CUCC Journal 1970 p 24

Co. Clare Round Up

By Gareth Jones

The last journal contained details of our more important finds in 1968 (Notably Pollcloghaun, the Coolagh River Master Cave). A number of other smaller finds were made, and these have not been published before.


About 200 yards up the valley from St. Brendanís Well, in the left hand bank of a small opening which takes a large amount of water in flood. The cave is dominated by a joint plane with a stalagmited tube above, and a tight rift below. The cave was followed for some 30ft vertically and 70ft. horizontally, until the President inevitably became stuck. There is no sound of water, and extension seems unlikely. This cave has probably been entered before. (During 1967 Ed)


This enormous shake-hole has a tiny stream sink in its floor, which was cleared of boulders. Pitons were needed for the pitch of 40 ft. which descends between the rock wall of the shake-hole and a very dangerous choke of boulders which forms the floor. At the bottom some 200 ft. of passage leads off, and contains poised boulders and laminated clay suggesting flooding from below. However, little progress could be made digging in the loose floor of this passage.

The origin of Pollnaspa is obscure, for although it may well have been a previous swallet for the Coolagh River system*, No obvious valley leads to it. This latest find reinforces the idea that it was formed by collapse into part of the system, as the river in the Master Cave of Pollcloghan is last seen heading this way. In between is a large closed shake-hole containing a peat bog.

These two collapses may explain why Pollcloughan backs up at least 90ft to flood the valley floor above, despite the clean nature of its terminal sump, which is a tempting prospect for any diver.

*(very unlikely due to their relative heights. Ed)


Three hundred yards downstream of the bridge by Ballynalacken School is an obvious swallet at the base of a small cliff, and some fifty feet north along the face is an eye bolt whose origin was never discovered. the bedding cave below was seen to take a lot of water in flood, and was dug out, only to find that it closed up after thirty feet. The swallet itself may well be diggable.


The streamway behind this swallet had never been entered, but we visited the area just after a minor flood, and dug away some boulders about ten feet to the left of the obvious bedding cave, where a large volume of water sank with consummate ease. A tight and awkward hole led down into the streamway, which was followed for some fifty feet of SS caving to a final impenetrable squeeze, thus dashing our hopes of entering the Ballynalacken Master Cave by a tributary. A surface survey to grade 0 showed the end to be under a cow-pat, explaining why we were in the sh.. .

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