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2nd October     St. Breckan’s Project: (F3a and lower Owentoberlea sinks).

Cloud 30%: Wind W, F2: Visibility 25Nm: Ground damp. Rain gauge, 5mm: River; 0.3m deep in arch. The Plan: install river level gauge. Thwarted by depth of flowing river to install gauge, again. Moved to the sink, (F3a); began to dig the top end of the choked rift, just beyond the three large boulders. Cleared nettles etc. Small quantity of clay/silt present; removed, mostly, angular stone, up to 0.250mm diameter, managed to expose a thin vertical joint, (50mm). wide; about a metre deep. Found an edge and cleared the area, which became a flat limestone surface. Believe the east side of this may be the same lump the datum is secured to. Cleared beyond the upper boulder exposing a narrow gap, again with washed stone and natural flood detritus. Finished with an exposed flat surface with the narrow, vertical gap. Investigated where the lower river flow was actually sinking. As the water emerges from the narrow channel, some eight, or so metres back from the datum, it divides. About half disappears into the  boulders, before the main sink, the other, divides once more, sinking in the south wall of the exposed bedrock, with plenty of gurgling.  From the bridge the dig scar is not obvious, unless looked for; hooray. Assessed the area of the flood channel to prepare for further surveying; plan to take levels from the sink datum. Checked flow of the Owentoberlea; best depth estimate, 0.3m. Encountered Raymond Casey, who offered permission to wander his land; potentially containing a nice souterrain, delighted: need, precisely check ownership . At Owentoberlea water level low enough to clearly see east and west sinks. Owentoberlea sink, Thoir ITM 516133 x 700435. Owentoberlea sink, Iarthar ITM 516123 x 700436.

Note: Gaelic  Thoir = East, Iarthar = West.

Pat Cronin

3rd October     Considine's Cave (South End).

13:00. Cloud 90%: Wind S, F4, gusting F6: Visibility <20Nm: Ground damp: Medium stream. The Plan: further deployment of camera down the rift. PMcG descended and soon had the filming completed. After which the floor below “The Slot” was probed, revealing the fallen debris, covering of the bedrock was but a few inches thick; PMcG’s probing exposed an obscured, vertical crevice, unlike “The Slot, immediately above, it is small of width, much less than “The Slot”. The small West Passage was dug out a little more, though small it warrants pushing to a conclusion. PMcG’s Attention returned to the base of “Paul’s Pot”, where, it appeared something had changed; inverting himself, PMcG managed to fill a kibble with cobbles; two kibbles sent to surface. At surface discussion reviewed the original idea to dig this confined area, should the main shaft, (-29m), fail to develop. Such will be the plan; the next session will focus on this area. Generator a little under ½ full: no fuel on site.
Hours 7 (3354), Southend (2304), Kibbles 2 (6732), Nets 0 (927), Total lifts 7664

Pat Cronin

  See Video 

Bottom of Considine's

4th October     St. Breckan’s Project, (multiple sites).

11:00. Cloud 100%, base 600ft: Light rain: Carnaun Rain gauge 27mm: Wind SW, F2/3: Visibility <20Nm: Ground damp: River high. The Plan: investigate overnight’s 27mm rain. Went to F3a sink first; the GAA field had flooded, but almost, completed gone by 11:10. Took photo of level in relation to a large fence post in the northeast field. Moved to Ballygastell; the extant stream volume significant. Delightedly followed the tumbling stream southwards: a superb opportunity to observe the flow from Killeany. One anecdotal sink, hidden within briars, was wholly obscured. Though the stream ran beneath the foliage, the same volume appeared to exit, from the hedgerow, some ten metres downstream. Experienced minor issues with cattle protecting their young. Approaching the point of interest, more than a little surprized at the stream/river volume sinking. Took photos. Moved to the north of the road, again on pal’s land; the area all but underwater. Took photos. To Killeany, took photos, where the Owentoberlea passes beneath the small bridge. Track to Killeany rising under two feet of flood water. Returned to the bridge to plan next stage of project. Image taken of river level at St. Brendan’s bridge did not happen; operator error, somewhere, but level remembered as base of calcite covered block; river audible from road above. Scampered into the Irish Arms, for a birthday pint.

Pat Cronin

4th October 22 1.JPG

 Stream disappearing into main sink

4th October 22 2.JPG

Cascade into main sink

5th October      St. Breckan’s Project; F3a, Ballygastell

10:00. Cloud 80%: Light showers: Carnaun Rain gauge 24mm: Wind W, F5/6: Visibility <30Nm: Ground wet: The Plan: inspect effect of overnight rainfall; 24mm. River level was unchanged at the F3a bridge, the river still lapping the base of the large post, observed yesterday. At Killeany bridge water level was up, a little, from yesterday. Walked to the principal sink, found stream/river flow much reduced. Took photos. Meandered back toward the Hilux, following the stream; heard gurgling, found significant amount of stream disappearing beneath a large block; part of the field wall. Further wandering found another obscured poultaloon, it too taking a large percentage of the stream/river. Puzzled over flow, particularly why last night’s rain has had little, or no effect on the river level at F3a; the heavy rain only ceasing around 04:30. Observed, elevated stream level at Killeany Bridge, a possible result of residual runoff, from rainfall the night of the 3rd October. Need study wind direction effect on the upper area of the catchment area; though last night was westerly, southwesterly. Eventually found GF, spoke at length of land drainage. Introduced to Thomas, son-in-law, with land in Kilfenora. Explained, asked by Emmet McNamara to investigate why the GAA pitch now floods on a seemingly regular basis, when it did not in the late 1980s/90s, when games were often played there.

