Aillwee Cave - Ballyvaughan
Ailwee Cave is located in the centre of the Burren in County Clare, it can be found sitting high on top of the mountain cut into the side with excellent vistas of Galway Bay. When you visit here you are entering a unique and striking underworld that is in complete contrast with the area above, it is deep, dark and was carved out by an ancient underground river. Throughout your tour you are accompanied by a professional guide who gives a running narrative on the history and local information of the caves, it is very interesting and informative with some funny anecdotes. The tour lasts around forty five minutes, over 3,500 feet of winding passages, there is one small staircase to descend so accessible to most people. Iin some areas its narrows and the cave roof lowers. It incorporates a leisurely stroll through the stunning cavern, through tunnels, over bridged abysses, under bizarre formations and beside the booming waterfall. Other features of the cave are the now extinct brown bear bones, stalactites and stalagmites, the frozen waterfall, and fossils in the stones. At one point the guide turns off the lights briefly and you get to experience pitch blackness. The caves stay at a constant 10 degrees celsius, so can feel chilly, advisable to take along an extra layer also the paths are quite damp so appropriate footwear is recommended.
Within the grounds is a friendly tearoom, take time to enjoy the delicious food available. Take a walk along the limestone pavements and explore the lovely views outside. Just below the cave on the exit road is a Farm Shop here you can watch cheese being made in the dairy, or try some of the delicious produce lovingly prepared in the farm kitchen that are available to buy.
The caves are open all year round. During December they are closed to the public in the afternoons as Santa is in residence.