Author Topic: County Clare  (Read 591 times)

Offline caving_fox

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County Clare
« on: September 19, 2019, 09:37:23 am »
I've been a few times, but the last trip was more than 5 years ago. Anyone know if anything has changed in that time?

There was an issue with poulnagree access, has this been resolved or is it still best avoided for now?
I know there was a recent (this year?) collapse in St Catherines. Is this now passable? I assume the through trip to Arran View is still doable given how the water flows?

Bolts - Poul Elva is on Phangers? How about the pull through at the top of Branch passage in poulnagollem?

Thanks for any info!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 12:12:55 pm by paul, Reason: Fixed typo in Subject to assist searches in future (Claire -> Clare) »
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Offline caving_fox

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Re: County Clare
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2019, 04:27:14 pm »
Anybody any suggestions for trips to do in high water?  :o

I'm guessing Coolaugh is completely out, as is the Poul ELva connection, but how much of PoulnaGollem is ok? Branch passage?
How about St Catherines? I know it's usually a bit damp by the wallows? Probably come out of Arran rather than trying to get through to Fisher St?

Any other suggestions?

How do Callum 1 and 2 fare?


We're due to depart on Weds and need to decide whether it's worth risking not getting any caving in, or if we're likely to be able to access some worthwhile systems. Obviously the decision on the day will be down to us looking at the precise forecast and the state of the streams, but any advice is welcome!
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Offline pmccarron97

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Re: County Clare
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2019, 11:44:27 pm »
I'm not really too familiar with the Clare region.

I'll try and follow up again with some members of other clubs which are a bit more familiar in the hope they can give you some insight!  :)
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Offline Cavematt

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Re: County Clare
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 07:53:54 am »
Hi Caving_Fox

My club (York CC) had a long weekend in Clare a few years ago and it absolutely chucked it down on the first day, really heavy and relentless. Based on prior experience we had thought, incorrectly, that Faurnarooska was OK in wetter conditions, but after a very wet trudge up the fell in zero visibility (it is not easy to find) we were met with a wall of water cascading in only 10m into the cave (we returned later that week to realise that actually it probably is very flood prone further in due to low crawls in the stream). We thought our caving weekend was ruined.

The Cullauns too are very flood responsive indeed (1/2/5 being the most popular), as are several of the others you list including Doolin River Cave (St Catherines) and the Pollnegollum and Poulelva Pot system.

I am not really sure what is safe in wet weather; maybe contact SUI for their thoughts?

On a more positive note, we were astonished how quickly after the rain had stopped that the systems drained. The day after the heavy rain which totally wiped everything out, we completed the Pollnagollum/Poulelva exchange trip with no water issues other than a shower in the Poulelva pothole (note that the navigation from Poulelva to Pollnagollum is much more complex than the other way around due to a critical junction it is easy to miss going upstream; PM me for more details), and the day after we were doing Doolin River Cave, again low water even at the Fisherstreet Pot end. We were astonished , it was as if the rain had never happened. We didn't go to some of the mega-flood responsive ones (Coolaugh River Cave) as we suspected they would be unsafe. 

I'm not saying this is always the case; hopefully someone more familiar can provide more details; just sharing our limited experience.

Therefore I'd certainly tread carefully while it is actually actively raining; not much vertical range and rapid run off into the caves... they probably flood quite badly. But be encouraged that if it does stop raining, you shouldn't have to wait more than a day before things start to become passable again.

Have a great trip!
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Offline hannahb

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Re: County Clare
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2019, 08:17:24 am »
We were there in April this year, and we were really lucky with the weather so I can't help with that, but it's worth noting that the recent collapse in Doolin River Cave made for interesting navigation. We didn't find the new route and ended up at stream level beneath & between what used to be the roof. If the weather allows for a trip it would be worth getting information about the new route because we were only able to go that way because of unusually dry weather.

Offline GoneCaving

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Re: County Clare
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2019, 08:20:25 am »
I've been a few times, but the last trip was more than 5 years ago. Anyone know if anything has changed in that time?

There was an issue with poulnagree access, has this been resolved or is it still best avoided for now?
As far as I'm aware yes, still best avoided.

Quote
I know there was a recent (this year?) collapse in St Catherines. Is this now passable? I assume the through trip to Arran View is still doable given how the water flows?
Passable with care as far as I know. And in wet weather conditions make sure to check that the Fisherstreet entrance isn't sumped.

Quote
Bolts - Poul Elva is on Phangers? How about the pull through at the top of Branch passage in poulnagollem?
Yes, and yes.

I'm guessing Coolaugh is completely out, as is the Poul ELva connection, but how much of PoulnaGollem is ok? Branch passage?
Coolagh River definitely best avoided in wet conditions. The Pollnagollum system gets pretty sporting, but should be ok (though trip to Elva will depend on the low section just upstream of the Maze turnoff. Lower section of branch passage gets pretty wet, and the pitch down to main streamway will take water. But the main streamway should be ok if tough going.

Quote
How about St Catherines? I know it's usually a bit damp by the wallows? Probably come out of Arran rather than trying to get through to Fisher St?
The low sections at the entrance probably impassable, the "toilet bowl" likewise, and the Fisherstreet entrance will sump. There was a party caught in there by flood condtions a number of years ago (it is possible to find places to sit it out).

note that the navigation from Poulelva to Pollnagollum is much more complex than the other way around due to a critical junction it is easy to miss going upstream
I can say from distant experience that it's also possible to get caught out going the other way. Make sure you know about the turn towards Poll Elva at the Maze junction (watch out for the drop in the roof and anastomosis)  :-[

Use your judgement when going underground, leave a callout, and if in doubt, there's always McGanns!  :beer2:
PM me if you need some local contacts.

Offline caving_fox

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Re: County Clare
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2019, 09:02:34 am »
Thanks everyone that's very helpful
If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.