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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Aillwee Caves

Aillwee Caves are karst caves located underground. They are located in County Clare, Ireland. This is area is commonly referred to as the Burren. The region itself is a wild, beautiful, dramatic scenery. I loved driving through it. Ireland is a abundant in breathtaking scenery. I'm discovering that I favor wild, dramatic beauty. When you pull up you are greeted by a guard. She explained everything that was offered at Aillwee Caves and that is when you purchase your ticket.

 There is plenty besides the caves to do here. They have a lord of prey center, the hawk walk (I don't think this was offered while we were there, but it looks pretty cool), the wolf den (survival skills) and a farm shop. We only paid for the cave, but we stopped at the farm shop on our way up the hill. They have homemade goods for sell, drinks, cheese and fudge. They offered us free samples of the cheese and fudge. The cheese was so good that we bought some to take with us. I still talk about how good that cheese was and how I wish I could have some right now! It was delicious!
Once you make it to the top of the hill, there is parking available and you enter Aillwee Caves. Outside of the entrance you have a prime photography spot of the burren. There is a panoramic view of the burren. The town and coast look like tiny little dots! Inside is where you wait for your cave time. There is a gift shop to browse and a cozy tearoom.

The tour is 30 minutes and it's all walking. The cave floor and metal bridges are damp and wet, so plan your footwear accordingly. For the majority of our trip I wore my Merrells and my friend wore her converse with no problem. This was not physically active, especially the other cave we toured. I saw families with very young children in the tour groups before and after us.
At one point inside the cave they do turn the lights off. It was pitch black and you could see nothing. I have never been in darkness like that before. I imagine that is what a black hole would look like. I stuck my hand in front of my face and I still could not see it . . . not event the outline. I don't know how the people who discovered it kept digging in such darkness.

It was a good tour filled with local history. They explain how the cave was discovered. There are even bones inside the cave of a 2,000 year old brown bear that is now extinct. It used to roam that area, but no longer. I would recommend this cave to visitors. We did visit another cave and in comparision Aillwee Caves seemed more commercialized and touristy, but I'm still glad I visited. Don't forget your cheese on the way out!

If you purchase tickets online it will save you money! Check it out . . .

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