Marble Arch Caves celebrates 35th Anniversary
29th May 2020
Today, Friday 29th May 2020 is an auspicious day for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Marble Arch Caves, with this world-renowned tourist attraction celebrating the 35th anniversary of the opening to the public.
To mark the occasion the Chair of Fermanagh Omagh District Council, Cllr Siobhan Currie, joined Marble Arch Caves Manager, Kate McGrath, to cut a birthday cake at the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre; a marble sponge with drip icing and chards of chocolate to represent the stalagmites and stalactites, geological formations for which the caves are famous.
Speaking about the milestone, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Siobhan Currie said:
“From a personal perspective, I am very fortunate to live within easy reach of such a stunning natural phenomenon and it is a place I absolutely love visiting.
Over the past 35 years, Marble Arch Caves has made a significant contribution, not only to the preservation and promotion of the stunning geological formations at the caves, but also to the rich biodiversity of the surrounding geopark. It also has been a significant driver in the economy of our district and is a major employer in the area.
While the celebrations are more muted than they would have been under normal circumstances, I hope that we will be able to celebrate in the not too distant future, by welcoming visitors back to this wonderful facility to be entranced by the enthusiastic staff and the outstanding natural beauty of its location.”
Since the opened in 1985, almost 2 million visitors from more than 100 countries across the world have visited the Marble Arch Caves to explore the stunning million-year-old cave network and admire its grandeur and splendour. At just over 7 miles long, the Marble Arch Caves is the longest cave network in Northern Ireland and the facility’s 3 boats have carried visitors for an aggregate of almost 35,000 miles across the Cave’s underground river.
The Marble Arch Caves descend to a depth of 94 metres below ground at its deepest point and were so named by local people who believed the caves to be made of marble, when in fact it is limestone.
Today, the Marble Arch Caves is the flagship site within the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, a UNESCO designation given only to areas of special geological importance. The facility is a 4-star Tourism NI visitor attraction. As well as welcoming seventy thousand visitors a year to tour the caves, the venue has also hosted a diverse range of events from its incredibly popular Halloween Spooktacular to orchestral performances and recitals.
Over the years, the Marble Arch Caves has continued to develop as an attraction launching a new website, marblearchcaves.co.uk in 2019 which facilitates online booking. Despite the caves being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, staff have been using social media channels to bring the Marble Arch Caves experience to the public interactively, including throwback videos and photographs through the years, interactive videos including how to grow your own cave formation and cave-related games and puzzles.
For further information on the Caves experience and history please visit the website at marblearchcaves.co.uk.