The cavelands of Fermanagh are unique in Northern-Ireland with their fascinating, natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers.
Corralea Activity Centre organises sporting caving trips into these caves however you can also visit these underground passages as a tourist in the Marble Arch Caves European Geopark.
Caving is an adventure sport. It is an energetic, challenging yet a safe sport provided some fundamental precautions are taken:
1) All participants must have a minimum level of fitness. This level of course will depend on the difficulty of the cave trip.
2) All caving trips in Fermanagh / Cavan are weather dependent. The high rainfall in this part of Ireland together with our changing climate can affect the conditions in the caves very quickly. Therefore we reserve the right to cancel / postpone any trip at short notice for safety reasons.
3) All caving trips are led by a qualified Cave Leader.
- When can I cave?
Corralea Activity Centre Ltd. is open all year round and going underground mid-winter is possible because conditions are fairly constant underground (8-10C but very damp)
You pick your date and check availability with the centre. The more notice you give us, the better chance to secure a date (at least one week notice is advisable).
- Can I go alone or do I need to be part of a group?
Normally, Corralea Activity Centre Ltd. operates with group sizes of 7-10 people at any one time, depending on cave and conditions.
However caving for smaller groups and individuals is possible. The cost per person will vary with the size of the group (proportionally more expensive for individuals).
- What kind of cave can I experience?
Our policy is to know our customers’ physical capabilities before attempting any difficult cave, therefore all our customers will start with a beginners’ caving trip before any other cave can be considered.
- What is a beginners’ cave?
It is a dry or wet horizontal cave.
In a dry cave it includes walking in large passages, walking on all fours and optionally crawling through smaller passages.
In a wet cave, you will experience walking, crawling and wading through water. You’ll witness complete darkness and discover sounds and smells of the cave environment.
Information will be given on the geology, hydrology of the Cave and its inhabitants (bats, etc…). We will share with you any folklore attached to the caves and the locality.
The Caving trip will be carried out in an environmental friendly manner as in the training given by Speleological Union of Ireland to all Cave Instructors.
Each trip will last ½ day. You can experience two different caves in a Full Day.
- A typical Caving Day
10am: Meet your instructor for Day trip. Alllocation of caving equipment. Bring your packed lunch. Tackle bags will be provided to transport lunches.
4.30pm: return of equipment.
You can experience a caving day in its own right, or as part of a week-end away: Please see our “Adventure package”
- What do I need to bring?
We provide all specialised equipment: boots, wetsuits (for wet caves), oversuits, gloves, helmet, light + belt.
For a dry cave, you need to wear comfortable warm clothes e.g. Tracksuit, fleece, warm socks.
For a wet cave you need a swimsuit, towel and warm socks.
Always bring a complete change of clothes to use after your caving trip.
If you are coming to the centre for a full day, bring a packed lunch.
Your Cave Leader will bring spare lights, first aid kit and comfort sac (extra clothing left at entrance of cave).
- What about insurance?
Corralea Activity Centre Ltd. has full public liability insurance.
The centre requires a booking form to be completed with relevant medical information about participants prior to caving trip.
All trips are led by a fully qualified Cave Leader.
- What can I do after my beginners’ trip at Corralea Activity Centre?
There are 2 options:
1) We can take you to a more difficult horizontal cave where there will be tighter passages, where you will have to crawl, climb over boulders, negotiate difficult terrain, swim, etc…
2) We can train you with ladder & lifeline in order to descend into a vertical cave with a short pitch.
The ladder & lifeline training will be carried out above ground and only when we are satisfied you can complete this exercise, will you be taken underground. Training normally will take ½ day.
For these 2 options we will be working with smaller groups of people.
If you want to explore deeper pots and shafts you will need to use SRT (Single Rope Technique). Corralea Activity Centre Ltd. does not offer this level of tuition.
- Reading and other information.
by Gareth Jones, Gaby Burns, Tim Fogg & John Kelly
By Pamela & Tim Fogg
“30 Irish Adventures” giving a personal account of Ireland’s top adventure activities including caving at Corralea. www.30irishadventures.com
By Padraic Woods.