Dublin 2012: County Clare, the Burren, Caving

When I roamed the CCA Booths in my uni, caving and potholing caught my eye. No prior experience needed, the trips were cheap, all gear provided for. Awesome.

Signed up with the friend who yearned for an ‘adventure’ too and off we went. We carpooled and sat in a strangers’ car. I concluded I’ll never be able to drive in Ireland. If you think Singaporeans are fast and furious on the road, wait till you meet the Irish o.o

We sped from Dublin all the way to County Clare. Made two pit-stops, one for a quick greasy take-out meal and the other at a pub (duh) where I proceeded to not order alcohol as usual. I’m such a dampener I know but I have my stubborn streak- if I don’t want something, I really don’t want it. The irish didn’t bat an eyelid of course. Hot bar snacks were brought out and passed around while a small resident band played some local irish music with pints of Guinness by the side. The regulars took some interest in us and came over for a chat. Love the convivial atmosphere in local Irish pubs- so different from some of the mad bars at temple bar in Dublin where it’s so difficult to hold a conversation without  raising your voice!

Our Home for the weekend

The weather the next day was close to perfect (aside from a passing shower). Now what does caving and potholing entail? Climbing/crawling/squeezing through labyrinths. The ones I visited were more of… holes. Fortunately we were guided by seniors who knew the protocols (calling some emergency line thing to report to them the estimated time we would leave the cave. If we get stuck inside they’ll come to rescue us.) and the location of these caves. Our first cave was Cullaun no. 2. After getting used to swishing my wellingtons through the water and the narrowness of the cave I took the lead occasionally and it was fun! At one point the senior bumped his back against a stalactite. He grimaced but his first reaction was “how’s the stalactite”… a true cave lover indeed. 

The second cave (Poll a grai) though, made the first seem like a walk in the park.  I got a fright of my life when I was told to scale down this vertical drop (exaggerating just a little) but I managed to bump and slide myself down. The inside was equally terrifying (my short asian legs didn’t help) but the adrenaline. Now this is what I call an outdoor adventure! After some time we stopped for a break before turning back. Switched off our headlamps and enjoyed a moment of darkness and solitude with a caramel biscuit in hand.

Drying our gear in between   

The next day before heading back the friend and I strolled around our accomodation. The burren has a unique karst landscape that attracts many hikers who come to do the burren way (a hiking trail). As usual there was no one in sight with the exception of a cyclist that passed us by. We giggled at how unsightly our legs were. At this point both of us had so many bruises that it just looked like the skin was a shade darker… I think my condition was worse than the friend’s heh 😉