The Mitchelstown Cave
On Ireland tours between Clonmel and Mitchelstown is Ardfinnan , where a beautiful fourteen-arched stone bridge crosses the Suir and a private castle stands on the hillside opposite.
Follow the foot of the Knockmealdowns for several miles and you come to Clogheen , and here you can turn off the mountains , towards the terrific scenic point known as The Vee.
Continuing along the same route , you will come to Ballyporeen , and this is where Ronald Reagan came to in June of 1984 , to see the birthplace of his great-grandfather who was supposedly born here in 1810. Opposite the Ronald Reagan pub is a specially built centre where you can read all about and view photos of the visit.
Eight miles from Mitchelstown itself , you will findthe massive pre-glacial underworld of the Mitchelstown Cave – the main attraction in the area and worth seeing on any tours of Ireland.
Mitchelstown Cave is by far the most extensive and complicated cave system in Ireland. It is a couple of miles long , and , it has remained , considering its scale , very uncommercial….a bit of a hidden gem.
The whole underground system was discovered in 1833 , when a labourer lost his crowbar down a crevice , though there are records from much earlier of the cave being used as a hiding place , most famously to shelter the Earl of Desmond after his unsuccessful rebellion in 1601.
The cave was formed by the action of rainwater on the limestone over millions of years , and the stone formations grew out of the calcium carbonate ( dissolved limestone ) deposited by dripping water , hardening as it evaporated into gigantic encrustations of stalactites and stalagmites which are a must see attraction. The temperature in the caves is around 54 degrees Farenheit – this can feel chilly in summer , so bring a sweater. Tours only take in a few of the major cavities but are still , nonetheless , worth taking.