Stairway to Heaven Ireland: when to visit and things to know

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 wooden boardwalk was initially built to preserve the area’s upland blanket bogs, which is one of the largest blanket bogs in Northern Ireland, thanks to funding from the European Union.

This boardwalk allows visitors to enjoy amazing views of the beautiful 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. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views across the surrounding area.

While it is not the easiest of climbs, and it can be quite steep, we promise that the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail is worth it!

IB4UD’s top 6 interesting facts about Cuilcagh Mountain

  • Cuilcagh is a mountain located on the border between County Fermanagh and County Cavan.
  • Cuilcagh Mountain Park was established in 1998 to protect the area’s endangered blanket bog.
  • The Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark covers 2,333 km2 and is home to a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna.
  • The mountain is made up of limestone and shale, with distinctive karst features such as sinkholes and limestone pavements.
  • The Cuilcagh Way is a 33km walking route passing through the stunning mountain landscape.
  • Cuilcagh Mountain was designated as a Special Area of Conservation in recognition of its unique flora and fauna.

When to visit ­– make sure to check the forecast

The Stairway to Heaven in Ireland is a must-visit.

The Stairway to Heaven in County Fermanagh is open all year round. However, the Irish weather can be very unpredictable. So, 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. This way, you can make the most of the breathtaking views along the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.

Due to the surge in staycations 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.

READ ALSO: Top 5 best walks in Fermanagh you need to experience

What to see along the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail – scenic 360-degree views from the summit

Incredible 360-degree views from the top of the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.
Credit: Instagram / @mannymc777

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 beautiful views from the summit. On a good day, you can see as far as the Sligo mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. You can even see upper Lough Erne, and County Cavan, as well as Leitrim and Donegal.

At the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain 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 in the Cuilcagh Mountain Park 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

Everything you need to know about visiting the Stairway to Heaven Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

The Stairway to Heaven trail is a 14.8 km (9.2 mi) round trip. It starts with a 5.8 km (3.6 mi) gravel path before the 1.6 km (1 mi) boardwalk.

It takes about four hours for the average person to complete the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail from the car park to the summit and back.

This Cuilcagh Boardwalk trail is perfect for those with some hiking experience and one of the best things to do in Fermanagh. A moderate level of fitness is also recommended as the overall hike is a pretty steep climb. 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. Sheep 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!

There are currently no toilet facilities at the Cuilcagh Mountain Park. So, make sure to avail of amenities before you arrive.

If you have time, be sure to visit the nearby Marble Arch Caves. This is 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.

READ ALSO: IB4UD’s 10 best caves in Ireland, RANKED

Options for parking – location and cost

The boardwalk meandering through the bogland.
Credit: Instagram / @ryan.mcbride94

The official car park for the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail is situated about 1 km (0.6 mi) past the road leading to the Marble Arch Caves.

The walking route can be very busy when weather is good, on weekends, and during the height of the holiday season. Thus, visitors are encouraged to pre-book their car parking space.

To book a slot, hikers must visit and select the desired timeslot. Bookings will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and will be available for three-hour slots.

Customers will then receive a booking confirmation to gain entry to the premium car park close to the trail, offering an enhanced visitor experience. Car parking spaces cost £6 to book, including your secure parking space and entrance to the Boardwalk.

With the enforcement of the new booking system, premium car parking is limited to pre-booking only, unless there are timeslots remaining on the day.

Address: 43 Marlbank Road Legnabrocky Florencecourt County Fermanagh Northern, Enniskillen BT92 1ER, United Kingdom

READ MORE: Cuilcagh Boardwalk launches new online car park booking system

What to bring – come prepared

The Stairway to Heaven Ireland is made up of wooden boardwalks and a steep staircase.
Credit: Instagram / @lmags78

The summit of Cuilcagh Mountain is 665 m (2182 ft) about sea level. So, 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 sturdy 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.

Your questions answered about the Stairway to Heaven, Ireland

If you still have questions, we’re here to answer them! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequent and popular questions about the Stairway to Heaven.

How long does it take to walk Stairway to Heaven?

The average person will take about four hours to complete the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail from the car park to the summit and back.

How difficult is Stairway to Heaven Fermanagh?

The overall walk is not overly difficult. However, the trail is quite steep in parts, so a moderate level of fitness is recommended.

Are there toilets at the Stairway to Heaven?

There are currently no toilet facilities at the Stairway to Heaven trail.

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