Caving and craving Clare


Vision-impaired thrill-seekers sought for Delving into the Dark experience It's not darkness into light - it's darkness into darkness...

A unique opportunity is in store for thrill-seekers living with a visual impairment, as Ireland’s national governing body for caving (Speleological Union of Ireland) prepares to hold a ‘try-caving’ event in one of the country’s most spectacular underground-exploration regions, the Burren, Co. Clare.

The Speleological Union of Ireland (SUI), in association with Vision Sport Ireland (VSI), CARA, Clare Local Sport Partnership and the National Council for the Blind Ireland (NCBI) are hosting this inaugural and unique event, Delving into the Dark, in September 2019. 

Organisers are seeking 10 visually impaired participants who are eager to experience this subterranean adventure, to join them for a two-day event, which takes place on 27th - 29th September 2019. Cost per person for the weekend is just €150 and covers food, accommodation, transport to and from caves, membership of the SUI, experienced cave guides, guest talks and a t-shirt. While a basic level of fitness is an advantage, no prior caving experience is required.

Day one of this residential weekend kicks off early on Saturday 28th September, with volunteers and participants arriving after work on Friday evening, as participants embark on a trip to a beautiful, beginner-friendly cave in the heart of the Burren. All necessary equipment will be provided by the SUI except footwear and all participants are advised to bring their own wellington boots for the activity. Participants can be accompanied by a friend if they so wish, but will be safely guided through this beginner-friendly cave by experienced, SUI-approved cavers. These volunteer guides will undergo Cara Inclusive Adventure Activities Training in advance of the event (CARA provides inclusive training and education workshops across the sport, adventure, and education sectors).

While cave exploration takes place during the day, the evening will feature interactive lectures on various cave-related topics including: the history of caving in Ireland, cave geology, safe caving, and an introduction to the caving equipment/gear required. Day two, Sunday 29th September, will take participants on their second caving trip, bringing an end to this inaugural Delving into the Dark event. 

An initial training weekend has already taken place to prepare a group of volunteer cave guides, and a second training weekend will take place on 22nd June in Carran, Co. Clare. Any cavers interested in volunteering please email us here . Participants are welcome to join us on June 23rd for a Q&A session and a taster caving trip. Accommodation will be available at no charge on the Saturday night.

Commenting on Delving into the Dark, event organiser and chairperson of the SUI Aoife McGuirk says: “I’m passionate about caving; it’s challenging, sociable and a hugely satisfying way to spend a weekend. With Delving into the Dark, we want to show that caving as a sport is accessible and that cavers are a welcoming and inclusive community.”

If you are interested in participating in this event, please download the application form from our website.

For more information, please contact Aoife McGuirk by email