Don’t let the charming boardwalk or Instagramable “stairway to heaven” fool you. This formidable hike takes you through some of Northern Ireland’s toughest and most desolate terrain. However, the breathtaking landscape and views from the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain surely make it worth the trek.
The Legnabrocky Trail, which is essentially an enormous boardwalk, follows a zigzagging path through the expansive boglands. The linear trail traverses steep terrain and boulder fields before reaching a wooden staircase.
Climbing the staircase, as exhausting as it may be, offers sublime views of the surrounding earth. Stop to catch your breath, and you can’t help but notice the rocks jutting out from the mountainsides or the small lakes pooling atop the earth.
The staircase continues scaling the side of the mountain, eventually reaching its peak. Cuilcagh Mountain straddles the border between Fermanagh and Cavan. With a height of 2,185 feet, it’s the highest point in both counties. The mountain joined in 2001 with the Marble Arch Caves and Cladagh Glen to become one of the first UNESCO recognised European geoparks. On a clear day, the summit offers sweeping views across the bogland to Leitrim and Donegal.
Originally opened in 2015 to protect rare boglands from hill walkers, the staircase and surrounding boardwalks have become a victim of their own success. The Legnabrocky trail was practically unheard of until social media put it on the map. Concerns have now arisen over the sustainability of the trail and the environmental impacts the increasing number of hikers. If you visit, please be sure to tread carefully, stick to the boardwalk, and respect the natural environment.