Not all of Ireland’s natural attractions are above ground. Travel across the island, and you will discover interesting caves with a range of geological foundations. Below you will find information on just some of Ireland’s best caves.
Known in Old Irish literature as one of the darkest places in Ireland and as the place where the monster Luchtigern ‘The Lord of the Mice’ was slain, this cave was plundered by Godfry and the Vikings of Dublin in 928. In this raid, 1,000 people were killed, and the numerous human bones found in the cave are thought to be the remains of the victims.
The cave is divided into three main parts, of which Haddon Hall and chambers leading off it are difficult to access. The wide entrance shaft leads to the second part, which is the main chamber. Ahead lies a high chamber which is practically a cul-de-sac, while the portion to the left has a floor of unusual blocks and a stalagmite on the east wall. From here the cave rises to the third part, the chamber with the ‘Market Cross’ – a huge stalagmite in the middle of the triangular chamber. To the right and left of the chamber are other dripstone formations, and the blocks forming the floor are covered in stalagmite bosses.
Created by nature and carved out of limestone, Aillwee Cave is one of the best-known of the many caves beneath The Burren.
A guided half-hour tour winds through beautiful caverns over bridged chasms, under weird formations, alongside the thunderous waterfall which can sometimes gently spray the unsuspecting visitor.
Just over 6km south of Ballymote, Kesh caves have associations reaching back to ancient mythology. Human remains, and those of animals such as the cave bear, the arctic lemming, the reindeer and the Irish elk have been found here. Keshcorran, the mountain containing the caves, affords spectacular views of the countryside.
Marble Arch Caves
Located 18km from Enniskillen, the Marble Arch Caves are among Europe’s finest show caves. Visitors can explore a fascinating underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages, and lofty chambers.
A tour of these limestone caves lasts for about 75 mins and includes a short underground boat trip.
Doolin Cave, also known as ‘Poll an Ionain,’ is located in the Burren region of County Clare. Discovered in 1952, it comprises approximately 10.5km of passage. The main feature of the cave is ‘The Great Stalactite’. This measures almost 7 metres in length, making it one of the largest free hanging stalactites in the world.
Discovered in 1983, Crag Cave is a limestone wonderland of stalagmites and stalactites. It contains 4km of surveyed caves, of which 350 metres are accessible to the public. Over a million years old, its many calcite forms which are well lit.
Facilities include a restaurant, souvenir shop, toilets for the disabled, and a free car and coach park.