Cuilcagh – Cuilcagh Anierin Mountain

The Cuilcagh Mountain and Cuilcagh-Anierin Uplands Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), hereafter referred to as “Cuilcagh”, are part of an extensive cross-border upland area which runs from south-west Fermanagh, through Cavan and down to Slieve Anierin in Leitrim.

The site is a diverse mosaic of habitats, and the blanket bog found here represents one of the most significant expanses of blanket bog on the island of Ireland, much of which is relatively undisturbed. Other key habitats include good representations of wet and dry heath, montane heath, and limestone grasslands, with a number of dystrophic and oligotrophic lakes scattered throughout these habitats. This mosaic of habitats supports a wide range of plant and animal species, including cross-leaved heath, deergrass and hare’s tail cottongrass. Cuilcagh is an important site for breeding birds and waders, such as Golden plover, Merlin and Snipe. Areas of dense Heather provide good habitat for Red grouse. Other typical upland bird species can be found at Cuilcagh, including Peregrine and Ring ouzel.

The area is of significant geological interest with sandstone, limestone, shale and mudstone sequencing, and has a number of designations in addition to its SAC status, emphasizing how important the area is for its natural environment and geological features.

Cuilcagh – Cuilcagh Anierin Mountain

CANN Works

Over the lifespan of the project, the CANN team will be working on producing a Conservation Action Plan for both the Cuilcagh Mountain SAC and Cuilcagh-Anierin Uplands SAC, and generating an up-to-date habitat map for the site. These documents will both be used to inform conservation decisions and management strategies, with an overall aim to guide the site towards a favourable conservation status. On the ground conservation actions will be carried out to help improve the environment and the conservation status of Cuilcagh, including drain blocking, bog revegetation, Heather restoration, wildfire management planning, tourism management planning, and livestock grazing trials.


Cross-leaved heath is an evergreen shrub which is part of the Heather family. It grows in acid bog or wet heath conditions, and is very distinctive due to its narrow leaves in whorls of 4 around it’s stem, and it’s bell shaped pink-magenta flowers which can be seen between June and September. The Cross-leaved heath is a very good species for nectar loving insects including moths and bees. It is represented in the CANN project logo, alongside a Red Grouse, and a Large-heath butterfly.
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