Caving? What means caving?

Caving is the exploration of caves for recreational purposes. Most of the members of the club cave for the sheer fun of crawling through tight squeezes, abseiling down pitches, negotiating crawls and just enjoying the fact that they are in places that very few people have been. Caving is a physical activity but you don't have to be superfit. A trip into the a cave with DIT will rarely go over three hours and won't wear you out too much. Caving can be uncomfortable sometimes, especially in long tight sections of passage and in caves with a lot of cold water but we tend to avoid these caves with beginners and wait until you have the appropriate skills and equipment

Caving isn't a huge sport in Ireland - there's only about 500 or so active cavers - but they're a tight knit group. The upside of this is that the caves are relatively unspoiled. Caving in the UK is much more popular than in Eire with the result that the caves there are very well trodden. Few caves in Ireland will see more than 100 people go into them over the course of a year and many will see a mere handful of cavers. It can be a real privilege sometimes to witness the wonders of the cave world.

But where?

Most of the caves in Ireland are in two areas. Clare and Fermanagh.

Clare: The caves in Clare are largely on the horizontal and so contain many great beginner trips. When visiting Clare we usually base ourselves in Doolin, staying in a rented cottage or the like. The area contains the longest cave in the country - Poulnagollum - at 16 kilometers of passage and counting. In fact the area has almost 100 kilometers of cave passage. The area also has many fine public houses. A popular caving trip involves entering the Doolin River cave at the top of the system, exiting at the bottom, then a quick pint in McGanns pub and back into the cave to do the other half.

Fermanagh: The caves in Fermanagh and Cavan are of a more vertical nature and require knowledge of rope techniques to access the caves. For this reason we normally do trips to Fermanagh later in the year when people have the necessary "skilz" to avoid injuring themselves. Usually we stay in the Scout Hut not far from the Marble Arch cave and can walk to many of the caves. Since we're up north you can avail of excellent offers regarding alcoholic beverages and stock up on bizarre five sided british coins.

There are other caving areas round the country but few have caves in such a concentration to send a trip there. Such areas are Cork, South Tipperary, Sligo, Kerry and Galway.

And how do we do this?

About once every two months we all pile into a convoy of cars and escape the teeming rat infested metropolis that is Dublin and head for the coutryside and sweet, sweet caving. We head off on a friday and stay in either a scout hut, parish hall, hostel, holiday cottage or occasionally a campsite. We cave on Saturday and Sunday and fit in a few visits to the pub in between. Then on Sunday evening or afternoon we climb back into the cars and head home.

And what does this cost?

Generally we'd ask you to contribute 30 or 40 euro towards the trip. This will cover your equipment, accommodation, most of the food and the travel expenses. You can pay for beer or other alcoholic drinks and maybe a few meals on the road to and from the caving areas. Generally you'd expect to pay 50 or 60 euro for a weekend of caving which is damn fine value for the fun you'll have.