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Poulacapple Pot

Poulacapple Pot, Clare Ireland

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M 18790 x 04064 

518757 x 704086

274 metres

26 metres

30 metres


The pot was originally investigated and dug by members of the U.B.S.S whose team focused on the top of a narrow fissure to the north,  below the main stream inlet, without conclusion, having had the huge boulders that blocked the depression removed by a friend and his J.C.B digger.

A previous dye trace  implied the stream resurged in Ballyvaughan a small coastal village some six miles to the nor-nor-east.

On April 9th 1983 during a solo walk near the Cullauns P.C. stumbled upon the Poulacapple depressions logging them for future attention.


In May/June 2005 P.C. reviewed the site once again whilst supporting the U.B.S.S. by transporting their small generator up to the dig site for them. He informed them, (TB & JW) that it was his intention to continue the dig once they had departed their annual trip, as he was established in Doolin. They both welcomed the suggestion and agreed to this. PC promised to appraise the pair of any progress. PC however argued that the way on was down beneath the main boulder pile and not along the unpromising immature development they were pursuing.


In October 2005 CMcG, CC and PC focused their excavation in the base of the hollow, probing the base with a bar that was pushed four feet into soft soils. The top edge and associated unstable entrance slope were shored, temporarily, with timber to also form a  broad, level, hauling platform. Vertical progress was  swift and soon solid walls became apparent. A jammed flagstone was found and removed on the anniversary of Mozart's 250th birthday, (Mozart's Dustbin Lid) it had fortunately acted as a protective cover effectively sealing off the open rift below. A pitch now lay accessible and the honour to descend was given to CMcG, (S.U.I.). The narrow section gave way to a slightly wider rift, aligned roughly north-south. The southern end of the exposed rift was consolidated with concrete blocks inserted across the narrow rift secured with oak wedges. The base of the pitch, some eight metres below the hauling platform, is a muddy basin where the rift widens slightly. To the north the rift continues to a very tight squeeze and this was capped and lead immediately to another tight pot. This area is directly below the original U.B.S.S. dig. At the base of the second pitch a small hole had formed through what appeared to be a thin  calcite layer horizon between the limestone beds. CMcG managed to dig through this from the only position available, a confined standing position. He did this by extending his right arm to repeatedly raise and lower a long handled spade to punch through into the visible void below. Once enlarged CC and CMcG wriggled through into a small chamber below, to the top of a third pitch and subsequently descended. The passage became smaller terminating in a flooded section of rift which is a possible though unlikely sump.


On December 24th 2015 an assessment was made by NB, TB and PC which proved very heartening. The timber work was in a surprisingly good condition though the hauling platform pallet will need to be replaced. During the visit the volume of water from the multiple streams cascading into the pot was enormous and therefore the four inch diameter pipework was disconnected at the lower elbow joint to allow the stream to cascade to the base of the pot. Perhaps it will soften, and wash, the mud deposits away during the present, seemingly unending, winter rains.

Pat Cronin personal log 2005
Cave of County Clare 1981, Self, p139
Caves of Clare 2003 Mullan, p147

Poulacapple Pot Survey.JPG
Pegasus Plumbing System

Within days of commencing the dig it became all too apparent that the site received significant levels of water. When these flood events abated the streams flow rate remained sufficient to inhibit progress. Two streams consistently discharged into the pot with a third appearing during flood conditions, not counting the surface run off that issues from the surround beddings. To overcome the principle difficulty two four inch diameter sewage pipes were installed, both secured in place by casting their ends in cement at the streams points of entry, (see photos). The two pipes combined at the level of the lower, principle, outfall, to continue vertically down until level with the old U.B.S.S. rift where a six metre length was slid along the narrow northern crevice to discharge into the unknown. When the lower section of the northern rift was being pushed, the horizontal pipe was disconnected at the elbow joint, suspended in the main shaft to allow the water to fall away down the shaft and thus allowing the diggers to remain reasonably dry. The system continues to function admirably.

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