Belmore Forest: Home to Pollnagollum Cave in County Fermanagh, which is part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. You also might have recognised the Cave as it’s been used to film scenes from the Popular Show Games of Thrones. Visitors to the area can also follow the Belmore Forest walk which leads to a viewing point for the cave.
In an incredibly vast landscape like the one Northern Ireland has, one would confidently assume that there are many wonders hidden in between the green areas of these landscapes. Pollnagollum Cave in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, is an astounding piece of nature that will take your breath away and make you admire it instantly.
Pollnagolllum Cave is located in the Boho/Belmore Mountain area, right in the heart of Fermanagh’s cave country. If you walk there, you would see a lavish roundabout maze of caves which attract cavers, hikers, and anyone who is genuinely interested in the nature of Northern Ireland, all from far and wide to west Fermanagh. The first part of the walk passes through the Coolarkan Quarry which was worked for its limestone rock and which is one of many quarries in West Fermanagh.
Pollnagolllum is an active stream passage cave situated in County Clare, Ireland. At over 16 kilometres in length, Pollnagollum is the longest cave on the island of Ireland and the third deepest cave in the County. The system primarily consists of winding stream passages which interconnect in various ways, offering a great variety of through trips. The cave is usually entered via the Pollnagollum entrance, with the main stream way encountered a short distance inside.
The main stream way continues for most of the length of the cave with several smaller inlets entering along its length. Near the southern end of the cave the 30-metre Poulelva Pot is encountered; the two entrances are often used for through-trips. Much of the water in the cave is fed from the sinks of Upper Pollnagollum, at the point where surface water runs off the shale bedrock and sinks into the permeable limestone. The terminus of the cave is a low bedding plane which eventually becomes too low to progress. The water resurges at the Killaney rising to the south of the cave.
The first known exploration of the cave was by T. J. Westropp in 1880, venturing as far as the Main Junction, but it was not until the 20th century that serious exploration began. E. A. Baker undertook the first systematic exploration of the cave in 1912 and returned in 1925. During the 1925 trip, Baker carried out a partial survey. In 1935 the Yorkshire Ramblers’ Club recorded the first descent of Poulelva. In 1944 the Royal Irish Academy published a major survey and article by J. C. Coleman and N. J. Dunnington.
Belmore Mountain, with a summit roughly 398 metres, is the second highest point in Fermanagh and provides breathtaking views of Boho, Lower Lough Erne, Lough Navar and to the east, Brougher Mountain with its distinctive television masts on top. One of the most intriguing and attractive mammals found in the Belmore Mountains is the Irish hare. Larger than rabbits, adult hares have black tips on their ears and their long back legs giving them a distinctive walk or ‘lope’. Depending on the time of day and year keep a watchful eye out for bats and birds around the cave entrance.
The geology of Belmore Forest is dominated by limestone, which is found as horizontal layers (beds) that formed at the bottom of a shallow tropical sea over 340 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period.
Pollnagollum Cave was featured in season three of the hit TV show Game of Thrones. In the fourth episode, the cave is used as the Hollow Hill, the hideout behind a waterfall, where Arya Stark and Gendry meet Beric Dondarrion and the ‘Brotherhood Without Banners’.