Mitchelstown Cave is considered one of the most impressive caves in Europe. While you’re visiting the Knockmealdown Active region they are right on your doorstep. Despite their name, the caves are nowhere near Mitchelstown, they are actually outside the village of Burncourt, which is not even in Cork, it is in County Tipperary, about 4 miles from Ballyporeen village.
Professional guides at the caves will show you through a kilometre of well lit passages although the total length of the system is 3 kilometres. Potholers can access the rest of the caves, but they are not generally open to the public. The temperature is constant at 12 degrees Celsius making it warm in winter and seemingly cooler in the summer months.
Tours are provided for all many types of groups. Primary & Secondary school tours, summer camps and coaches are welcome along with families and holiday makers. For overseas groups the staff are happy for a translator to come along and a longer tour can be catered for in this instance.
The easiest way to get there is to travel into Ballyporeen. Take the turn in Ballyporeen village for Burncourt. Once beyond the village bounds take the third left turn (fourth if you include the left turn in the village). Follow this road for a couple of miles until you come to a T junction, turn left here and the Mitchelstown Caves are about 100 yards away on your left hand side. The Car Park is on the right.
The cave was discovered on May 3rd 1833 when a farm labourer named Michael Condon, who was quarrying limestone, accidentally dropped his crowbar into a crevice that has since been the entrance to the caves. The cave was toured using candles until electricity was introduced and footpaths were installed in 1972 – making it the first cave in Ireland to be developed for the public. It is unique in that it has been kept, by and large, exactly as it was found apart from a few modifications to enable access.
You’ll find the Mitchelstown Cave at the following Loc8 Code: Q47-84-86A.