Pat Cronin

5th October 22 3
5th October 22 2.JPG

Sink beneath large block.  Photo: Pat Cronin

5th October 22 1.JPG

Sink beneath the wall.  Photo: Pat Cronin

6th October     Considine’s Cave (South End), Sink F3a

17:00. Cloud 90%: Wind S, F4, gusting F6: Carnaun rain gauge 4mm: Visibility <10Nm: Ground wet: large stream. The Plan: Photography. JW agreed to conduct a photographic record of the place. With time in hand visited the sink, where the river level had reduced to the top of the small wall built across the bridge arch, in the stream bed, a difference of over two metres. The datum was some 0.2m under water. The overflow channel had freshly flattened foliage. Lengthy explanation of data accrued on the catchment area thus far. Generator a little under ½ full: no fuel on site.
Hours 1 (3355), Southend (2305), Kibbles 0 (6732), Nets 0 (927), Total lifts 7664

Pat Cronin

7th October     Halliday’s Hole - St. Brecken’s Project, (multiple sinks)

12:00. Cloud 75%: Wind SW, F6: Carnaun rain gauge 12mm: Visibility <20Nm: Ground wet: River, top of vertical wall of arch. The Plan: visit Halliday’s Hole, (MQ04), discovered by PCN 2020. Arrived Faunarooska Cross to a vista blasted by a rain storm, waited ten minutes, the weather front disappeared far to the SW, facing a long wait, changed tack. Headed for F3a. Found River level risen to the topmost joint of the vertical wall of the bridge.  Decided to call on Murt McInerney, as invited. Spent thirty minutes wandering along the road, much hand waving and pointing. A well, (-20m?), now sealed, was descended by northern cavers in the 1960s; witnessed by MMcI. They went no further than the base of the well.

Informed adjacent fields owned by Shane Considine, Kevin O’Brien, Martin Nyland. To Killeany rising Bridge; water level about 0.6m lower. To GF’s land north of the N67; the lake of the 4th October, gone. Within this rich pasture are two choked sinks. The owner is a cautious farmer, negotiating permission will need patience. To the west is another sink, need speak to adjacent householder.

Pat Cronin

7th October 22.JPG

Sink 3 (map to follow)

9th October     Sink F3a, Halliday’s Hole, (MQ04), MQ06

16:00. Cloud 80%: Wind NW, F6: Carnaun rain gauge 9mm: Visibility <20Nm: Ground soaking: The Plan: Informative. PMC’s flu driven temperature approaching normal. Sneaked out to assess recent rainfall effect at several dig sites. The river at F3a covered the survey datum by, about twelve inches, (0.3m).  Headed north, parked up at Faunarooska Cross, walked to Halliday’s, which was taking a very large stream. Headed off south noting how a lot of surface water amalgamated among the grass and reeds along the shale margin to sink in grykes, within two metres or so of the small cliff face, shallow channels at the cliff’s base suggest their possible emergence. Heading south from Halliday’s, followed the sound of falling water to a small depression. Deployed the curtain rod, exposed a common form of sink hereabouts; a small, 0.7m diameter cavity, formed on a north/south joint, two metres deep. Relocated MQ06, though audible stream flow was obscured by surface vegetation, noted a good volume of water sinking in this steep sided, four metre, diameter, conical depression. This site calls out to be dug; ever the optimist.

Pat Cronin

10th October     Halliday’s Hole, (MQ04).

14:00. Cloud 70%: Cool: Wind NW, F2: Carnaun rain gauge 11mm: Visibility >30Nm: Ground wet: The Plan: Dig. As CC departs for the UK, chose to examine the potential of Halliday’s Hole. Digging the rift in the bottom of “Paul’s Pot” will need reassembly of the previous hauling deviation; requiring winchman present. Parked at Faunarooska Cross, walked in via small cliff near MQ06. Deployed ladder down MQ04, secured to small bush, south side of the depression. Stream much reduced since yesterday. Minor amount of leaf, twig debris in the entrance rift stream crawl. Checked integrity of the chamber roof; large blocks and bedrock, stable and secure. The chamber appears located directly beneath the shallow depression adjacent the main depression. Examined the short climb down into the terminal rift,  consisting of two boulders, each two hundred kgs a piece. Though jammed they rest on a floor of broken shale, grey course clays with an iron content. Digging along the rift, with these two perched lumps above is risky. Their inevitable destabilizing by stream action is unacceptable. The narrow rift passage shows development, presently believed, toward the north; similar to Faunarooska and Poulballyelly.  The subtle sloping passage, descends around 5°. Stones thrown through the 100mm, stream gap, at the far end of the rift, fell some two metres, some landed with a minor echo, others a small splash. Estimated spoil volume to be removed, around two cubic metres. The confined awkward conditions requiring some effort.  Space to  stack spoil is very limited. Will obtain and fill sandbags with the unstable spoil; contained they remove concerns of stream flow eroding loose spoil, deposited above the digging area. Using a nail bar, successfully dropped the two boulders forming a stable  support downstream of the loose fill of the chamber floor. The furthest boulder requires its end removed to improve access to the dig. Just beyond this, a flake of limestone needs shattering and removing. This site can only be dug in dry conditions, requiring a 0.5m deep pit excavated then progressed along the rift, and repeated. Loose fill bagged, boulders encountered used to pave the streambed. The place well worth investing several sessions.   Returning to the Hilux, explained to PMcG the multiple discoveries researching the area.  Estimated length of Halliday's Hole at eighteen metres, maybe twenty, depth ten metres. Need to survey site.

