You might be wondering what on earth an Irish bear is and I don’t blame you – they’ve been extinct for a long time – and what have they got to do with Thursday Doors? The furry animal in the photograph is a replica of a bear cub and the skeleton is that of a mother bear surrounded by some smaller bones, possibly that of her cubs. These were found in the Marble Arch Caves, which are part of a Global Geopark. What makes Geoparks different from designations such as World Heritage Sites is that Geoparks have a commitment to benefit the local economy, through the attraction of visitors to the area and the subsequent creation of jobs and businesses.
These doors lead to the Marble Arch Caves visitor center and from there we can take a tour of one of Europe’s finest showcaves.
Let’s have a closer look at those two men suspended over the cafeteria. One of them is definitely dressed for some cave exploring but the other one looks a bit out of place.
The first one is wearing modern day apparel and equipment but the second one is Frenchman, Edouard Alfred Martel, who was considered in his day to be the world’s leading expert on caves. Modern technology has certainly made it a bit safer and a lot more comfortable to be a cave explorer.
By now, you must be eagerly anticipating that tour of the caves. We started off in a boat on one of the underground rivers that flow through the caves but I was afraid to take a photo in case I dropped my phone into the water. As soon as I reached solid ground again, I whipped my phone from my bag. Unfortunately, my camera could not do justice to the beauty and awesomeness of my surroundings.
But to make up for that, I’ve posted this video from Fermanagh Lakelands.
You can find out more about the history of these amazing caves at Marble Arch Caves and Geopark.
I feel so privileged to have such an area of natural beauty right on my doorstep. If you get a chance to visit, don’t pass it up – it’s well worth the trip. For a variety of Thursday Door posts from around the globe, head on over to Norm’s Blog and see what’s on offer.