This part wasn't exactly my usual cup of tea though it was very cool. My favorite part of it all was the story of it's discovery. And please excuse these photographs. Obviously the lighting isn't great and I didn't take time to fiddle with the settings and without a tripod...well you get the (very blurry) picture.
The Aillwee caves were discovered quite by accident in 1944, when a farmer named Jack McGann followed his dog who fell into a hole while chasing a rabbit. McGann went into the hole to get his dog back and found himself in the cave.
--Now, here is where the tale differs slightly from our bus driver/tour guide to the cave guide to the internet. But I like the bus driver's interpretation best so we're going with that.--
For thirty years McGann kept the knowledge of the caves to himself, exploring them and telling no one. However, on one rather inebriated night in 1973 down at the local pub, McGann began bragging about what he'd found in the mountains. He bragged to the worst possible people: a group of archaeologists! So they investigated and though he was given credit, work began on opening it up to professional exploration and later public access.
Can you spot the "praying hands"
The most harrowing part of the trip wasn't when everyone was instructed to turn off their lights and we all stood in utter and complete darkness. It was walking over the "bridges" cut into the side of the wall and made out of see-through metal grating. I'm sure its 100% safe. But I don't usually do things like that. I shudder to think of doing it again.
Unrelated to Ireland, I ran my first 13 mile run in years yesterday. It felt so great! Minus the multitude of bugs, of course. I'm getting more and more excited about this marathon. That's so weird to even type out considering I never thought to run one. Ever. But October 6th, I'm so excited for you to get here!