Pat Cronin

14th October     St. Breckan’s Project, F3a

15:00. Cloud 70%: Cool: Wind S, F2: Carnaun rain gauge 2mm: Visibility >30Nm: Ground damp: The Plan: secure river level gauge to south wall of bridge arch. Arrived to find standing water under the bridge and fifteen metres downstream. Though a small volume of flow seen entering, no flow evident through the dry stone wall, the west end of the bridge arch, nor exiting the pool.  The slightly raised area, creating the downstream pool, appears formed by deposition of silt. Secured gauge to south side of bridge arch, visible from the northeast river bank. Measured the ruinous dry stone wall’s irregular apex, averaging the multiple heights, measured from the tunnel floor, as 0.7m. However, will base initial flow calculations from the unimpeded height of 0.75m, above dry stone wall summit; the black head of a fixing denotes this level of 0.75m. Further work may quantify actual flow through the dry stone wall, using another level gauge downstream. Though the flow will vary through the gap in the wall as the depth of the river increases, this is too great a variable, will likely be satisfied measuring such flow at say one metre depth.

Visited sink, F3a, noting minor puddles en-route. Poked the three sinks against the south and west faces of the depression’s bedrock. Settled on digging the sink, on the right of the survey datum; west face, north end. Removed a large boulder, exposing layers of small, washed, fractured stones, several nicely water worn. Further scrabbling revealed a small bedding entering the left, from beneath the “bedrock” where survey datum is secured. More ferreting exposed a large flat boulder, 0.7m x 0.4m x 015m,(sixty kilo?). Scampered back to the Hilux for the nail bar, managed to move the boulder a little; needs more excavation around it. Not kitted out to dig, so abandoned grubbing about. Returned with a small saw, trimmed branches at normal human eye height, along both routes to bridge and sink, reducing issues for taller chums.

Pat Cronin

15th October     St. Breckan’s Project

11:00. Cloud 100%: Wind SW, F6: Thunder storms: Carnaun rain gauge 28mm: Visibility <5Nm: Ground wet: The Plan: check river gauge following 28mm of rainfall, with a southwesterly wind. On the north side, the river level was up against the large fence post, a level previously noted, after similar rainfall. Took an unimpeded walk through the forestry to view the river gauge; estimated top of gauge to be some 0.6m under flood level; took photo. Need additional gauge on the south side, west side of the arch, to measure these larger flood events, calibrated to existing gauge. With this flood level, all but filling the bridge tunnel, an additional gauge would be visible downstream, flood level in the forestry allowing. The closest forestry drainage ditch to the river had a current flowing, discharging into the flow downstream of the crown of the overflow channel.

NB. 16mm of rainfall recorded between 10:00 and 14:3o; localized flooding.

Pat Cronin

16th October     Souterrain CL004-093002

11:00. Cloud 100%: Wind E, F4, gusting F6: Rain: Carnaun rain gauge 19mm: Visibility <10Nm: Ground wet: The Plan: Check souterrain data entered on the national database, after recent visit by state employed archaeologists recorded this souterrain as accessible. national database. “Within the N interior of a cashel (CL004-093001-). A souterrain with a rubble filled entrance opening at SSE leading to a NNW-SSE passage (L 2m; Wth 1.1-1.2m at SSE; H 1m) which narrows (Wth 0.9m) towards a chamber and is roofed with three lintels. The irregular-shaped and poorly constructed chamber (L 1.6m WSW-ENE; Wth 1.4-2m; H 1m) is wider towards the top where it is roofed with six lintels, some of which have differing orientations. A continuation of the chamber to the ENE has been blocked by a boulder which has collapsed from the roof. The floor of the chamber is filled with stone, especially in the SW”.

Compiled by Mary Tunney & Lynda McCormack 13th June 2022.

Entered ringfort, via trimmed route, previously accessed with Nigel Burns, 23rd December 2019; the route and interior of the ringfort identical to the previous trip; dense foliage obscures much of its perimeter, the clear-ish, centre area, losing its battle with encroaching Hazel and briar. Bewildered, no evidence of cutting, clearance or trimming of Hazel, Hawthorn, etc. No part of the submitted description is recognizable. Doubled checked ITM, accessing website, via mobile. ITM confirmed as the precise location as souterrain referred in update: confused. Will contact record authors and landowner to clarify.

Pat Cronin

16th October 22.JPG



17th October     Goat Hole, (A1a, UBSS ref)


ITM 514570 x 705170.

13:00. Cloud 90%: Wind W, F6 gusting F8: Rain: Carnaun rain gauge 19mm: Visibility <10Nm: Ground wet: The Plan: investigate site potential, (Dig).

Goat Hole is recorded as “bulldozed flat”, since the 1970s. In the 2000s, the comment, “slumped”, was added to its entry. Identified site during research, (2nd January 2021), its corrected ITM, from the Cave Entrance Project Database, was passed on to GM, (UBSS) for their records.

Parked up at the 800ft elevation junction to Caherbullog farm. En-route to Goat Hole explained to PMcG the area’s potential; Poulballyelly entrance noted as open.

Goat Hole is a large, deep, teardrop shaped depression, conservatively estimated as twenty metres long and ten metres broad, (its widest). The “bowl” of the depression, has formed at its northern end. No evidence of recent cattle grazing the shallow valley leading to the site; need find the owner of this parcel of land. Entered the steep sided depression from the south side, carefully avoiding damaging the dense hazel bush, perimeter cattle barrier. Beneath the canopy, exists a beautiful moss covered environment. The original entrance clearly visible; from a small hole in the floor of the depression, near the entrance issues the sound of a large stream. Enlarging the opening, noted at a depth of 0.4m, a ½” light gauge plastic water  pipe, buried by migrating silts. The area below, a mass of clean washed stones, the wall to the south, possible solid. Inside the entrance, formed by large boulders, a silt covered floor leads, after three metres, to a transverse rift. This rift had three lumps of limestone each around 65kgs. Using belts and brute strength, all three lifted clear. Over two hours the rift was cleared out to a depth of a metre; conditions very awkward. As depth increased the rift widened to 0.6m, and appears continue. Progress along the rift was around a metre. Approximately halfway to a small part of the main stream outside, flowing right to left. Above this “streamway”, between the large boulders are two large cavities, washed out by flooding. At the base of the solid rock, north side, a bedding is visible, probing with a nail bar proved it to be over 0.5m long: length of nail bar. Further scrabbling removed more large cobbles, all angular. Silt deposition becoming akin brown porridge. Spoil deposited in the cavity next to the entrance. The site needs lowering, possibly to solid floor, when it will be lower than the stream seen two metres beyond. There is the encouraging sound of stream falling, with a small echo………Left nail bar and shovel inside. Need length of rope, bailer, 2 x small kibbles, long crow bar and two pulleys.

