At Tullydermot Falls in County Cavan this morning against the backdrop of Cuilcagh Mountain, where An Tánaiste Micheál Martin TD announced an agreement by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to purchase almost 1000 hectares of upland habitat in County Cavan in Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark, the world’s first cross-border Geopark, are (from left): Deputy Brendan Smith; Cllr Áine Smith; Alison McCullagh, chief executive, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Tánaiste Micheál Martin; Cllr John Paul Feeley, Cathaoirleach, Cavan County Council; Brendan Jennings, acting chief executive, Cavan County Council; Gráinne O’Connor, manager, Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark. PHOTO: Adrian Donohoe

Wildlife service to buy 1,000 hectares of West Cavan

NATURE Tánaiste announces National Parks and Wildlife Service deal at Cuilcagh

National Parks and Wildlife Service has agreed to purchase almost 1000 hectares of upland habitat in West Cavan as part of the world’s first cross-border Geopark.

The site near Cuilcagh Mountain will be managed to help the State meet its nature and biodiversity action plans, and aims to significantly benefit the work of the Geopark.

Announcing the acquisition plans on a visit to the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark today, Tánaiste, Micheál Martin said: “Given the unique conservation value and remarkable concentration of upland habitats and species at this site, I am very pleased to announce that the National Parks and Wildlife Service has reached an agreement to purchase almost a 1,000 hectares of land, which will allow them, and Cavan County Council, to support the aims of the Geopark, and protect the nature and biodiversity that is such a remarkable characteristic of this area.

“Through the Government’s Shared Island Local Authority scheme, we are supporting development of a Cuilcagh Lakelands GeoPark plan for biodiversity conservation, climate action and regenerative tourism."

The 1,000ha will be additional land on the Cavan side.

The plan is expected to be completed later this year, which the Tanáiste predicted would deepen cross-border partnership on the Geopark.

“Ownership of these lands on behalf of the Irish people will enhance important cross-border initiatives by local authorities and communities, and provide an unrivalled opportunity for the conservation of an exceptional range of protected upland habitat and species, thereby making a significant contribution toward the State's obligations in nature protection and biodiversity.”

The Tánaiste's party colleague Deputy Brendan Smith welcomed the announcement as a “very positive development” for the Border region.

“The purchase of this additional block will add considerably to the Geopark, which is such an important part of Ireland’s tourism product,” he said, acknowledging the support of the Tánaiste for the project. “I compliment the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Cavan County Council and Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark on their work in bringing this project to this stage,” he added.

Deputy Smith said that the Geopark will benefit from funding under the Shared Island Initiative, which was established by Micheál Martin in 2020.

Cuilcagh mountain and its surroundings are ecologically important and unique because of the extent and variety of upland habitats that occur and the species that these habitats support. A region of extraordinary natural beauty, the Geopark has huge potential as a venue for education, recreation, outreach and appreciation of the value of nature and biodiversity.

Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council and Blacklion Councillor John Paul Feeley was also present for the announcement, which he warmly welcomed in terms of adding to the already impressive tourism product in the region.

“As a native of West Cavan, I am well acquainted with its beguiling landscapes and the abundant flora and fauna to be found around the slopes of Cuilcagh. I am also keenly aware of the need to safeguard this crucial piece of Ireland’s natural history, and so I am pleased that An Tánaiste has announced that the National Parks and Wildlife Service will now act as custodian of this 1000 hectare habitat. This purchase will further build on the excellent work achieved by Cavan County Council and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council through our shared UNESCO Geopark, and will preserve our landscape for future generations to enjoy,” he said.


Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall Ó Donnchú, predicted the move would "deliver significant benefits for nature and communities" in the area.

"The wonderful teams at the Geopark and the two local authorities in Cavan and Fermanagh, combined with the expertise and experience of the NPWS North Midlands Division, will be a powerful combination ensuring this landscape of such outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity is managed and shared for the benefit of the public and local communities for generations to come.”