At the University of Limerick, there is an Outdoor Pursuits Club that does outdoor activities throughout the semester. I always participated in the hiking days, but I decided to do something out of my comfort zone. I went caving. When I say caving, I mean legit, wet suit, helmet with a flashlight, crawling through caves caving.
For a small fee of 5 euro, we were bused out to a location in The Burren, part of County Clare, Ireland. This included all the equipment necessary (helmet with light, wet suit, belt and kneepads. The first adventure was getting to the cave entrance. A small group of about 7 of us, all suited up headed out into the vast dark wilderness. Of course it was raining sideways with chilling winds.
We walked down a tiny road and then turned into the woods. We continued down a muddy path in the grass, over rocks and streams. At this point it felt like I was in a post-apocalyptic movie. The land was deserted and the only thing we could see was the beam of our headlights.
After brief safety instructions, we headed out into the cave. The entrance was a tiny hole in the ground and without the light; you might have passed by it. We slid down the rocks, through a tiny waterfall and into the cave. We began walking through the caverns, which were gorgeous! Tiny passageways lined the cave and we followed the line leader (Almost like Kindergarten).
The most challenging part was the darkness challenge. We all were told to turn our lights off and follow the cave on instinct. It was a lot harder; especially since the cave walls were so narrow and twisted. After some mild hyperventilating, we made it through a couple minutes of pure darkness in the cave.
After some more casual walks, we finally got to the hardest part. We reached an opening and looked around to see the only way out was a tiny window of rock. I was down on my hands and knees crawling through the rock window. I could barely lift my neck up to see what was ahead. At one point the space was so tight that we were on our bellies, using only our arms to push our bodies through.
After hours inside trekking, we made it out of the cave. Everyone in our group was so nice and helpful. I packed some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the bus ride home. I let some of the Irish students try them since they don’t sell them here. Turns out they find them disgusting and almost could not swallow them. (Guess Americans love artificial peanut butter too much)
Anyways, I had my GoPro video camera strapped to my chest for majority of the caving trip, but sadly because of battery life, I could not keep it on for the entire thing. Also with little light and lot of mud, the shots are not the best, but I tried to show as much as I could. The last clip is of me lying on belly. Before that shot I was on my belly sliding myself for 10m straight, so narrow that you could not lift your neck to see ahead. Anyways… ENJOY!