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16 October 2014

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Cuilcagh Mountains Lower Lough Erne Boa Island to Lough Derg
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Script

Key Points

Welcome to Florence Court - one of Northern Ireland's finest 18th century houses.

Within its walls are some exquisite rococo plasterwork and a remarkable furniture collection. Outside is an equally remarkable landscape.

In 1955 the house was almost destroyed by fire, but the Duchess of Westminster persuaded the servants to form a human chain to save the paintings and furniture. She protected the ceilings by arranging for holes to be drilled to allow the escape of the water being pumped in by the fire crews.

Overlooking the house is Cuilcagh Mountain, which derives its name from the Irish word for chalk.

It's topped by a massive burial chamber dating from the Bronze Age, built more than 2000 years ago. Given the historical and geological importance of the area, it's perhaps not surprising that Fermanagh District Council has created Cuilcagh Mountain Park, to preserve the land here, which includes a blanket bog.

This is the only true mountain in Fermanagh, and it features some fine examples of karst scenery. Karst is the collective name given to limestone features created when the rock is eroded by rainwater.

Another distinctive feature of limestone is the ability of rivers to disappear underground. This is the case here, where the water vanishes down distinctive cracks in the rock known as grykes or karren. Although it pours down at an almost vertical angle, the water is forced to the surface again where it meets a type of rock that blocks its flow.

This area contains a graphic example of a dry river valley. Here, the water has disappeared underground, caves have collapsed to leave a wide gulf in the land, or - more likely - glaciers have gouged a U-shaped breach in the surface. The only thing that's certain is that the rock at the centre of this picture was the softest and therefore the first to disappear.

Florence Court, featuring some exquisite rococo plasterwork and a remarkable furniture collection, is one of Northern Ireland's finest 18th century houses.

Cuilcagh Mountain is topped by a massive burial chamber dating from the Bronze Age, built more than 2,000 years ago.

Cuilcagh features some fine examples of karst scenery, which is created when limestone is eroded by rainwater.



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