Discover a Hidden Earth

What is Caving?

Caving is the exploration of natural underground spaces. It is an adventure sport with inherent risks; many caves are cold or wet or muddy, or all three.

If you don't mind all that it is also a chance to explore a unique world very different from the surface. Even in Ireland it is possible to go where few or even no people have been before. Technically potholes are caves that include vertical drops and therefore require the use of ropes and or ladders but most people use either word for the same activity.

What does SUI do?

The Speleological Union of Ireland is the national organizing body for caving throughout Ireland. Membership is open to anyone interested in caving, for a small fee.

The Speleological Union of Ireland receive a grant from the Irish Sports Council which is used to provide a number of services for cavers such as training, newsletters and magazines, an annual symposium, insurance, expedition grants, library and cave access agreements.

What is Speleology?

Speleology is the scientific study of caves, trying to understand why they have different shapes, why caves are found in some places but not in others.

Some caves are high and narrow, some are round in shape while others are square. Speleology studies the formation of caves and involves studying the minerals and life forms found in caves. It includes aspects of geology, geography, chemistry and biology.

What is ICRO?

ICRO stands for the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation. It is made up entirely of volunteers who may be called upon by the police services throughout Ireland to assist in cave rescue.

Any caver with a reasonable amount of experience would be expected to join the general call out list once they have comprehensive insurance. ICRO also has a Core Team made up of cavers who have trained in special rescue techniques and who regularly update their skills.

Photo of caver standing over a rift

Irish Speleology and the 2014 Tratman Award

Irish Speleology Cover 20Congratulations to Al Kennedy and Petie Barry who have received a special commendation in the 2014 Tratman Award for their editorial work of Irish Speleology Number 20 which was published in October.  The Tratman Award is an annual prize given in the field of speleological literature pertaining to Ireland and the UK.  Past winners include Martyn Farr, Chris Howes and the authors of the classic Caves of Fermanagh and Cavan.  Well done Petie and Al! IS 20 is available to purchase through the SUI Shop

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SUI Extraordinary General Meeting

By Tim FoggAn EGM of the SUI is being held on the evening of Saturday 24th May in the visitors centre of Aillwee Caves, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare at 6 pm.  The purpose of the evening is to present the financial statements of the SUI to the members but there will be a lecture following this entitled ‘The Hydrology of the Bellharbour region of the Burren, Co Clare’ given by Dr Tiernan Henry of the National University of Ireland, Galway.  SUI members and others are encouraged to attend and refreshments will be provided.

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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

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Irish Student Caving Forum 2014


The 2014 Irish Student Caving Forum (SCF) is being held over the weekend of 18th til 21st April in Kiltyclogher, Co Leitrim.  The event, which is receiving support form the SUI, features the usual programme of talks, cave clean up, raffle, drinking and of course caving.  SCF 2014 is being hosted by the cavers of Queen’s University of Belfast Caving Club and all are welcome.  For more information on programme, accommmodation and events email





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More Irish Speleologies online at the SUI Library

timpam-fogg-img_0505-version-3Further issues of Irish Speleology (IS) are now available for members to view at the SUI Library Online which can be accessed via the Members Section of the website.  This brings the total to 17 issues of IS available to view online.  Don’t miss the reports on the SUI’s Conservation and Access Symposium, the reviews of the caves of Cong and Kerry as well as the multiple major Clare finds of Colin Bunce! Numbers 18, 19 and 20 are available to purchase via the SUI Shop. Enjoy!






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