Fermanagh February? 2009

We did this trip with UCD, myself, Daves, Ronan, Des and Sharon represented DIT. Since it lashed non stop that weekend there was only a few caves that could be done safely UCD did Bruce's Pot and we went to -

Polltullyard: We all got kitted out at the farmyard and started marching across a creepy desolate landscape to the cave. The enterance is in a large depression with the entrance surprisingly up the side. A short walk inside that cave and you are at the 35m pitch. Nice descent to the bottom. At the bottom we crawled over boulders through a choke until we reached the dig site. A quick history lesson from Ronan and we went through the Rebirth passage. Tight. We went a bit further into the cave until we reached the very start of Shannon. So tantalising but then we turned back. A nice trip.

That was all we did that weekend due to the rain and large amounts of apathy. We didn't mind so much since this wasn't an official trip but UCD must have been pissed having done only one cave.

Fermanagh - Student Caving Forum - March 2009

Student Caving Forum. Enniskillen. Left Dublin around eight with Katie. Arrived in Enniskillen some time after. Everyone had gone to the pub so there was no-one in the hostel. We went to the pub to meet everyone and I decided to leave early with Katie and Yakoba. There didn’t seem to be anywhere for me so I slept in Artur Kozlowski’s bed. Had breakfast next morning, apologised to Arturand went to go caving. Katie was going to meet Shane Diffly in Black Lion. We caught up with him and drove up Marlbank. Then we went to The Hoo and changed into our gear. A scotsman called Rodger was there. We headed off across the hills.

Marble Arch: At the top of the shakehole we had to wait for a load of young wans to come out and eventually their (probably perverted) leader came out. Down we climbed and eventually we reached the bottom. The cave was locked. Back out. Got lost on the way out and had to wait for Dave and Mick to find out where they were. Eventually we all got out. Shane magically found a different exit. We tried to find John Thomas’s hole but failed.

We went to some other place then to do the SRT race. After a lot of waiting around I got my turn and turned in a respectable time of just over 22 minutes. Back at the hostel we ate, drank and were merry.

Boho caves: Corey of UCD was there. Entered the caves and wandered around without a survey. No Idea where we were going. We did this strange thing where we kept moving east but somehow ended up back to where we started moving east. Twilight zone moment. Katie and I left early because Katie was doing someting and I had to go to Spain with the college.

Clare Late April? Early May? 2009

I for some reason had to leave dublin on my own and for some reason had to take a train. I left college to get a luas but the luas drivers were protesting so there was no Luas running. I ran to College green as fast as my little legs would take me and caught a taxi to Heuston station where I just caught a train bound for Limerick. After a quick change in Limmers I arrived in Ennis where a little later Dave M arrived with a car full of Frencies/illegal immigrants that he’d picked up in the Burren. We drove to the upside down house where Katie was busy baking. We had a few fine drinking games that evening and in the course of these I went headfirst down the stairs, Dave put his head under the cold tap for 30 seconds and Dave tried to stand on his head and smashed his neck after Katied dared him to do it. He wasn’t fit to cave the next day.

Doolin River Cave: After rigging fisherstreet pot we headed off to the entrance. A pleasant walk across some farmland and we arrived at the cave.After a bit of crawling the cave opened up and then after we passed a feature called the Toilet Bowl it opened up in fine style throught the grand canyon. It bedded out after that and after an unpleasant crawl through water we reached Fisherstreet pot. Nice long trip.

Pollelva-Pollnagollum: We went off and descended Pollelva, went into the Craven Canyon and reached the end of the main streamway just at the maze. We headed up the main passage and had a look at the low road. Continued upwards and came out in the shakehole. Marginally more interesting than the other trips we had into this system.

We laid off the drink that night. Next morning we watched Casablanca, ate continually and then I went with Katie on a cave scout. She wanted to do Pollcragreah. The rest of us were far too lazy to cave and made up excuses about the rain (which was a light mist). The weather wasn’t so bad so we could have caved but we didn’t. We drove round looking for the entrances to Pollcragreah, Pollnagrai, Poll na Cgeim and then a long trip to The Cave of the Wild Horses. We went back to the house and watched some of Religilous. Then we went home.

Tipperary/Cork. August 21st – 23rd, 2009

Arrived at Parsons Green camping armed with my slash hook. The place was polluted with children. Daves, Ronan and Thelma arrived an hour later and we ate drank and went to bed

Old Desmond Cave: We pulled in just past the New cave and changed into our gear. Marched across the field and then I had to slash throught the ditch. More slashing throught the thicket and Finally reached the cave entrance. Akwardly rigged by Ronan. I descended into a fine rift sloping downwards. I went off on my own while waiting for the others to come down. I got as far as the main passage wnd went back to meet the others. We marched on and past the wedding cake we went up into the Great West Chamer. A fine sight indeed. At the far end we poked around in the passages and finally reached a pitch we could not pass. We returned to the main passage and moved on to the Great East Chamber. We moved in as far as possible but reached a point where we could go no further. Ronan and I went down to the pool. We looked at some of Youngs Gallery and I found a date for 1795. On the way out we visited the Gong cave and failed to find the pitch. It later turned out that the pitch we were looking for was in fact the pitch we had encountered earlier, and there was just a mistake in the description which said north instead of south. Cool cave.

