3rd Year Trip to Dunmore Caves & Dunbrody
The Dunmore Caves
Our third year group went on a school trip to the Dunmore caves. It was a limestone cave with features such as passages that get bigger over time. Passages are long tunnels formed by underground water dissolving the limestone. There are also stalactites which are slender columns of calcium carbonate which hang from the cave roof. When the drops of water fall onto the cave floor and evaporate they cause calcium carbonate to build up in the form of stalagmites. These are thicker columns of calcium carbonate which form on the floor, directly under the stalactites. Where stalactites and stalagmites meet, pillars exist.
Plants do not grow in underground caves. They only grow when the artificial lights are on. It is only nine degrees in the cave. Tourists admire areas like these. There once was a river that flowed through the cave until a part of the roof of the cave collapsed and blocked the river from flowing in the cave.
There are also many bat species that hibernate in the cave during the winter months. The caves deepest point is 150 foot below the surface. The cave was formed over 300 million years ago. The cave was the site of a Viking massacre.
When spelunkers, explorers of caves, were excavating the cave they found a large amount of bronze and silver items. There were silver, ingots and conical buttons found that dated back to 970 AD. They also found the bones of animals and humans. They found the bones of forty-four people, of which nineteen were female adults and twenty-five were children.
Dunmore Caves contains almost a quarter of a mile of passages. It is of historical and geological interest and our class found it an educational and interesting experience.