Pat Cronin

23rd October     St. Brecken’s Project, Cullaun II

Oliver Brain, (OB), PC
10:30. Cloud 90%: Wind SSE, F2: Multiple columns of unstable cloud: Carnaun rain gauge 29mm: Visibility <20Nm: Ground very wet: The Plan: View river status after rainfall. Collected OB from the Rainbow hostel; to the GAA pitch via St. Brendan’s Bridge . River almost flowing over the invert into the overflow channel; a good flow into the elevated sink, (F3b). Surprized the place not inundated. Should a digger be deployed to remove the accumulated silt, blocking the overflow channel, it is a minor ask to clear the area of the sink F3b. Flood evidence visible up the banks beneath St. Brendan’s Bridge, and in the overflow channel. Of the 29mm of rain recorded over the previous twenty four hours no elevated flood issuing from Guthrie’s Rising; is this due to wind direction?  No flow beneath Toomaghera road bridge, nor flooding of GF’s land to the north of the road.

13:00. Cullaun II. Good sized stream. Sent OB ahead, to better enjoy the trip; a pleasant amble down the streamway. The unsettled weather of some concern, hence turning at Pool Chamber. OB enjoyed the trip though enduring borrowed kit, without complaint. OB nice bloke,  enquired of possibly joining PCN on his return to Nottingham.

Pat Cronin

24th October     Considine’s Cave (South End)

13:00. Cloud 90%: Wind W, F2: Carnaun rain gauge 4mm: Visibility <25Nm: Ground very wet: large stream. The Plan: Dig. Focused on digging the small floor area in the back of “Paul’s Pot”, as this was not expected to reveal much, to then clear the fill from “The Gulley”.  CC winching: PMcG & OB digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Excavating “Paul’s Pot” the team revealed a rift descending, appearing to develop north-ish, and narrow; ten kibbles of spoil were removed before pausing digging here for the moment. The area beneath difficult to assess from the approach position. Clearing the bottom of “The Gulley”, adjacent the lowest point previously reached, uncovered another "pot", which appears mimic the deeper one to the south; again this needs clearing out to accurately assess. Discussions, on progress, suggested capping. OB, (Young Skywalker) did well. Generator a little under ¼ full: no fuel on site.
Hour 12 (3367), Southend (2317), Kibbles 22 (6754), Nets 0 (927), Total lifts 7686

Pat Cronin

30th October     St. Breckan’s Project

12:15. Cloud 60%: Wind SW, F4/6: Carnaun rain gauge 6mm: Visibility <25Nm: Ground wet. Couple of hours free of bank holiday coast guard duties. Went to observe river level and attempt estimate the volume sinking at F3a.  River at 0.95m, (12:30), minor surface turbulence visible as river flowed over the submerged drystone wall. Used small lengths of branches, as floats, to measure flow through the bridge arch. Checked for any back up at sink, F3a; river volume disappearing effortlessly, particularly in the areas previous probed. Returned to the bridge to repeat flow timed measurements, a further five cycles; total ten. Conservative calculations, using the bridge arch dimensions, suggest that at midday today, F3a sink consumed 0.9 cumecs. The previously witnessed flood, that equaled the entry level of the overflow channel, was a conservative, extra height of 0.6m. Applying todays measurements the previous flood witnessed sinking in F3a, may have been as much as 4 cumecs; some two thirds that initially estimated. Need review flow and calculations as further gauges are installed.

Pat Cronin

1st November     St. Breckan’s Project, (F3a).

PC, later LS.
10:45. Cloud 99%: Wind SW, F4/5: Carnaun rain gauge 3mm,(October total, 295mm,{11.61 inches}) Visibility <20Nm: Ground very wet. The Plan: continue dig. En-route called to Ray Murphy, suspecting LS was crashing there following the SUICRO conference. Fed tea and cake, by RM’s chums. Arrived on site to find river level upstream of bridge level with summit of drystone wall; F3a sink under a metre and a half of  water; river sinking, effortlessly, (11:10). The inhibited flow passing through the dry stone wall created a difference between up and downstream of some six inches: (videoed). Having appeared successful at this video, attempted another; an overview of the site. Decided remain to observe possible fall in river level; only experienced showers and hailstorm. No reduction noted in river level during the following hour. LS arrived, explained the project, and showed him the sites; explained findings so far.

