A Photo-Journal Of The Irish Underground

Pollaraftra Cave

Pollaraftra Cave

Calcite Curtains

 
At 3.5km long, Pollaraftra is Fermanagh’s northen most cave of significance. Despite being isolated somewhat from the other speleological areas of the county it is regularly visited by student caving groups as a long beginners trip. In this respect it offers a great mix of challenges to the beginner with extended tight crawling, wading in water, and exposed traverses. It was one of the first caves I visited and I have returned many times.

Pollaraftra Cave

Tony Seddon having dived the final sump for the first time in 40 years

 
Pollaraftra has an interesting geological history. It is a classic fault cave (in which one part of the limestone bed has slipped relative to the other). While there is no major sink, water reaches the underground by diffuse overflow from the surrounding hills. This water subsequently carved out and extended the fault into a cave which has a series of active and non active parts. The active phreatic parts can only be explored by divers but the nonactive relict cave is relatively easy to traverse and has very fine features, including many speleothems.
 

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These photos are from numerous trips including one in April of 2014 in which Tony Seddon dived a number of the cave’s sumps, some of which were first and last investigated over 40 years ago by Solari and Farr.
 
 
 
Pollaraftra Cave

The massive boulder chamber in which bedding slabs have fallen from the roof

 
Despite my many visits and the difficulty of carrying photographic equipment through the 40m crawl passages, I rarely tire of it and always see potential to return for further photo trips. Not to mention that I have seen but not yet photographed the most beautiful part of this cave. Hopefully I will return soon.

 

County Fermanagh Caves By County
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