Call for articles for Irish Speleology

IS19The twenty-first edition of Irish Speleology, the journal of the SUI will be published in October 2014 at SUICRO 2014. Irish Speleology publishes articles on a wide range of cave-related subjects, including reports of new exploration, caving history, geological research, cave archeology, cave biology, etc.


Anyone interested in producing an article for publication should contact the editors, Alasdair Kennedy ( ) and Petie Barry ( as soon as possible

Caves – The Facts and The Folklore

Fine below a Press Release for the Irish Cave Archaeology Project.

Over 700 caves are dotted across the limestone regions of Ireland and may hold archaeological secrets dating back as far as 10,000 years.  An exciting new project run by leading cave archaeologist, Dr Marion Dowd of IT Sligo, is set to explore and document the facts and folklores of Irish caves.

The ‘Irish Cave Archaeology Project’ is prompted by finds already made, including human bones ranging from small body parts to full skeletons of men, women and children; jewellery made from shell, amber and bone; the remains of sacrificed newborn calves, lambs and piglets.  Folklore traditions reveal that caves were seen as places of ghosts and ghouls, gateways to the Otherworld or a home for a supernatural woman that preyed on mortal men.  With uses varying from burial chambers to places to live, caves in Ireland have a diverse history and usage.  For a cave archaeologist, this rich heritage represents a feast of untapped artefacts waiting to be discovered.

Continue reading “Caves – The Facts and The Folklore”

Press Release: Cave Rescue on East Cuilcagh, County Fermanagh.

At approximately 6.00pm on Sunday 10th May, a Fermanagh representative of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation (ICRO) received a telephone call stating that a Polish caver was trapped in a cave on East Cuilcagh.

The caver was one of a party of four Polish cavers resident in Dublin, who entered the cave on Sunday morning on a recreational cave trip expected to last a few hours.

Following notification to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, ICRO commenced an investigation of the situation, and instigated a standby by callout of its members nationwide.

The cave rescue team established that one male caver was trapped in a tight section of cave passage at the bottom of a 70m pothole, on East Cuilcagh, on the Fermanagh/Cavan border (near Gortalughany View Point).The three members of the caving group had exited the cave to raise the alarm.

Forty ICRO personnel from Fermanagh, Belfast, Clare, Dublin and Sligo were called out to participate in the cave rescue; twelve of the cave rescue personnel are Fermanagh residents. The cave rescue team comprised medical doctors, vertical caving and communication experts. They took in medical supplies, sleeping bags, tents, food and specialised communication equipment (as conventional radios do not work effectively underground).

Over a period of ten hours stretching through the night, ICRO personnel worked in confined and difficult cave passages to make the caver as comfortable as possible. Using specialised equipment the rescuers made the passage wider to facilitate the cavers exit. The uninjured caver was in good spirits and ICRO personnel hauled him up a number of vertical sections to the surface using ropes at approximately 6.00am on Monday 11th May.

ICRO was assisted by the Police Service for Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Team (PSNI).

The Irish Cave Rescue Organisation (ICRO) is a self help organisation made up of volunteer cavers specialising in cave rescue and who attend, manage and carry out rescues at the request of the PSNI and the Gardai, in their respective jurisdictions, north and south.

ICRO volunteers regularly train to evacuate people and animals from caves, and is funded by the Northern Ireland Mountain, Cave Cliff Co-ordinating Committee, through Sport Northern Ireland, and the Irish Coast Guard. This pot hole has been used in the past by ICRO for training exercises; this training, and supports from PSNI and funders undoubtedly contributed to the smooth running and success of the operation.