Pat Cronin

2nd November     Goat Hole

10:00. Cloud 100%, base 700ft: Wind S/SW, F9/10: Carnaun Rain Gauge 21mm: Heavy showers: Ground awash. The Plan: dig. En-route passed by the GAA pitch; river level surprisingly low, following the 21mm rainfall over the last twenty-four hours. Met CC at  Faunarooska Cross. Took the Hilux, parked at the old cabin, near Poulballyelly. Once in the depression, enjoyed shelter from the ferocious gale. The stream volume, visible through the hole in the depression, twice that seen the 17th Oct. Dropped into the metre deep rift, began remove the submerged, compacted clay surrounding the three, large visible boulders. As the clays were removed the stream flowed around the digger; proving this route is the principle streamway. Digging beneath the water, worked toward the boulders by removing the floor, hoping to drop said boulders into the prepared hollow.  Surprized, but delighted to find the floor increasing to over 400mm, (16 inches), below water level. Offering potential of a decent sized bedding; the fear of a solid floor forgotten. Slow work wriggling the jammed boulders free; spoil removed by CC, packing it neatly into the cavity near the entrance. Managed remove the smaller, (20kgs), of the three remaining boulders then a selection of submerged cobbles, neatly jamming the others; struggled to lift out the middle sized boulder; 40Kgs. The visible, reachable edge of a possible bedding was probed with the nail bar; estimating it, at least, 450mm, (18 inches), deep. Continued remove the submerged clays. Thrilled when able to finally loosen and drag the largest boulder, (60Kgs), forward about a foot, (300mm); where it can be gadded, capped or snapped. Encouraged by the depth of the potential bedding, dug down the right, (south?) wall, delighted to find this too, widened. Fair knackered; before leaving inserted self along rift, unfortunately submerging right eye. Delighted to be looking down, along five/six metres of active streamway, heading, (northwards?), at right-angles to the entrance rift, with a 100mm air space, (4 inch). The bedding has a subtle, shallow arched roof; estimate the width of the arch at water level, at 0.8m. Depth of stream 100mm. Though obscured, believe the bedding to be at least a metre and a half wide, (five feet). The stream visible beyond the, (east?), end of the entrance rift curves, over two metres, rejoining the main flow some two metres along the stream bedding. The stream floor is gravel; noted the loud rumble seemed to come from behind; most likely the entrance stream, cascading through the boulders. A strong draught was present; understandable from the weather conditions and volume of stream flowing along…….. “Boycott’s Bedding”.  Returned home via GAA pitch river level up, but not reached the base of the large fence post.

Pat Cronin

2nd November 22.JPG

Plan sketch of Goat Hole

12th Nov 22.JPG

Side elevation sketch of Goat Hole

4th November     St. Breckan’s Project

12:00. Cloud 90%: Wind W, F3/4: Carnaun rain gauge 3mm: Showers: Visibility <30Nm: Ground wet. River level 0.75m. Arrived in unsettled weather, hoping start surveying the profile from the river bed invert up slope into the elevated overflow channel. Through clear water noted survey datum submerged, estimated at 0.5m; postponed that bit of the survey. Obvious evidence of recent flooding, noted at the small opening, the developing sink, situated between main sink, F3a, and F3b, it had taken a lot of flow. This small opening is almost equal in altitude to F3b; both some two metres above the main sink; almost level with the beginning of the overflow channel. Seriously considering digging it as an alternative entry; it may be a more accessible dig, during suspected, regular winter flooding. Installed an intermediate survey datum, (ID), the south end of the overflow channel, ITM 515133 x 698714. Ran a tape twenty metres downstream along the overflow channel, to where deep cut drainage channels begin to form.  Set up the Leica unit six metres downstream from the ID. Established heights along the first twenty metres of accessible overflow channel; there is a fall, to the north, of twelve hundred millimetres, (1.2m). At twenty one metres, more deeper, narrow channels develop and bifurcate. Predicted weather for the next week, strong winds, heavy showers.

Pat Cronin

12th November     Pluais Gabhar, aka Goat Hole

10:00. Cloud 100%, base 1000ft: Wind SE, F4/6: Carnaun rain gauge 15mm: Visibility <20Nm: Ground sodden: Many Turloughs appearing. The Plan: Dig. The remaining, obstructing boulder was drilled and swiftly dealt with; cleaved two two, each a struggle to lift up, out the confined rift. Popeye’s drill bit appears blunted; previously unnoticed: the obvious culprit, the hard geology found in Considine’s. Stream level, similar to previous visit, (2nd Nov); a good amount of flow passing through the digging area; left undisturbed cloudy water cleared quickly. Rotated shifts to reduce fatigue and chilling; water depth averaging 0.3m: wet, cold work. CC had recovered two Mk 4 kibbles from Considine’s, useful lifting the finer gravel. Digging followed the limestone “Rib” down below water level, several large boulders removed. What feels like another, may be the edge of a piece of protruding bedding. The left side of “Boycotts Bedding” was found to commence closer the point of entry to the rift, close the end of the “Rib”. Most boulders were used to pave the approach to the entrance; the surface consisting soft, fine clays and silt. Depth of, excavated rift, from below water level, is 1.5 metres, a gained depth of one metre. Further digging will need drag gravels, etc. back to this  “comfortable” digging position, from where kibbles can be removed to outside.

Pat Cronin


13th November     Cullaun 5d, St. Breckan’s Project

13:30. Cloud 100%: Wind SW, F3/5: Carnaun rain gauge 1mm: Visibility <25Nm: Ground sodden. The Plan: locate entrance to C5d. Previous attempt, maybe a decade back, with  Tony Boycott ended in failure; recent deforestation had left a bewildering, destroyed landscape. Unable to ask permission to park at the nearby farm, parked at the forestry access gate, ITM519068 x 701465. Aerial imagery showed a track extending beyond the end of the forestry road, ITM 518754 x 700667, from which to work southeast to locate C5d; ITM. 518874 x 700524, (UBSS QGIS ref). Found the end of the forestry road enclosed with dense briar and trees; the track non-existent: abandoned plan. Visited F3a; the water level at 0.63m, the sink clearly exposed, suitable for photographs, took several.

