Trips & Reports for Faurnarooska Cave

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Friday June 24th 2016

Faurnarooska Cave

John D, Matt, Rachel, Tash, Joe Smith

Matt wrote...

After our flooded off attempt at this cave at the start of the week we were keen to return.

The cave is found by parking at the start of the track leading north east at M138046 on Irish OS map 51. This is best reached by heading north on the main road out of Lisdoonvarna and taking the second road (a very discrete and not well marked junction) on the left along a mostly single track road for a few miles. Walk up the track, past the first gate and then past the next wall coming down the hill. Just after this is a gate into onto the fell on the right. Through this gate, bear right to join the wall about 50m back running up the fell. Follow this wall for about 200-300m up the fell. Shortly after the wall 'runs out' near the top of the fell the depression of Faunarooska with a surrounding fence is only 50m further ahead. It is very heavily overgrown.

After quickly finding the shakehole (after the epic earlier in the week) we made quick progress down. After a week of reasonably settled weather the cave was unrecognisable, only a small stream flowing down the entrance.

Scrambling down the descending stream canyon an inlet on the right is soon met (take note of this on the return journey as the way you have come from is the least obvious of the two upstream routes here). Following the easy walking height canyon downstream another inlet is passed on the right after about 50-100m (again take note for the outward journey). The Selected Caves description from this point is highly misleading as it jumps from the first inlet all the way to the end of the streamway where the route to the wet and dry pitches split, with absolutely no mention of the hour of excellent streamway in between which comprises the majority of the trip (as well as most of the pretty bits).

So here goes with perhaps a better description.

After the second inlet (only about 100-150m from the entrance) is passed, the way on is very simple, and there are no junctions. Just follow the meandering narrow canyon passage downstream, mostly walking (sometimes sideways), for a considerable distance (about 600+m, over 30 minutes). There are several notable landmarks along this journey including a chert bridge at neck level across the passage, and then several easy but fun water chutes/cascades. Beyond the cascades the amount of flowstone starts to increase in abundance and it is necessary in several places to crawl in the stream where the flowstone obstructs the passage or the passage is too narrow. Further on a stunning white formation is seen on the right about 8 foot above stream level, and soon after this is an even more stunning section of passage adorned with straws, stactites and flowstone (rather comparable to a smaller version of Fools Paradise in Gingling Hole in Yorkshire). Not far beyond here, through more crawls in the stream, the passage suddenly enlarges at a 1m drop down.

Shortly beyond here is the letterbox on the right towards the wet pitch and then the water is lost on the right. Continuing in the dry passages straight ahead, we scrambled over some large mounds of moonmilk and into the large rift traverse mentioned in Selected Caves. Sadly the formations in the passage below were disappointing (although we maybe didn't climb down far enough to see them), so we turned around and headed out, stopping for some photos in the streamway at the nice formations (see John Dale's photos in the gallery).

We did not take any ropes or ladders and it is my understanding that neither of the pitches are worth descending.

A superb cave with a lovely (though only moderately proportioned) meandering vadose streamway and some stunning decoration in the downstream sections.

It is worth noting that although the description says this cave does not flood easily, it was very much in flood when we visited earlier in the week, although that was exceptionally wet conditions. I guess the cave would be fine in moderately wet weather, however the crawls in the streamway further downstream mean I wouldn't wish to be there in anything too nasty or if any sudden thunderstorms were likely.

29th June 2016

Matt Ewles

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Sunday June 19th 2016

Faurnarooska Cave

Gary, John D, Matt, Tash, Josh Young

Matt wrote...

Our first trip of our week in Ireland and what a way to start the week. The rain (as forecast) was absolutely lashing down. It had been all night, and it was also blowing a small gale. Not a good day at all! Still, encouraged by the guidebook which said that Faunarooska does not flood easily we thought we would give this very pretty cave a shot.

The cave is found by parking at the start of the track leading north east at M138046 on Irish OS map 51. This is best reached by heading north on the main road out of Lisdoonvarna and taking the second road (a very discrete and not well marked junction) on the left along a mostly single track road for a few miles. Walk up the track, past the first gate and then past the next wall coming down the hill. Just after this is a gate into onto the fell on the right. Through this gate, bear right to join the wall about 50m back running up the fell. Follow this wall for about 200-300m up the fell. Shortly after the wall 'runs out' near the top of the fell the depression of Faunarooska with a surrounding fence is only 50m further ahead. It is very heavily overgrown.

Unfortunately, today, we did not take this route to the cave from the car, and instead (on Gary's memory from several years back) we turned right up the fell too early (at the first gate along the track) and ended up spending 45 minutes trudging up the peaty stream around the fell in waist height bracken and through bogs in the pouring rain before eventually locating the shakehole entrance. At least it worked up an appetite.

The entrance drops into a stream canyon which descends steeply. For a guide to this cave, see my description for our more successful trip later in the week. Unfortunately today our luck was out and water was crashing into the entrance. Further downstream where the first major inlet joins it was pouring in the inlet as well as from further inlets higher up creating a wall of water ahead. Terrifying! We turned around, wondering quite how successful the team in Cullaun Two (an active stream cave) would be getting on right now and returned to the hut to dry out.

Thankfully this weather only lasted for today and by the following morning all was settled and dry again. We managed a more successful trip to Faunarooska later in the week.

29th June 2016

Matt Ewles

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Sunday May 30th 2010

Faurnarooska Cave

Chuck, Gary, Thomas

4 photos by Gary...

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