Ireland: Next stop – Doolin
On our bus ride up to the Cliffs of Moher we stopped in the town of Doolin to pick up/drop people off. I noticed a sign for the Doolin Cave and did some research at the hostel. We decided to get up early the next day and check it out!
I thought Lisdoonvarna was small… well Doolin has a population of only about 300 and only has three pubs. Here’s one of them:
Heath waiting for the place to open!
Once the man arrived and opened up shop we were on our way in a little bus. Just us and one other man! It was a quick drive with a short stop in between to pick up the tour guide on the side of the road. Too funny!
So the short version of the cave story goes like this: Two crazy cave hunting dudes were following a little river and followed it right up to the side of a mountain. So they decided to crawl into the mountain via the river. They continued for 6 hours in a hole only 3 feet wide by 2 feet tall. Here’s the hole from inside the cave:
Luckily, we got to go in through the man made hole:
We continued down for a little bit, all the while following the small river that the men followed into the cave. Back to the story: After several hours of crawling through this hole their lights go out and now they crawling around in pitch black. At about 6 hours… they make it to this large opening and are able to stand up. Since it’s pitch black at this point they really just sit there for a while and listen to the river and let their eyes adjust. They can tell they are in a large opening but without lights there’s not much they can do. So they turn around and crawl back out another 6 hours in the dark. The next day, they bring more people and more lights. When they get to the same cavern this is what they saw!:
It’s the longest stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere and second in the world. It measures about 23 feet in length. It only grows about .005 inches a year so think of how old this thing is! What makes it more impressive is the fact that it is held on by a section of calcite less than 0.3 square meters.
They still haven’t been able to find the water source that is causing this to grow. Let’s hope a subdivision isn’t built at the source and stops the thousands and thousands of years worth of work!
If anything, it was nice to get out of the heat for a little while! I signed the guestbook on the way out and skimmed through it. Would you believe that there was a signature in there from Fort Myers, Florida? What are the odds?!
Now back to the hostel then on another bus… off to Dublin and Dun Laoghaire!