When we planned our Ireland itinerary, we devoted a large chunk of one day to exploring the world famous Cliffs of Moher. However, as luck would have it, the day ended up being misty and overcast, as so many Irish days are. We held out hope that the weather would clear, but as we got closer to the cliffs it got foggier and foggier, until we could barely see the fields we were driving through. We stalled a bit by grabbing lunch at the Stonecutters Kitchen, a cute little place along the way (the Guinness stew was tasty and filling), but the weather hadn't improved at all by the time we finished. We knew that if we went to the cliffs, we wouldn't be able to actually see them, so when we passed signs for Doolin Cave, we decided to check it out. It turned out to be the most wonderful happenstance, as the cave was well worth a trip in its own right.
Doolin Cave was discovered in 1952 by two students who were studying
the caves in the area. They had broken off from their university group to explore on their own, and discovered a stream that seemingly disappeared into a cliff face. They followed the stream and dug their way into a narrow passageway, which they then crawled into. With no one knowing where they were. Through a confined, dark space. Not knowing what was ahead of them, and taking the risk that a rock could fall and block their passage back. Luckily for them (and us), this did not happen, and they ended up discovering a cave that houses a
magnificent, 23 foot stalactite, which has been forming over the course of thousands of years. In order to check out the cave, you need to take a tour. Tours leave every half hour or so, and they have a small cafe and shop to kill time in if you need to wait for the next tour. Our guide looked about 12 years old, but he was extremely knowledgeable and charming. The tour is not physically strenuous, but does require climbing up and down a long flight of stairs. If you're able, we highly recommend making the time to check out Doolin Cave!