incredible work done by many to date in ensuring this landscape and the communities who live in it continue to be recognised by UNESCO. We are committed to continuing in our mission to preserve and celebrate the unique heritage, geology, archaeology and culture of this landscape, working in tandem with local communities and businesses”.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Chief Executive, Alison McCullagh said: "Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is proud of its stunning natural and built heritage and Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark is a major part of this heritage. 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Geopark and this renaming and rebranding represents a re-focus on the area, its people, history, and geography”.
“Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark enjoys a world-renowned reputation not only as the world’s first transnational geopark, but also for its spectacular and geologically significant landscapes, a fact recognised by UNESCO when the Geopark was awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status.
“Geoparks have a commitment to benefit the local economy, through the attraction of visitors to the area and the subsequent creation of jobs and businesses and I am confident that Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark will continue to support sustainable tourism in the long term," she added.
Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Tommy Ryan said: “I am pleased to join with my counterpart in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to launch the re-branded Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark”.
“Counties Cavan and Fermanagh are fortunate to share spectacular scenery, unique geology, rich heritage, and welcoming, vibrant communities and this new brand identity will showcase the very best of what our Geopark has to offer to visitors and to those who live and work here.
“Sharing a UNESCO-accredited Geopark has brought many benefits to County Cavan, and I look forward to working with our friends and neighbours in County Fermanagh to further grow our sustainable tourism product, to increase awareness of our natural environment, and to further foster engagement with this unique resource among all residents in the UNESCO Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark,” added Mr Ryan.
Chair of the Geopark Committee, Councillor John Paul Feeley said: “Having had the good fortune to grow up in the shadow of Cuilcagh, I have always known that there is something special about this landscape, and the people who reside here. The Geopark, which has been a tremendous example of cross-border collaboration, gave a name to that hitherto unspoken yet unmistakable magic that this area possesses, and this new brand will further articulate all that the region has to offer”.
“Under the new banner of the UNESCO Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark, I am confident that the staff, elected members, and management of both Cavan County Council and Fermanagh-Omagh District Council, together with Geopark communities across Cavan and Fermanagh, will drive further sustainable growth in this remarkable region,” concluded Cllr Feeley.
Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark is a destination for everyone to enjoy, from activity seekers to those wanting peace and relaxation; from local food lovers to folk who just want to explore the stunning landscape, meet the locals, or relax somewhere beautiful. It’s a place apart, to immerse yourself in all that is natural, enriching the soul and the senses, as well as making the heart race. It’s a place for communities to take ownership of, for businesses to feel proud of, and a place for learning and conservation.
The new brand encapsulates everything that is the essence of the Geopark: the harmony and beauty of the nature and landscape, from mountain views to rolling drumlins to underground caverns, the flora and fauna, the people and product, flowing rivers, rich lakes, and beauty – all protected for future generations to enjoy and explore.
This UNESCO Geopark brand, which has been created with a broad range of stakeholder involvement, is now owned by the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark community and reflects our love of this special place, formed millions of years ago, and continuing to evolve to this day.
Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark is yours to share, enjoy, protect, and appreciate.
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This project is part funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union and the Irish Government Under the Leader Programme 2014-2020.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group, Cavan County Local Development, Rural Development Programme, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, County Cavan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), Department of Rural and Community Development, the EU and EAFRD in part-funding this project.
IMAGE CAPTION: Pictured at the launch of the new Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark brand are (from left) Cllr John Paul Feeley, Chair, Geopark Committee; Brendan Jennings, Director of Services, Planning, Community and Economic Development, Cavan County Council; Tommy Ryan, Chief Executive, Cavan County Council; Cllr Anthony Feely, Geopark committee; Ian Davidson, Head of Wellbeing & Culture, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Cllr Bernice Swift, Geopark committee; Gráinne O'Connor, Geopark manager; Cllr Alex Baird, Vice Chair, Geopark committee; Alison McCullagh, Chief Executive, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and Cllr Adam Gannon, Geopark committee. Photo: Lorraine Teevan