Top 5 caves in Ireland

Crag Cave, photo by Pam Ramsey

Ireland is incredibly pretty over the ground. All those green, rolling hills, tiny villages with houses painted in bright colors, craggy coast and some fetching natural wonders make you feel like you’ve ended up in a JRR Tolkien novel. But beauty is not only skin deep when it comes to the Emerald Island, because what’s under the ground is not bad either. There are several caves in Ireland, and the show caves are more than worthy of your attention. If you like caves in general, then it’s impossible to dislike the underground wonders of Ireland. So here are the top 5 caves in Ireland.

Dunmore Cave, Ballyfoyle, Kilkenny

Dunmore Cave, photo by Stephen Hanafin

Several historical events (like a Viking massacre, for example) took place in Dunmore Cave, but this cave is known chiefly through the folklore surrounding it. It is sometimes called ‘the mouth of the beast’, or the darkest place in all of Ireland. Although tales make Dunmore sound rather gloomy, you’ll see that the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites in the cave are anything but creepy.

Crag Cave, Castleisland, Kerry

Crag cave loobs absolutely fantastic, so it’s no surprise that it is one of the top 5 caves in Ireland. You will be given a tour of the cave by a friendly guide who will tell you about the history and origins of the cave, about the stalagmite and stalactite formations. Some of the most interesting chambers are the Cathedral and the Crystal Gallery.

Aillwee Cave, Co Clare

Aillwee Cave, photo by Charles W Glynn

There are several thousand caves under the karst landscape of the Burren, but Aillwee is certainly the most famous. The cave has an underground river, waterfalls, and amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Since bear bones have been found in the cave, some say that it was the last bear den in Ireland.

Doolin Cave, Co Clare

Doolin Cave claims to be in possession of the longest stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere, appropriately called the Great Stalactite, measuring over 7 meters. Regardless whether this is true, this is indeed one of the largest free-hanging stalactites in the world, and the rest of the cave is not without attractions either.

Maghera Beach Caves, Donegal

If the Maghera caves were located in an ordinary place and not the coast of Donegal, they wouldn’t be exceptionally interesting. However, the dark and damp sea caves combined with the sandy beach, the sound of the ocean and the craggy and wild cliffs above the cave create an astounding sight.

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