Geology & Archaeology

So what makes Cavan Burren Park so special? Well aside from the beauty of the surrounding landscape there are also some pretty impressive geological and archaeological features here.

Cavan Burren Park is located on a limestone plateau at a height of approx 295 metres under the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain. It is widely recognised as one of the finest prehistoric relict landscapes in Ireland – in a sense this place has stood still in time, surrounded by planted forestry since the 1950s and now accessible to for the public to enjoy and preserve.  

Geologically the site is located on limestone bedrock, formed in a shallow tropical sea around 340million years ago during a time known as the Carboniferous period. So try, if you can to imagine that this special place was once a very tropical and warm location!

Natural geological features such as a relict river bed, associated dolines and sinkholes across the Lost Valley, where a river sank and disappeared underground, further demonstrate how this amazing pre-glacial landscape would have looked. These features can be seen along trail two and trail three close to the Giant’s Leap. 

Then, not that long ago…just about 13,000years during the last Ice Age, huge boulders of sandstone were deposited by glaciers on the limestone bedrock of Cavan Burren. These boulders are known as ‘Glacial Erratics’ and you will see lots of them throughout the park. They sit on pedestals of limestone making them pretty distinctive. The landscape you see today has been greatly altered by the Ice Age

Another big influence on the landscape here at Cavan Burren Park was the arrival of the first settlers to the area. Around 4,500B.C at the very beginning of the Neolithic period it is understood that the first farmers arrived at Burren. They cleared forestry and crated settlements where they lived, worshiped and died. Remains of these settlements are evident from the magnificent archaeological monuments like the Giant’s Grave wedge tomb as well as the remains of old field walls. So geology and archaeology play a huge part in the fabric of Cavan Burren Park. Layer upon layer of prehistory is brought to life through these enigmatic monuments and features. 

Lots more information on the Geology and Archaeology of the site can be found in interpretation across the park and by contacting our Geopark office in Ballyconnell on +353 49 9526121 or macgeopark@cavancoco.ie. Tour guides for groups can be booked through the office.