The woods at Mount Desert near Cork City

One evening, I took notice of a wooded area on the other side of Lee Fields and was curious about visiting it. Here’s the highlighted map of the woods from Google Maps.

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It was only years later that I decided to explore it. I had taken a day off work and figured that I’d finally check it out. I strolled in through the entrance of the Bon Secours Care Village and proceeded to enter the forest close to the car park. I was somewhat concerned that I would be stopped by security as it is technically on private property.

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Entrance from the Mt Desert cul de sac. This was the old entrance from Blarney Road side. The view is great on a clear day.

Within the woods, I followed the old route that was drawn out in 1850 ordinance survey map, large parts of it was still in reasonably good condition and some well worn paths diverged from the original one probably due to some overgrowth. The western half of the woods had more coniferous trees than deciduous ones, looked particularly great in the evening!

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Western edge of the wood, seemingly popular campfire spot for tracksuit-clad folks with poor taste in alcohol ( judging by the discarded cans littered around this area )

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On the first day of coming to this area I had met two dog walkers on separate occasions, who informed me that it was an area frequented by locals which the care village seemingly had taken no issue with.

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To contrast with the western half of the woods, the eastern part featured large patches of wild garlic and bluebells thriving on the forest floor, in some areas I would find myself to be surrounded by them. Mid Spring is the best time to see these before they get choked from any sunlight by the canopy. But as far as which side of the woods impressed me the most, it was easily this one.

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Posted in Activity, Cork, Cork City, Flowers, Hiking, Nature, Places, Plants, Scenery, sunset, Woods | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sherkin Island, West Cork

Sherkin is a small island situated near Baltimore, West Cork. Two pubs on the island just about enough for a population of 108 ( according to the 2006 census ). Subject to weather conditions, the island ferry runs at least 8 times a week day, 7 and 5 times for Saturday and Sunday respectively.

These were taken a while back in 2014, hopefully the island hasn’t suffered any damage from subsequent storms in early 2015 and 2016.

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The Curraheen Cave

It was roughly in August 2015 when I decided to go off the beaten track at the Curraheen Walkway near the vicinity of Lee Fields and my eye caught something interesting at a small rock formation.

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From the few snaps I took of it, it looked like it had potential to be a cave. The entrance was initially too tight to squeeze into but this was easily remedied with the help of a digging implement.
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A week later, I returned and brought a friend with a shovel to help.

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Once widened, I could squeeze head first into the hole and stretch my arm inside and make an attempt to take a photo further into the chamber. There was roughly a 2 metre drop before the hole does a right angle turn and lead to a corridor.

The following image was facing straight down the hole.

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This is the only decent photo of the corridor, it was taken while I was partially inside the hole, upside down and my arm stretched out as far as possible to get to the bottom of the drop, while holding the camera and taking the occasional picture. It’s difficult to know whether the corridor just stops or leads to a larger chamber, but bumping up the brightness in Photoshop reveals some rubble and some colour items that were too blurry to make out.

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The photos show this small cave had promise so we decided to embark on a mission to try squeeze inside it. The following photo is a dramatisation of my attempt to squeeze into the hole legs first.

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I actually got in much further than the photo above implies but at only a certain point in the narrow drop, it got much tighter at the halfway point, but my legs could go through but couldn’t touch the bottom, I became stuck and my legs were simply dangling away being incapable of lifting myself out with ease. My hands couldn’t get a good grip so I was only able to use my elbows to inch myself up a little but  it was not enough.

This had me worried after 5 minutes of trying and failing miserably at each attempt, I eventually got my fellow caver, Tom to reach in and pull me back out again. Much to my relief.

Tom also made an attempt as well but couldn’t get as far as I did. Shortly after, we gave up on any further trials, and whatever was beyond that corridor at the bottom of this hole had to be left to our wild imaginations.

Anyway, here was my attempt at surveying the cave:

A graphical and somewhat accurate depiction of Cave #1

A graphical and somewhat accurate depiction of Cave #1

Not too distant from the first cave, were we able to find the entrance to another cave which, to our delight, was more accessible than the first.

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It was a small cave, in terms of space it was roughly 6 square metres squared, probably could fit four people inside but there’s very little height to sit up properly to make it a comfortable outing. Despite the mud, animal bones, spiders, low ceiling, it was surprisingly snug.

We stayed inside for about half an hour, there wasn’t much else to do other than taking photos or occasionally making strange verbal sounds when a passerby was in the vicinity.

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Another attempt at a dramatisation of events.

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And here’s a short video of the second cave where I repeatedly call the area Lee Fields as opposed to Curraheen:

Posted in Activity, Caves, Cork, Cork City, Nature, Places, Spelunking | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Beaumont Quarry Cave

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With the quarry only being a stones throw away from work, I’ve decided recently to check out the place after reading Kieran McCarthy’s piece about it , what particularly caught my attention from the post was the mention of caves in it. I was surprised at how easily accessible some of them were.


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We found at least 5 different entrances with varying degrees of accessibility, one of the easiest is the one at the easterly cave where there is plenty of room in the inside chamber for three to stand, other entrances didn’t open as much and the westerly entrance required climbing down at least 3 meters to get comfortably inside it. It was inside this cave where we did the brunt of the somewhat limited exploring.

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It wasn’t the climb that was the difficult part of entering the cave though, our biggest obstacle was the pile of rubbish consisting of beer cans, plastic bags, bottles and especially broken glass.

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There were several other items that we found in various parts close to the entrance, including a tennis ball, a volleyball, rusted pliers and a large egg which my spelunking companion later cracked to a horrifying discovery.

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There were a couple of tight spots.

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There were plenty of small chambers to crawl through but according to Brian Murphy’s map survey published featured in the Irish Speleological journal, we’ve only managed to cover only a quarter of what was explored in 1973. We had barely reached the Cone Chamber.

Photo of Brian Murphy's survey of Beaumont Cave

Brian Murphy’s survey of Beaumont Cave – 1973 , Photo provided by Conor Harding

Video:

 

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Dog vs Tennis Ball

This is the face of a dog that does not feel like playing fetch today.

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It’s just out of reach

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Dragon of Shandon 2014

Halloween parade that takes place in Shandon Street and Pope’s Quay every year

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Cork in an October morning

Saturday morning, 11th October I decided to take a short trek around Sunday’s Well and Mardyke while morning fog had rolled into Cork city. For that brief period it was reminiscent of an 80’s fantasy movie.
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