At the beginning of the summer break of 2017, six members of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society (UBSS) travelled to County Clare on our annual Ireland expedition. Our main objective was to continue the re-surveying of the Coolagh River cave which was started last year. We also had the secondary objective of continuing survey and exploration work in Cullaun One, as an adverse weather option. A small cottage was rented for the duration of the expedition, just outside the village of Corofin, Co. Clare, in close proximity to the caves.
Work in the Coolagh River Cave was very productive. One team focused on extending the survey deeper into the cave, down the Main Drain. The second team worked on tidying up several sections, extending in particular, the West Series and finding it somewhat longer than the old survey had shown. We were able to progress fairly quickly, using our DistoX2 laser measures and PDAs to draw up the layout of the cave. 1790 m of cave was surveyed, bringing the current work-in-progress total to 3355 m, slightly more than half the cave. The equipment was incredibly useful, and allowed us to complete the work we did in good time.
A brief amount of work was also carried out in Cullaun One but there is some still left to do. Our work, as far as it went, left it clear that more work in the Coolagh River cave, Cullaun One, and the rest of the Burren, will be necessary in the coming years.
The Society plans to send a group out next year to continue the work left from this year’s expedition with the aims of completing the Cullaun One resurvey and continuing the work on the Coolagh River Cave. Our continued work in Ireland is intended to be published in a new edition of The Caves of County Clare in 2019, our centenary year.
The Society would like to thank the Alumni Foundation of the University of Bristol and the trustees of the Tratman Fund for their ongoing support which enables us to carry out this work.
Correspondent: Helen Frawley (Hon. Secretary UBSS)