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

Caves and the Irish Revolution – an appeal for information

Moneen CaveDr Marion Dowd (pictured) of the Sligo Institute of Technology is the foremost expert on the archaeology of Irish caves and has been asked to contribute to a project collecting information on caves that were associated with the Irish Civil War and /or Irish War of Independence. Dr Dowd states that at present there are about 20 known instances of caves where arms were stashed, that were used as bases for intelligence operations, or that served as hideouts. There must be many more caves that were used for similar purposes. If you know of any, do please let Dr Dowd know either through I Want To Try Caving (Ireland) Facebook page or via email: dowd.marion@itsligo.ie

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Irish Speleology 21 Publication

Irish Speleology 21

Irish Speleology 21

The SUI is pleased to announce the imminent publication of the 21st issue of Irish Speleology, the high quality journal of the Speleological Union of Ireland, on the 25th of October 2014.  Issue number 20 was singled out for special commendation at the 2013 Tratman Awards for caving related publication and the upcoming issue has plenty to interest all cavers.  Articles include an update on the Teampall Shetric explorations in County Leitrim, Blarney Castle Caves, County Cork and a full report on the findings of the highly successful recent Irish Papua New Guinea Expedition.  Editors Petie Barry and Alastair Kennedy, as well as all the contributors, have put in a lot of hard work preparing this high quality publication so please show your support for them, the SUI and Irish Caving by purchasing your copy at the upcoming SUICRO symposium or afterwards via the SUI Shop

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Attention all cavers! The biggest and best SUICRO yet is coming!

Baker's Rift 021SUICRO – the annual symposium of the Speleological Union of Ireland and the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation – has entered its thirtieth year and this one is going to be the biggest yet: from trade stands, equipment demonstrations, competitions, international speakers, meetings and fringe events. SUICRO has it all! This year’s event is being held in the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, Co Tipperary and is being run by some of the members of the Clare Caving Club and all cavers (and others!) are welcome.  A detailed description of this upcoming caving mayhem including venue and accommodation details is here.  The event is free to attend and the line up is formidable so why not come along?

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Try Caving with the Dublin Caving Group a success!

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Saturday the 13th of September saw a further successful Try Caving event taking place in the Burren, CO Clare, this time hosted by the members of the newly formed Dublin Caving Group and supported by members of the training team of the SUI.  The aim of these events is to introduce novices to the sport and boost club members.  A number of trips took place into a few of the more well known systems in north Clare and all in all more than 20 people attended!  Well done to the Dublin Caving Group: a flying start for this admirable new club

!

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SUICRO 30: coming up fast!

FrontDon’t forget SUICRO 30: the annual symposium of the Speleological Union of Ireland is fast approaching. This year’s venue is the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel in sunny Cahir, Co Tipperary. The 3 day event runs from Friday night 24th October til the early hours of Monday 27th October.  This year’s talks line up has a distinctly international flavour and the usual selection of trade stands, equipment demonstrations, AGMs will be going on as usual.  Additionally there are a few extra special events occurring this year not least of which is the ‘alternative’ photography workshop.  All are welcome and admission to all talks and meetings etc is free to members and non-members alike.  For more information go here or email SUICRO2014@caving.ie

 

 

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Single Rope Technique Training Course

SRTThe SUI is delighted to announce that there will be a new Single Rope Technique (SRT) training course running over the weekend of 4th and 5th October 2014 in Co Fermanagh.  SRT is the technique used is negotiating vertical sections of caves involving the use of harnesses, rope, karabiners and other technical items of caving equipment.  For most cavers this represents a core higher skill and use of SRT opens up a huge range of caving possibilities both in Ireland and elsewhere.  The course is open to SUI members and up to 6 attendees can be accommodated.  The weekend is aimed at those with little or no SRT experience and SRT equipment will be available for loan (although attendees are welcome to bring their own kit).  The weekend will involve a days indoor training on the Saturday in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh followed by an underground day on the following day.  To book your place or find out further details regarding venue and paying email SRT@caving.ie
SUI membership can be purchased here. Accommodation suggestions can be viewed here or alternatively the Aghnahoo cavers cottage is an option.  Please note the course does not include meals.

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Upcoming SUI Courses: book now!

BCLComing up soon are two SUI courses: book now to avoid disappointment!

Caving Fundamentals: the ideal introduction to the sport of caving. This two day residential course which is being run over the weekend of Friday night 5th til Sunday 7th September, provides a solid basis to the practice of caving through a series of lectures, equipment demonstrations and of course caving trips! The course is being run from the Burren Outdoor Education Centre, Bellharbour, Co Clare. Cost of the course is  €150 with balance to be paid on arrival.  Please note that price includes tuition, food and board and deposits are non refundable.  Caving Fundamentals is a prerequisite to Basic Cave Leader (BCL) training which is due to take place in October.  As an extra special offer on this occasion from the SUI the fee also includes basic SUI membership from the date of the course until the end of the year.  To book a place email suitrainer@caving.ie and to pay email treasurer@caving.ie

For more information on the Caving Fundamentals course click here

 

Basic Cave Leader: this is the SUI’s basic leadership qualification in caving and is used in the outdoor education and pursuits industry as well as in recreational caving. The training weekend is being run over the weekend of  Friday night 17th til Sunday 19th October at the NUIG Research Station, Carron, Co. Clare. Cost of the course is  €165 with a 10% discount applied if a place is booked and a deposit of €50 paid by 8th of September 2014. Balance to be paid on arrival.  Please note that price includes tuition, food and board and deposits are non refundable.  Please note that Basic or Full SUI membership is a prerequisite for BCL training.  To book a place email suitrainer@caving.ie and to pay email treasurer@caving.ie

For more information on the Basic Cave Leader qualification click here

 

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Our Wee Caves – Irish Caving Blog

Pollbwee by Tim Millen

Pollbwee by Tim Millen

Whilst we are on the subject of blogs check out Our Wee Caves: a wonderful blog describing the caving activities of a group of Lisburn based cavers led by SUI member Tim Millen.  The site includes photographs and videos from sites where little such material has been recorded in the past.  The blog even has a Twitter account @ourweecaves so you can keep up to date with the group’s activities!

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‘Caves of Ireland – a Photo-Journal of the Irish Underground’

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Photo by Robert Mulraney

Leitrim based caver and SUI member Robert Mulraney has started a photography blog capturing beautiful images from some of the caves of Ireland.  Entitled ‘Caves of Ireland – a Photo-Journal of the Irish Underground’ there have been entries from a number of sites already including the recent discovery of the Pollfaffin entrance to Pollrunda on Largy, Co Leitrim. Robert is a member of the Breifni Caving Club and we wish him all the best as his journal of photographs enlarges. The blog is available to view here and Robert can be contacted via the site (why not offer to go caving with him and carry boxes of photographic gear – always guaranteed to please any cave photographer!)

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New through trip on Largy

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Photo by Robert Mulraney

On Saturday 19th July a significant new find was made by SUI members from a joint Shannon Caving Group – Breifni Caving Club party to the Largy region of Co Leitrim.  The cavers had been participating in an Irish Cave Rescue Organisation practice in the area earlier in the day.  A small crawl previously un-pushed at the bottom of Pollfaffin led to a chamber with a rift pitch entering the adjacent shaft of Pollrunda.  More details can be found on the Shannon Group’s webpage here who should be contacted for up to date advice on visiting.  Irish Speleology 20, the journal of the SUI,  contains a guide to the caves of Largy (including Pollrunda and Pollfaffin) and can be purchased via the SUI shop.

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