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Two caves in Ireland - Europe's largest stalactite

We have visited two caves in Ireland: Aillwee Cave, which was a secret for many years, and Doolin Cave with Europe's largest stalactite. Join us in two exciting caves in Ireland! Today we also tell you a bit about Irish food, and about our continued journey south ...


Caves in Ireland

There are several caves in Ireland, and we have visited two of the most interesting: Aillwee Cave and Doolin Cave. Both caves are located on the west coast, just south of Galway.

Grottor på Irland

Aillwee cave - Long a secret

We started by visiting Aillwee Cave located on the west coast of Ireland, just south of Galway. This cave was found in 1944, when farmer Jack McGann, lost his dog and had to crawl into the cave to find it.

For some reason, he waited 30 years (!) before telling anyone about the cave. Once he did, excavation began, and now the cave is a tourist attraction along with a cheese shop and a centre for birds of prey.

Ailwee cave
The entrance to Aillwee Cave - what is hidden inside (downstairs)?
Aillwee cave Ireland
Excited to go down into the cave!

What's special about Aillwee Cave is that it was formed by an underground river, so it's shaped like a tunnel with a circular roof. So you walk where the water once flowed! Inside the cave there is also a small waterfall.

Grotta Irland Aillwee cave
A long underground passage ...
Aillwee cave vattenfall
An underground waterfall!

Locally produced cheeses

Once you've finished visiting the cave, you can walk down to a cheese shop, which sells the award-winning "Burren Gold Cheese", and a bird of prey centre. We sampled the cheeses in the shop and because they were so good, we took home two cheeses: "Garlic & Nettle" and "Black Pepper". In the same picture you see two things my Irish colleague told me to buy: soda bread and Irish butter. Very good!

Aillwee cave Irland
Peter found a mate in the small "forest" between the cave and the cheese shop.
Aillwee cave marmelad
The cheese shop also sells mustard, marmalade, pesto and other products from local producers.
The cheeses we bought at Aillwee Cave as well as "sodabread" and Irish butter

Doolin Cave - Europe's largest stalactite

The next cave we visited was Doolin Cave, located just outside Doolin on the west coast of Ireland. This cave was discovered in 1952 by cave climbers J M Dickenson and Brian Varley. Although the cave they crawled into was... sick cramped, they continued for five (!) hours because they felt that there was oxygen in front of them, and thus there could be an opening. Bear in mind that they were travelling in pitch black darkness, with only basic caving equipment from the 1950s.

Doolin Cave Peter
Peter looks down the hole where J M Dickenson and Brian Varley crawled in ...

Finally, they arrived at a large hall, with the largest stalactite in Europe. The stalactite is 7.3 metres long and weighs around ten tonnes! Today, a larger entrance has been made so that visitors can reach the same hall and stalactite.

Doolin cave stalaktit
Europe's largest stalactite
Europas största stalaktit
A dedicated hall for Europe's largest stalactite

The journey continued ... but where?

After visiting two caves in Ireland, we continued our journey southwards. We set the satnav to our destination and asked it to pick up the fastest the road. You could say we were a bit surprised by the GPS's choice of route, but who knows, maybe it was the fastest route? Anyone who can guess where we are going? The answer will be in tomorrow's post, which we will publish at 06:00.

vägar Irland
Fastest way to get south, according to the GPS
Irland vägar
It says "SLOW" on the ground. Well, how else do you drive ...????
Färja Irland
Our campervan is on a ferry ... but where are we going?
All our top tips about Ireland. Click on the image!

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