Pollskeheenharinky: After arriving at the house I met the young man of the house who pointed out the cave to me in the L shaped field. On arriving at the end of the field I searched out the cave under the heavy brambles. Surrounded by friendly cattle I found the old Wosley and slashed through to find the cave entrance. Possibly first people there in a year or more. After descending the loose slope inside the cave we reached the pitch. All we had to secure the ladder to was a rusty old bar of indeterminable age jammed in some rubble. Not good. We turned and left after 10 minutes of caving.

We then retired to the pub after an abortive attempt to watch sheep racing. After a few good games of pool we went back to parsons green and I cooked a mighty fine chicken curry if I may say so myself. We had a few drinks in Dave and Thelmas tent and we went to bed. I however spent the whole night awake because my lousy pink tent isn’t water proof and not really wind proof either. A pretty horrible night. It continued raining through the morning and we packed up in horrible conditions. We dropped Ronan in Cahir and motored on to Doneraile. We found the cave with it’s interesting enterance. Dave and Thelma decided not to cave. Dave L and myself struck off.

Doneraile Cave: A strange, unnerving cave. It’s really easy to get lost and very tricky to get around. Very messy cave – full of twine, fairy lights, graffitti, beercans and broken bottles. There is two fencing posts at a point where the roof seems to have collapsed. Full of abandoned digs done by the messy cavers.

Gortmore Sunday 30th August 2009

Caving with Martin and Dad. We got as far as Roskeen bridge and I suggested that we park above the cliffs and approach them from the west. I went off and found a sink in the field near the road. I thought it might be the spot. We changed and went down into the field. I had a look at the sink and found that it was very tight and yucky. Not the place I was after then. We looked around and decided to go back the the car and enter via the inch. There was a rock filled depression near the sink also. Possibly filled in once upon a time?

Gortmore East cave: After parking near to the bridge we crossed the fields and found the scarp. Found the cave quickly enough too. We walked in along the Cloisters and I had a look at the Golden Gate. Very high water. We got as far as the Polhole chamber and I had a go at the Keyhole passage. Tricky spot. I might have tried harder but I wasn’t with very experienced cavers. Likewise the U-Bend. Poked around for a while and found the old entrance. After exiting we kept moving west.

Donellarooska?: After looking along the cliff we reached a quarry. After a bit of poking I found a long crack in the base of the cliff matching the CSG report from the 70’s. It sloped downwards to a mud base. It seemed to be completely choked with mud. Requires digging? Cave lost?

West Cave: We finally reached the west cave. A nice V shaped entrance to a largish chamber with the 40’ slant in the rock. I went through the chambers with Martin and he exited at the other exit. I went back to the Main Chamber and went down the mud slope and into the water. There was a series of phreatic passages leading north from the chambers. I crawled about 30m in the water until I started getting well up to my chest and the mud got very sticky and the roof started coming down. Nice crawl. The mud sealed the gap between my wellies and the oversuit so when I got out of the water and tried to get up the mudslope my oversuit was full of water up above my knees and I was much heavier. Fun little cave. I later read in JC Colemans description of the cave that there was a few dry passages to the north of the main chamber. Sumped when I was there and not even after much rain.

Freshers trip to Clare 9th-11th October 2009

My first trip as captain. After incredibly hectic negociations to get a car for Enda fron Cathy’s dad we got everything together. Shane and I went to Dave Lalors and rondevouded with everyone else and then we hopped into the van with Dave. We got as far as M in Laois and then got to Kilfenora after a twilight zone moment in Limerick. I went into the hostel and sorted things out with Orla and then I went into the pub where my pint was waiting for me. The three of us went into Vaughns pub and encountered the publican from the Racist episode of Father Ted. The lads arrived and then we all piled into the hostel, drank a bit and then went to bed. Up at 8 in the morning ate drank and got ready.

Cullan 1: Ronan, Dave M, Shane Fitz, and Paul Daly. After a short ladder pitch we got into the streamway and clambered over some boulders in the middle of the passage until we got to the climbdown into the aven. Shane kept asking me if the cave opened out after here as we went through the mildly tight bit near the entrance but fortunately for all concerned it did. Well, as much as Cullan 1 ever will. For a short while Dave and Paul attempted some high level passage but after the passage choked they had to crawl in reverse out to the main streamway. From there on we went through fairly monotonous passage until we got to another climbdown into well decorated breakdown. We turned back here and exited above the ladder pitch.

