Go delving into the dark with Irish cavers

Thrill-seekers with a visual impairment are to get the chance to go underground in a ‘try-caving’ event in one of Irelands’s most spectacular underground-exploration regions – the Burren in Co. Clare.

The Speleological Union of Ireland (SUI), in association with Vision Sport Ireland (VSI), CARA – Sport Inclusion Ireland, Clare Local Sport Partnership and the National Council for the Blind Ireland (NCBI) are hosting this inaugural Delving into the Dark event in September 2019.

Organisers are seeking ten visually impaired participants who are eager to experience this subterranean adventure to join them for a two-day event, which takes place on 27th – 29th September 2019. Cost per person for the weekend is just €50 and covers food, accommodation, transport to and from caves, membership of the SUI, experienced cave guides, guest talks and a t-shirt. While a basic level of fitness is an advantage, no prior caving experience is required.

Day one of this residential weekend kicks off early on Saturday 28th September, as participants embark on a trip to a beautiful, beginner-friendly cave in the heart of the Burren. All necessary equipment will be provided by the SUI except footwear and all participants are advised to bring their own wellington boots for the activity. Participants can be accompanied by a friend if they so wish, but will be safely guided through this beginner-friendly cave by experienced, SUI-approved cavers. These volunteer guides will undergo Cara Inclusive Adventure Activities Training in advance of the event (CARA provides inclusive training and education workshops across the sport, adventure, and education sectors).

While cave exploration takes place during the day, the evening will feature interactive lectures on various cave-related topics including the history of caving in Ireland, cave geology, safe caving, and an introduction to the caving equipment/gear required. Day two, Sunday 29th September, will take participants on their second caving trip, bringing an end to this inaugural event.

An initial training weekend has already taken place to prepare a group of volunteer cave guides, and a second training weekend will take place on 22nd June in Carran, Co. Clare. Any cavers interested in volunteering please email [email protected].

SUI chair and event organiser Aoife McGuirk says: “I’m passionate about caving; it’s challenging, sociable and a hugely satisfying way to spend a weekend. With Delving into the Dark, we want to show that caving as a sport is accessible and that cavers are a welcoming and inclusive community.”

If you are interested in participating in this event, please download the application form from the website www.caving.ie

For more information, please contact Aoife McGuirk or visit www.caving.ie.