Pat Cronin

General view of bridge and water level



14th November          Considine’s Cave (South End), St. Breckan’s Project, F3a.

13:00. Cloud 60%: Wind SW, F5/7: Carnaun rain gauge 1mm: Visibility <30Nm: Ground very wet: large stream. The Plan: examine further potential. PMcG and PC descended to closely examine the three areas; “Paul’s Pot”, South Rift and the “Scoop”. The south rift shows limited potential other that pursuing the small, western passage. The base of the “Scoop” was cleared of some debris, voice connection to “Paul’s Pot” clear, and close. The only possible site worth pushing is the bottom of “Paul’s Pot”; its confines will be improved by attempting remove the corner of the rift, at its point of turning north. The merit is that the rift below is slowly widening. Discussion included allowing winter flooding to wash through and perhaps offer a clue to the most likely route. Meanwhile will press on with “Paul’s Pot”.  CC Fuel. Generator a little under ¾ full: no fuel on site.

Headed over to the sink of F3a. River level 0.35m, 0.3m lower than yesterday; water sinking at the eastern sinks. Pulled out several boulders and many cobbles from the “upper sink area”, among the bedrock (?), above the main sink. Whilst CC and PC worked away, PMcG poked at the eastern sinks. The rock, adjacent the sink is without doubt long since dumped there. Suggesting who once owned the land, when the bridge was built, likely requested the construction spoil used to “Fill the open poultaloon”. There is no other explanation for such an occurrence of irregular, angular rocks, like these in such a natural stream course.


Hour 6 (3373), Southend (2323), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (927), Total lifts 7686
Pat Cronin

15th November     St. Breckan’s Project; F3a, F3b

10:00. Cloud 40%; columns of unstable airmass: Wind SW, F4/5: Carnaun rain gauge 4mm: Visibility <30Nm: Ground wet: River level 0.75m, (10:30), +0.4m on yesterday. The Plan, extend survey of overflow channel down into the river invert. Set up the survey tripod adjacent opening of F3b. The Leica, green laser well suited for use in bright sunlight, when utilizing the receiver. Overnight, elevated river level prevented surveying its invert; settled for recording to the base of the steep drop off from the overflow channel, to water edge, (temporary datum left). Related all levels back to main sink datum, (106.56m OD; corrected +0.72m, 7th Sept 2022),  also tying in the overflow channel datum. Took opportunity to record altitudes of the recently forming sink, channel entry, and depth of sink, F3b. Poked about the main sink, the river level covering the sink datum twenty millimetres. Pushing head into various  gaps; noted greatest volume of noise emanating from below the southwest corner; below, and to the south of the suspended fence post; an area presently obscured by flood debris.

Pat Cronin


16th November     St. Breckan’s Project; F3a.

15:40. Cloud 70%:Wind SE, F4/5: Cold: Carnaun rain gauge 0mm: Visibility <30Nm: Ground wet: River level 0.1.5m, (15:55), -0.6m from yesterday, (0.75m). The Plan: clear the southwest area. Wrestled with branches and flood deposited vegetation; exposing a narrow gap. Spent an hour clearing the clay, rocks and minor amount of flood borne detritus; bottles, bags etc. Like the other areas probed this too takes water, the adjacent gap does seem to suggest this may be the place to dig; above minor flooding levels. The face above has slumped between these two gaps, in recent times. As vegetation has not colonized this bare area, likely its occurred this year.

Pat Cronin

26th November     Mouldridge Mine

D Walker, S Garrad, Rebecca Garrard, A Walchester, D Gough & Felix ?
We met at Holly Bush Farm at Pikehall at 11:30 on a dull and overcast day; it was good to see some old friends I had not seen in a while and some new ones. We all got changed and a common theme with Pegasus members was that everyone’s caving suits had shrunk since last time we had used them.  After a short walk down the valley we came to the gated entrance.
We entered the cave, which was mainly walking, through to the Main Chamber to the head of a pitch that Sam and Andy were going to descend, however Andy forgot to bring the hangers and finding no suitable natural belay point that part of the trip had to be abandoned till a future trip. We then climbed the Banana slide, a slippery, muddy slope opposite the pitch. Andy tried the tight squeeze on the climb up but failed to make it, then realised it was not the only way up. However everyone made it on the way down with Rebecca and Felix trying the climb up through the squeeze and both were successful.
On the way out we explored various side passages including a short bypass from the Main Route that led back to the Main Chamber and we exited the cave around 2:00pm then we visited a nearby pub for a pint.
Nice enjoyable trip and looking forward to the next one in January in Calver.

Dave Walker

26th Nov 22 2.JPG

Felix, Geordie Dave & Rebecca Garrad

Photo: Dave Walker

26th Nov 22 1.JPG

Dave Gough & Andy Walchester

Photo: Dave Walker

26th Nov 22 3.JPG

Sam Garrad. Photo: Andrew Walchester

28th November     Considine’s Cave (South End), St. Breckan’s Project, F3, F3a, F3b.

CC, Lee Hollis (LH aka Floyd), Mary Jenson (MJ),  PC,
13:00. Cloud 5%: Wind WNW, F4: Carnaun rain gauge 9mm: Visibility <30Nm: Ground wet: large stream. The Plan: CC offered LH a guided tour; PC fairly useless owing to damaging the right hand yesterday. CC lifelining; LH descended to view the works; suitably impressed by the six years of effort.

Hours 2 (3373), Southend (2323), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691

Had previously arranged a time to meet EM: 14:30, for introduction to the landowner adjacent GF’s land in Ballyhenna. Rang EM 14:10, meet confirmed; hooray.  