Doolin Fisherstreet: Myself, Shane, Dave, Aileen, Hugh, Enda, John Clancy, Paul Ciaran and Ronan. We piled into the three cars and gunned it drove to Poulnagollum. UCD were there already clogging up the cave so we decided to go to Doolin Fisherstreet. Since we needed a ladder Dave and I had to gun it back to the hostel to get it. I hopped in the window of the car and we took off. After a quick shortcut cross the country we got back to the hostel and threw in the ladder. We got to Doolin in Jig time only held up by a school portacabin being moved. After changing we climbed down into Fisherstreet slowly having to pass harnesses up and down so we could get into the cave safely. We crawled into the bedding plane slowly with lots of oohs and ahs from the guys not used to such horribly cold water. After a while the cave opened out and we got into some fine walking passage. We stomped on up the cave while a few of the lads made remarks that the cave looked like a sewer. Not only did it look like a sewer... We eventually reached the breakdown bit and after waiting for some people to catch up we decided to turn back and picked up some stragglers on the way. On the way back I took some of the oxbows and even did an oxbow in an oxbow with Enda. After we reached the pot again I went off on my own to visit the sump rather than wait around for everyone to go up the ladder. It was low, horrible and very painful on the return. Up the ladder and away.

Back at the house Cathy cooked a dodgy Spagbol. We went to the pub after and then retired to the TV room. Bed at 2. Next day we got up and no-one wanted to cave. Alas. We had a daycint fry and then I helped pack all the gear. Enda and the lads went off the Cliffs of Moher. At half two I got in the van with Ronan and Dave and went to the UCD house where they got pissed off when I threw an egg over the house. We left quickly and went to the pier for a lookabout. Then we went cross country to Kilfenora and then onwards to Kilnaboy and then went up towards Boston to see the Father Ted house. What a sight. Onwards to Gort where we had a carvery lunch and then we went for petrol and ice cream. At Ballinisloe we went to the fairground and took a spin on the big spinning thing that went way up into the air and then came down again and went on and on and on. We reached Dublin for nine and stopped at Daves before going home.

Fermanagh November 20th – 22nd, 2009

Went to Daves and got treated to dinner. Got some stuff from the shed and packed the van. We crossed Dublin to Dave’s gaff and put him in the van too. I was in some sort of Dave sandwich sitting in the middle of the pair. At Navan we got the food in the creepy empty shopping centre and got back on the road. Pit stop in Cavan and passed the well flooded Butlers bridge along the road. Eventually we reached the hut, just after Giglybird’s bunch and Derek and Gearoid. I can’t remember what happened for the rest of the night. I wasn’t drunk or anything, I just can’t remember. I was up first the next day. The rain was pissing down. I opened the shutters, aired the curtains, ran about with my feather duster like a true domestic goddess, I did the shake and vac, fabreezed the couch and cooked the finest fry in the occupied six counties and all I got was a few murmured complaints about there not being any eggs cooked. Bastards. Despite Gar Devitts warning that we should be out of any cave by 12 o’clock we left the scout hut at 12 o’clock and marched up the glen. We deposited Una, John, Ronan, Athur and Peter at the entrance to Marble arch and we continued up towards the Hoo through a quick shower

John Thomas’s Hole: After Dave stopped talking we managed to get into the cave. There is a 20 meter or so crawl over old dead gours until a tricky little climbdown over a rift. Past the traverse we “rode the dolphin” and then reached the cave proper. It opened out into a large chamber with two mudbanks sloping into the centre. Epic fun. You can climb up the mudbanks to the top and then slide down 5/6 meters. I never managed to reach the top of the larger bank since everyone either dragged me down or collided with me on their descent. Bastards. But all the same, I laughed like a child so I did. We moved on to what would be a crawl in most caves but in John Thomas you just lay on your side and wiggled and moved at a fair clip along the passage. We got to the streamway, then the sump and we reached the end of the cave at the climb. We probably only got 150 meters into the cave at most so it’s quite small. On the way back I climbed into the boulder choke separating the cave from Pollathanarees and got a short distance before it closed up. Getting out was tricky. It’s going upwards through a muddy tube, while covered in mud, while desperately trying not to scratch that itchy eyelid because it would fill your eye full of mud because you are now coated in mud to a depth of 16mm. The climb was far trickier than the way in and the short crawl was annoying. As soon I got out I broke off a twig and scratched that eyelid and sweet, sweet relief. Bloody good trip.

We trudged back all happy and smiley through the glen. At Cascades I took a walk up and had a look into the entrance series. There was water up to my chest. I went in about 6 meters through the boulders before a low duck got my left ear all full of water and I turned back. At the bottom we washed off all of the mud in the cascades and then Dave L water boarded me. Bloody freezing. We got back the Scout Hut and we had a fine feed of sangwiches after hot (!) showers. Faffed around a bit and after the others returned we climbed into cars and headed for White Fathers. Once there I checked out the lower end with Gar and Una but it was sumped. Ah well… I visited the ICRO store with Gar who wanted to measure up the place for new shelves etc. Back at base Dave cooked up his White wine chicken thing and it was delicious. Then we partook of alcohol.

Next morn I got up, repeated yesterdays routine and then we sat about the hut until 12 when we started cleaning up. Bit too rainy/warm inside the scout hut to cave. David arrived at 1:30 and we paid him off. Back on the road we surveyed the flood damage, got diverted and eventually arrive back at Daves house at 5. Plenty of time to clean gear then. Which is what we did.