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The LADS in Ireland 1984-1986

This article by Steve Milner and Pat Cronin was submitted to the Editor of the BB way back in 1986, unfortunately it was lost for many years but here it is at long last!

The LADS were active in Ireland digging around poking their noses here there and everywhere.  They were Pat Cronin, Trebor McDonald, Mark Lumley and Steve Milner.  Their discoveries are as follows: -

Pool an Tobar
Grid ref: Clare 4 79.9E/42.9N
(Cave of the Holy Well)
Length: 96m
Altitude: 280m

Poll an Tobar was discovered on the 17th April 1984, close to the depression of E1.  The water from E1 joins the cave briefly at the most westerly point of the cave, not to be seen again until Pollapooka 1.

The cave, with evidence of much flooding has a few flowstone formations in low canyon passage.  From within the cave five holes to the surface were found, one of which was impassable.  At the most easterly part of the cave the bottom of the well Tobar an Athar Calbhach was discovered.  Many religious articles were found as well as many coins that date between 1913 and 1949. These relics should not be disturbed. There is no evidence of the well from the surface.  SJM.

Grid ref: Clare 4 50.7E/20.4N
(Hole of the LADS)
Length: Approx 80m
Altitude: 230m

Pollnagarsuin, found by Gonzo on the 13th April 1985 is a cave similar in nature to others in the Ballynahown Townland.  It is 405m north of the Townland boundary which crosses the road at the cattle pen. The initial exploration was halted by a formidable oxbow squeeze 70m into the cave.  This was passed in 1986 by Steve after digging the Yoga Bend.  A few meters further on another yoga bend prevents further access to the cave.  SJM.

Milner's Brown Holes
Grid ref: Clare 8a 2.3W/34.5N
Length: Approx 60m
Altitude: 0m

I didn't name them, honest. They are situated north of the Green Holes and west of Pollcraveen.  The caves were found during a rising tide and the original exploration was carried out as the caves were flooding with sea water, perhaps this is where the name came from.  The interconnecting phreatic tubes are extensive and are full of marine life. More passages can be seen past boulders and the careful use of a crowbar would extend the caves.  SJM.

Grid ref: Clare 4 20.5E/9.3N
Length: Approx 50m
Altitude: 3m

This cave is longer than described in Caves of County Clare.  The total length is approx 50m; there are two holes to the surface: one after 8m and the second after 36m.  The cave trends in a NNW direction.  SJM.

Poll an Phuca (Ai)

In April 1984 our attention was drawn to this shaft.   Situated on the north side of Slieve Elva, the cave consisted of an impressive 26m shaft to a floor of boulders.  With no apparent way on and no draught anywhere, what impressed the LADS at the time was the colossal amount of water being swallowed by the boulders.  In April 1986 we decided to allow two days work at this site.  We were rewarded within half an hour by exposing a tremendous draught between the boulders.  Work continued to a depth of 4m where a streamway could be seen.  At this point we had the risk of undermining the boulder pile. This subsequently collapsed.  We had run out of time so we prepared the site for future work and will come back next year.  Pat Cronin.

We never went back, so this exiting lead still remains for future explorers.  SJM.

Curtin's Cave

Curtin's cave is in a small depression at the end of a shallow dry valley.  This hole takes the overflow water from the upper stream. The sink is situated in the garden next to Mr Curtin's cottage.  Permission was granted to the LADS to dig the hole but no work has yet been done. Access is very sensitive hence the vague location.  Pat Cronin.

The Green Holes

Divers: Pat Cronin, Steve Milner, Mark Lumley, Mike McDonald.

With the discovery of the Milner's Brown Holes, one mile north along the coast we decided to investigate the similarities between the two sites.  Though short of air there was enough time to satisfy ourselves of the relevance of one to the other.  This was the first dive for MM and ML.  Pat Cronin.


Many of the above discoveries and efforts by the LADS have been written into the UBSS Cave Notes, County Clare 1986.  This is the second supplement to the book: Caves of County Clare (Self 1981).

Boycott, A. Soc., 1986, and Wilson, L.J., Proc. Univ. Bristol Spelaeol. 17(3), 343-354.

Steve Milner.
July 1989.