Sped off to F3a with the team. River level 1.7m, (14:15); water flow over the overflow channel summit was 100mm below the overflow channel datum, installed to create the channel profile; a delightful bonus, saving a couple of hours surveying betwixt water depth gauge and the datum. Noted lazy eddies above the southwestern corner of the sink; recently poked at: presently at a depth of some two metres, lowest part of the sink being around three metres, (needs checking). F3b taking a good sized stream with no sign of backing up.

Left the others, ran off to meet EM. Unfortunately, owner not at home; wandered GF’s land, looking over the wall into yet another stream channel: EM observed dimensions of one channel had increased, (width and depth), since childhood. His further detailed comments suggest flow has increased to the sink at the end of this channel. Perhaps due to the adjacent sink becoming partially choked? Or an overall increase in flow, or maybe this sink is a “modern” opening which has formed fifty metres downstream of the sink passage located to the NNE? This area is fifteen hundred metres from the resurgence, F3. EM to contact MH to arrange a meet.

Pat Cronin


29th November     Souterrain CL004-001004, Court Tomb and Ringforts

Cloud 85%: Wind SE, F4/6: Carnaun rain gauge 0mm: Visibility <30Nm: Ground wet: The Plan: Offered show archaeological site in Doolin, prior to their departure tomorrow. In a bitter cold wind wandered the coastal area beyond Killilagh Church. The winter vegetation levels allowing clearer view of the sites. LH scampered underground to view the thousand year old construction. Chilled, adjourned to the Irish Arms; for an exchange of projects. Closest aerphort to LH is Castleguard, served by both Calgary and Vancouver: a delightful catchup. LH not here since 2003; last seen at Figg’s funeral 2006.

Pat Cronin

1st December     Sink, Ballyhenna Td.

EM rang; he’d manage visit MH, prior to his imminent two week absence, explaining PC’s passion to examine the sink, located behind her house, in conjunction with investigating the flooding of the GAA pitch. Permission provisionally granted. Adding, if a red car is parked there, to come over and chat: delighted: much obliged to EM.
Pat Cronin


3rd December     Sink, Ballyhenna Td, and F3a; St. Breckan’s Project.

Maire Howley, Leona Howley, PC
Cloud 100%: Wind E, F2: Ground damp: Carnane rain gauge 1mm: No stream present. Called to establish contact; met Leona and Maire, delightful, helpful, knowledgeable. A huge amount of data on the immediate area freely given. Surprized at the number of poultaloons which have appeared in adjacent fields, each requiring backfilling. Excessive floods have, on occasion reached up to the back yard, flooding the garage. Enjoyed an intensive “get to know you“- “who do you know” interview; very convivial, a really nice family. Taken on a tour of the large sink and adjacent, elevated drinking well location; the only drinking water supply in the area until the 1970s. Curious to have a poultaloon next to a well, in such an elevated spot. Leona showed three sinks in the pear shaped depression. MH will call to notify of the next flood; so as to listen to the sounds described; as water  levels recede, which happens in but a few hours, also see if one sink is where most of the river disappears. Maximum depth at this sink is some six/seven metres; needs checking. Permissions given to roam the land and poke about.

Pat Cronin

5th December     F3a, St. Breckan’s Project.

Cloud 60%: Wind NNE, F4; cold: Visibility >30Nm: Carnane Gauge 0mm: Ground damp: River Gauge, 0m. The Plan: commence digging. The “bouldery” area in front the limestone “face” does not appear natural; this substantial deposit of angular rocks appears dumped. Their shape and form does not exhibit any evidence of water flow, unlike others exposed later, closer to the sink. The water/river channel has steep sides of soil, bound by tough, established vegetation, from resurgence to F3; over two hundred metres of channel. Murt McInerney, (MM), suggested this “rubble” may have come from the construction of the bridge, c. 1840, estimated as many bridges were built around then. There are two distinct deposits of rubble, at the sink and some fifteen metres upstream, just before the beginning of the flood channel. Started to clear boulders from the stream bed, four metres back from the “face”, to accommodate a stable slope, as the dig possibly deepens. Boulders up to 70 kilos were moved; deposited to create a “weir” to collect any flood debris. Steady progress in cold conditions exposed bedrock at the sink, CC followed this around to the south side of the sink area, clearing out any choked orifices, some plastic bags removed. Further struggling cleared a decent area in front the face, and more bedrock? This bedrock is estimated at 0.9m below the present survey datum. Head scratching: work concluded after a poke in the bedding on the south side of the sink. Curious. Some three tonne of stone moved during two hours. Met MM, en-route to the motor, spoke of accessing the well, some four hundred metres north; ideally lower a camera, and perhaps climb it: will speak with the  owner.

Pat Cronin

7th December     F3a, St. Breckan’s Project.


Cloud 30%: Wind N, F2; cold: Visibility >30Nm: Carnane Gauge 0mm: Ground damp: River Gauge, 0m. The Plan: probe further. The number of dig sites within this small area is ridiculous. CC continued to clear into the low bedding, passing along the south side of the sink. PC aligned the joint behind the rock ‘face’ exposed by CC, with one of several narrow gulleys in the upper river bank. Began clearing small boulders and clays; dumped spoil into a previously dug pocket. After a metre progress, encountered ‘solid’ water worn rock on the east side, holes among the clay fill ahead, evidence of water flow. Further poking about, and alignment of other rock faces optimistically suggests this debris filled rift is about eighteen inches wide. Above this area the bank slope approaches vertical; shoring may become necessary. MM arrived regaling the team with data and theories, offering guide the team to other sites. 2 Hours

Pat Cronin


11th December     S3 and Scailp na Struthar, (S4), Ballyryan Td.

