Mitchelstown Caves – A misleading name
You may think Mitchelstown Co. Cork but the caves are located, over the border, in County Tipperary. Mitchelstown Caves are one of the largest and most complex cave systems in Ireland.
On the guided tour you will follow ancient passageways and visit massive caverns in which you are surrounded by indescribable dripstone formations, stalactites, stalagmites and huge calcite pillars and one of Europe’s finest columns the inspiring “Tower of Babel” which stands some 9 meters in height.
Mitchelstown Caves was discovered on the 3rd of May 1833, by Michael Condon who was quarrying limestone when he accidentally dropped his crowbar into a crevice. He stooped down to pull out a few boulders to retrieve the bar, next minute he found himself looking down into a vast series of underground chambers, passages and caverns.
Michael was determined to explore his discovery, accompanied by two boys named Shelly, using only candles, a rope and a burning turf tied to a string to judge depths of crevasses, they cautiously entered the cave. After spending hours exploring, the cave turned out to be far bigger than they were expecting and in attempting to return to the safety of the entrance their candles burned out leaving them in complete darkness for twelve hours before the father of the two boys found them. This is the singular way in which this astonishing phenomenon of nature was discovered, which might otherwise have remained unknown forever.
After the discovery in 1833 news of the find quickly spread with large numbers of curious sightseers coming to visit the natural wonder. In order to preserve the caves natural state, guided tours were organised. Generations of the Mulcahy and later the English family, who lived at the farmhouse at the cave entrance acted as guides and conducted tours through the network of passageways by candlelight. This might sound terribly romantic and adventurous, but it was hardly for the faint hearted.
In the early 1960’s the decision was taken to develop the cave in order to make access easier. Electricity and footpaths were installed and completed by 1972, making it the first show cave in Ireland developed for the public. During development great care was taken to retain the character and natural beauty of the cave and environs and let nature speak for itself.
Visitors enter the cave through the original entrance that Michael Condon discovered and descend four flights of steps, from that point on the cave is level and you are now following the route of an old stream passage that formed there thousands of years ago. On the guided tour you’ll visit three massive caverns, the largest measuring 51 x 31 metres, with the roof tapering up to 20m height.
Mitchelstown Cave are only 30 minute drive from Corderry Farm.
Time to go discover
These caves hold a magical quality and need to be seen and savoured to fully appreciate their beauty. Concerts are held from time to time and the superb acoustics and the vast natural auditorium of the Mitchelstown Cave make for a unique and unforgettable experience. Remember, get in touch if you have any questions and we will be happy to help.