Postponement of BCL Assessment – 14th November 2009

Please note that the BCL Assessment scheduled for the 14th November has been postponed to a date in the spring, (not yet fixed). If you or your colleagues are intending to apply for assessment, log books must be submitted on or before the date as laid out. This is to facilitate stage one of the the assessment process which is to evaluate the submitted logbook and to invite or decline the candidate onto the assessment.

Further information will be posted on this website.

Site Relaunch

Welcome to our new website! We’ve made a lot of changes to our style and content so be sure to have a good look around. The second phase of the new website, our members only area, is currently in development.

Wanted: Cave Rescue Photos

ICRO are looking for photos or videos of cave rescues or cave rescue practices. In particular, they’re looking for images of rigging, stretcher handling & hauling and 1st aid scenarios. If you have anything of interest, bring them along to the symposium in Ballyvaughan. Format doesn’t matter – they can be on a laptop, CD, USB or scanned from a hard copy.

BCL Assessment Weekend

There will be a BCL Assessment Weekend held in Co Clare from 13th November to 15th November 2009.

If you feel that you are ready for assessment please submit your log book to arrive no later than 23rd October or present them at the Symposium in Ballyvaughan on the weekend of the 24th October,.

The assessment co-ordinator and chief assessor is John Sweeney. Log books should be sent to him.

Rescue Practice

The next ICRO major rescue practice will take place on Saturday, 26th September 2009 in Co. Fermanagh, meeting in the ICRO Cladagh Glen Rescue Store at 9:30 a.m.

All members of ICRO who hold appropriate insurance (e.g. FFS, BMC) are welcome to attend. Please bring SRT and caving gear. Please note, RTE are expected to attend this rescue practice to take footage for a documentary, so a good turnout in well-maintained gear would be appreciated.

Committee members & wardens: there will be an ICRO meeting after the practice. More details to follow closer to the date. Sunday, 27th September will be a stores day.

ICRO members – please inform the ICRO Secretary of your availability for the above dates.


The 25th Speleological Union of Ireland / Irish Cave Rescue Organisation Symposium will be held on October 24th and 25th 2009. Location is Hylands Burren Hotel, Ballyvaughan. For room bookings, please contact Jo or Niall in Hylands (Tel. +353 (0) 65 707 7037 or email info [at] To get the symposium rate of €120 per person for three nights B&B, quote SUI. More details to follow closer to the date.

Contact John Sweeney (john [at] for Symposium information.

Stretcher Handling Workshop

A Stretcher Handling Workshop will be held on Saturday 5th Sept in Co. Fermanagh. It will be a full day affair, starting at 9am and finishing at 5.30pm. If you have the day free, please come along as its a good skill for ICRO personnel to brush up on, especially in advance of our NIMCRCC assessment next year, and RTEs appearance (TBC) at our next rescue practice in Sept. There are 16 places available on the course, please email Aileen at or contact her by phone on either 07709135781 (UK) or 0857282411 (ROI) to book a place. A course schedule will be emailed out shortly. Please be advised that there may be nominal cost associated with this workshop, in order to cover the cost of hall hire. This will be firmed up by the time the course schedule is ready, and I’ll let you know if there will be a charge and, if so, what it’ll be.

Also, please be advised that there will be a Stores Day on Sunday 6th Sept at the Fermanagh Store. If you’re coming along to the Stretcher Handling Workshop, please hang around for this, or if you can’t make the workshop, please come up for the day. The store needs a sort-out in advance of the next rescue practice on Saturday 26th Sept. There is a tentative plan to have a BBQ at the store after the tidy-up, this will also be firmed up shortly. Please email / contact Aileen to let her know if you can can make the Stores Day.

ICC entrance to Marble Arch Caves

The cliffs near to the ICC entrance to Marble Arch Caves have been reported to be unstable following a geological engineer’s assessment. Subsequent to this report there has been a collapse across the path commonly used by cavers and the rock-face is still considered dangerous. Please take care when using this entrance and choose an appropriate route when leaving the tourist path. This notice does not apply to any of the entrances used for tourist access to the show cave.

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.