Having risen to prominence in recent years thanks to social media shots of the breathtaking views, the Stairway to Heaven Ireland is not to be missed. Here is everything you need to know about this iconic site!
Otherwise known as the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, the Stairway to Heaven is located in the beautiful bogland of County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. This beautiful trail meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland.
The boardwalk was initially built to preserve the area’s upland blanket bogs thanks to funding from the European Union. This boardwalk allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of the landscape without disturbing the bog or the flora and fauna who call this place home.
The combination of boardwalks, tracks, and stairs lead to the most spectacular viewing platform, which provides breathtaking views across the surrounding area. While it is not the easiest of climbs, and it can be quite steep, we promise it is worth it!
When to visit – make sure to check the forecast
The Stairway to Heaven in Ireland is open all year round. However, due to the unpredictability of Irish weather, we suggest you always look at a weather forecast before heading out on your hike.
Ideally you would like to have a day with good visibility so you can make the most of the breathtaking views.
Due to the surge in staycations happening right across Ireland, the Stairway to Heaven is experiencing extremely high numbers of visitors. As such, the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are asking people to reconsider a trip to the Stairway to Heaven or plan a visit later on in the year.
What to see – scenic 360-degree views from the summit
Enjoy the ever-changing landscape of Cuilcagh Mountain as it changes from grassy slopes with sheep grazing to rough scree and boulders.
Be sure to take a moment to enjoy the scenic 360-degree views from the summit. On a good day, you can see as far as the Sligo mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, upper Lough Erne, and the counties of Cavan, Leitrim, and Donegal.
At the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain towards the end of the boardwalk is an ancient cairn (the remains of a burial mound dating from the Bronze Age). This cairn is amongst the many monuments and prehistoric archaeological sites that are dotted across the area.
The number of prehistoric monuments that exist here highlight the central role this mountain played in times gone by.
The vast and different area the boardwalk encompasses allows for different natural habitats that are brimming with flora and fauna.
For outdoor enthusiasts, it is plain to see why the Stairway to Heaven is thought to be one of the top places to visit in Ireland. From colourful wildflowers and herbs to a diverse range of animals and insect life, it truly is a nature-lovers dream. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare golden plover, a beautiful speckled gold and black bird.
Things to know – trail length and rules
The Stairway to Heaven trail is a 14.8 km (9.2 mi) round trip, starting with a 5.8 km (3.6 mi) gravel track before the 1.6 km (1 mi) boardwalk. It takes about four hours for the average person to complete the round trip from the car park to the summit and back.
This trail is perfect for those with some hiking experience, as the overall hike is pretty steep. The stairs to the summit are the most difficult; however, the views from the top are worth breaking a sweat for!
Dogs are not allowed on the Stairway to Heaven as part of the route goes through a working farm. The farm is home to a flock of sheep, which can be easily startled by even the most well-behaved of dogs.
Visitors to the Stairway to Heaven of Ireland are asked to remain on the designated path and boardwalk to help restore and protect the damaged peatland. Please ensure that you bring your rubbish home with you!
If you have time, be sure to visit the nearby Marble Arch Caves, one of the finest show caves in Europe. This UNESCO Global Geopark allows for the discovery of the natural underworld with rivers, waterfalls, and winding passages.
Where to park – location and cost
There is a car park at Legnabrocky, which is about 1 km (0.6 mi) past the road leading to the Marble Arch Caves. Finding parking can be difficult, especially when the weather is good, on weekends, and during the height of the holiday season.
Be sure to arrive early to ensure you get a parking space. Parking costs €6 or £5 per car, and it will need to be paid in cash.
Address: 43 Marlbank Road Legnabrocky Florencecourt County Fermanagh Northern, Enniskillen BT92 1ER, United Kingdom
What to bring – come prepared
As the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain is 665 m (2182 ft) about sea level, it is best to bring a warm jacket with you as it can get particularly cold up there. Be sure to come prepared for rain as the change in altitude can cause a quick turn in the weather.
Be sure to wear shoes that have grips or hiking boots as the trail can be slippery and muddy in parts. Remember to bring water and snacks as there are no café or shop facilities on site.