The Irish Caving Scene

Urchin Cave, Doolin, Co. Clare

This has an open entrance 14m wide by lm high. It was previously undiscovered, possibly because it is at the bottom of a small cliff between high and low tide levels. The entrance is a few hundred metres south of Poulcraveen Bay. A short crawl leads to a passage 3m x4m running parallel to the coast. To the north it is soon choked with sand but south continues for up to 50m (depending on tide level) to a sump. The stream in this passage oscillates with the surf and has a strong pull. The whole cave echoes to the sound of surf crashing on the rocks outside making it fairly intimidating. The cave contains a wealth of colourful marine life, hence its name. This cave together with Milner's Brown Holes (Cave notes UBSS 1986) and Poulcraveen may cast some light on the origins of the Doolin Green Holes as they may all be formed in the same bed.

Aillwee Cave, Co. Clare

A discovery has been made in Aillwee Cave Entrance Series where work was being attempted to open up St. Patrick's Rift to the public. Another side passage was pushed by Brian Judd and continued as a crawl in a mud filled large phreatic tube for 100m to a solid looking choke. When surveyed it was found to lead back towards the car-park. On the surface 2 days were spent looking for the point where this phreatic tube emerged on the hillside before it was eventually located. The only surface indication being a pocket of sand and soil. With the aid of a mechanical digger, a half tube and canyon were quickly revealed and after 3m of glacial fill the connection with the previous exploration limit was made. This route appears to be the main route of the cave, the present entrance to the show cave being a much older route. Work is continuing to excavate the whole route (now called St.Bridget's) for development as part of the show cave and access is not being allowed to cavers [but see Pelobates 52 Ed.]. There is one side passage heading south which could be interesting but otherwise the cave contains little of interest to the sporting caver. It is interesting however to speculate on how many other caves in the high Burren are blocked by only 3m of glacial fill.

Poll na gCéim, Co. Clare

Progress in Poll na gCéim has halted for the moment as the explorers try another sponsorship drive. Martyn Farr is coming over in August to help us. In the meantime a plan has been formulated to drain the sumps by diverting the water through a 4" pipe and siphoning out the sumps. Well it should work in theory and as the pipe has already been donated why not try it? [See Pelobates 52 for answer Ed.]


(a) Cave Notes UBSS '86

Second in a continuing series of updates of "Caves of County Clare." including corrections and new additions. These include descriptions of the Doolin Green Holes (now out of date) and a detailed map of the Western Knockauns area showing all sinks and caves plus briefs notes on other discoveries in the area. This is available with the previous cave notes in a small booklet price €1 from UBSS.

(b) Irish Speleology Vol.4 No.1

Following last year's issue which was packed full of information on the North, covering the previous 12 years, this issue has a decidedly Southern bias including Poll na gCéim, Pollnagollum, Glen-curran, the Cong area in Co.Galway etc. The layout is much clearer and more readable than previously, although there is less material. The editor hopes to keep the new format and intends publishing regularly. . Available at £2.00 from K. Ecock, 31 Grange Crescent, Kill of the Grange, Co. Dublin.

Colin Bunce