LW 12:40: Cloudless: Wind N, F2: Temp, 0°C. Ground frozen. The Plan: inspect status of dig S4.
En-route visited Poulsallagh, the meandering outer passage remains intact, the intermediate shaft open, likewise the main shaft. Arrived S3, 12:45, five minutes after LW. Sea state slight. No waves breaking. Noted the tiny outflow; no rain for nine days. After brief consideration stripped off and slid into the bedding; didn’t hang about. At the rear of the bedding felt underwater for an opening. Nothing enterable. Could not reach far end of bedding, as airspace only three inches, and the penetrating cold. Swiftly dressed; headed for S4. Previously dug site to -3m, as a narrow shaft, between boulders, below which, the top of a bedding was clearly visible, as was deposits of silt. Potentially this site could access passage, with access like Otter Hole.  Primary issue, westerly storms blast cobbles across four hundred metres of karst to refill the rift opening. Photos: PC.

Pat Cronin

1. Resurgence S3, view north RS.jpg

Resurgence S3, view north

2. Resurgence S3, view northeast RS.jpg

Resurgence S3, view northeast

3. Resurgence S3, view east RS.jpg

Resurgence S3, view east

4. Resurgence S3, outflow ,12 45, 11Dec22 RS.jpg

Resurgence S3, outflow

27th December     Pluais Gabhar, aka Goat Hole


Cloud 100%, base 700ft: Wind NW, F4/6: Visibility <10Nm: Ground sodden. The Plan: observe state of the stream inside the dig. Much of the approach up through the gulleys, awash. Drenched long before reaching the cave.  Stream visible through the hole in the depression appeared larger than previously noted. No sign of flow across the mud surface inside the entrance. This hole likely burst through the thin soil cover, from a significant flood event, no other reason for its appearance. In the dug rift, the top edge of the stream bedding was just above stream water level, already soaked slide along to better hear the rumble, airspace along the bedding barely an inch; the rumble, again, seemingly more from upstream, beneath the cave entrance area. Could not determine the source of the draught in the confined area. So, flow is significantly more than previous. Squelched back to the Hilux.

Pat Cronin

29th December     F3a, St. Breckan’s Project.


Cloud 100%: Wind NNW, F4: Visibility <20Nm: Ground sodden. The plan, nip over to check the river level. Spoke with MM who had seen the recent flood; water level today pouring over into the overflow channel. No sign of surface current, following previously digging  at the rift.

Pat Cronin

30th December     Cullaun II

Cloud 90%: Wind W, F6/8: Hail shower: Carnane rain gauge 38mm: Visibility <20Nm: Ground sodden. En-route visited F3a; St Breckan’s Project. F3a river level two feet below the crown of the bridge arch. Adjacent woodland severely flooded; GAA pitch flooded from incoming stream passing across the road, (depth 0.3m), fed from a stream issuing through the holes constructed in the dry stone wall; as accurately described by Murt McInerney. At Ballygastell, near Maire Howley’s place, the flood significant. At Owentoberlea Bridge, it’s arch  submerged; no surface evidence of water sinking into Owentoberlea Sink.  Photos: Paul McGrath.


30 dec 22 1.JPG
30 dec 22 2.JPG

GAA pitch

View north from GAA pitch

30 dec 22 6.JPG

View northeast showing volume of flood in field. (referenced on flood map below)

30 dec 22 7.JPG

View northeast from road, Flood passing across boreen into Guthries rising field. (referenced on flood map below)

30 dec 22 3.JPG

View east showing flow from Guthries Rising

30 dec 22 4.JPG

View west to F3a sink, Forest innundated

Plan showing extent of flood

At Cullaun II, found a large stream  entering; inside stream depth covered a welly’s toe cap. The dull roar from the Cascades, audible long way up the passage; an impressive sight, wide and powerful. Stream current strong, its volume and strength further augmented by many small inlets, but particularly the large stream issuing from Year Passage. The duck beneath the boulders very wet; climbed over the ruckle. Pleasant wander down to the climb just before the pitch; closer approach deemed unwise. The narrow, smooth chute leading to the top of the pitch carried the full volume of stream. Stream depth throughout averaged just above PC’s knee, with regular soakings of the Family Jewels. Discussing exit routes, PMcG, wanted improve fitness, opting exit the streamway, rather than the stream free upper series. The choice provided an excellent demonstration of true leg strength; the entire streamway, to the cascades requiring real effort; particularly in the narrow rifts, most cannot be traversed with ease.  In places legs unable to press against the flow; somewhat weary, chose to pass the duck squeeze, rather than chance tired, wobbly legs on the elevated traverse. Found a minor amount of air space beneath the "Bloody Guts". Swift change and straight into the Irish Arms.

Pat Cronin

31st December        Halliday’s Hole - Pluais Gabhar

Last trip of the Year. Cloud 100%: Wind SE, F3/4: Visibility <20Nm: Ground sodden. The Plan: observe streams. Am temped believe the substantial stream sinking into Halliday’s Hole, (275m OD), and the Pluais Gabhar stream, (≈260m) are one and the same. If so, to undertake digging the inviting, but wet, bedding depends upon if the stream flows into Poulballyelly; tracing required. The area has potential, not least the bottom of Pollapooka.


1)      Does Halliday’s stream flow direct to Pollballyelly, 150 metres to the Northwest?

2)     Does Halliday’s stream flow the 100 metres, first to Pluais Gabhar, then a further 70 metres to Poulballyelly?

3)     Are Pluais Gabhar and Hallidays Hole streams completely separate water courses?

4)     Is Pollballyelly fed by an entirely separate stream course?

5)      Does the mislaid sink A1e play a part? Estimated as being along the 014 degree line from Halliday’s passing through Pluais Gabhar?

6)     Does Pollapooka play a part further downstream, yet draining from the northeast?

To name but a few………….

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost


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