TRIP REPORT, CO CLARE, April2000
Attended by: Aisling Walls (AW), Stephen McCullagh (SMC), Johnny Magowen (JMG), John Duncan (JD), Karen Aleska (KA), Des McNally (DMN), Kieron Harkin (KH), TJ Connolly (TJC), Ed Whelan (EW), Garrett Devitt (GD), Rachel Jordan (RJ)
To break with one of the longest traditions in QUBCC, this time John Duncan was willing to drive the minibus and I, Stephen, was allowed to sit in the back and join the rest of them shouting abuse at the driver. With the minibus collected from the dreaded Value Vans and with 7 not so sane people in tow, Co Clare was our destination.
Apart from the odd stop on the way down notably
- Killykeegan whereby we loaded up the van with some caving gear and unloaded some of our beer to the ravenous occupant who looks after the gear.
and, - Galway where Mc Donagh’s fish and chip shop was visited.
The journey went fairly quickly - Too quickly I must say. I’ve never heard so many people wanting me to drive must be something to do with JD almost jumping Lisdoonvarna and seeing an illuminous statue of Mary - which we took as a strange sign of imminent doom. With Doolin finally reached and several plans hatched for annoying Des e.g. phoning the pub and saying that we are stuck in Belfast still etc. they were all scuppered when Des seemingly like a leprecaun looking for his pot of gold jumped out of a hedge on us- the strange omens were continuuing.
With the pub finally reached the slagging got of to a slow start - The calm before the storm. After a couple of pints the house was found and the night was properly started. From here on the night took on a surreal atmosphere with the emergence from the closet of the one and only pink dog, pink cat, Gay dog. (He was a bit confused a bit like his owner I must add). After an hour of videotaped madness (mudskipping dancers) bed was found for what turned out for a few members to be a unforgettable night. If you haven’t heard the story by now your not getting out often enough but for those members they’ll never hear the end of it.
The next day after a healthy breakfast - Queen’s have turned over a new leaf - Faunarooska was the cave of choice, well it was the only one we could be bothered doing. With Des leading and the rest of us following the cave was entered.
The cave is entered through the Faunarooska entrance (doh!!) whereby the first half of the cave consisted of winding Vadose passage. For the uninitiated it is passageway that looks like a long rift which can be negotiated by taking a fencing stance and hopping sidewards slowly - quite funny indeed. After winding too and fro in the cave the beautiful grotto (??) is passed and the more open phreatic tube like part of the cave is found. On past the wet pitch slot and into the last reasonable sized chamber before the passageway closes down toward the dry pitch. The cave using different leaders, was then quickly exited.
After that Poll Dubh was attempted.
After an initial surprise for some when trying to find the cave (namely Johnny M who decided to do an impersonation of a bog man hoping to be dug up in a thousand years time when long hair is cool) the Poll Dubh north through trip was picked as a short cave. After scuttling up easy streamway a point was reached whereby there was two routes;
- The high route for people who are either fat or Hydrophobic and the low route for the more aquatic, skinney people. With most people taking the higher route (I don’t know what says about our club) this section of the cave was completed and then came the silly bit whereby meself, Johnny and JD got stuck in a small part of the cave at the same time which might indicate that we’re not hydrophobic but the other. After finding the exit pot and bypassing what Johnny claimed was the biggest spider ever the minibus was found and we ventured of back to our base.
After cooking a lovely dinner (thanks JD and Ashers) Mc Gann’s pub was next on the agenda. Finding Des and JD engrossed in conversation with the local "character!!" was quite funny (Des tell us again about the Temple bar) until he unfortunately decided to leave (unwillingly I might add). After formally introducing ourselves to an American the slagging started. As I’ve always complained before the slagging started on me (my God it’s not my fault) but after a few minutes it eventually drifted around the table stopping at Johnny ‘fungus thighs’, TJ ‘Troll’, Des ‘Baldy’, Kieran ‘nocturnal habits’, JD ‘anything to keep him quiet’, Karen "starey eyes" and Aisling ‘mudskipper’ then back to me and at that point 3 more Dubs appeared - Ed ‘not as evil as people say but damn close’, Gar ‘the man who likes punching people’ and Rachael ‘the girl who likes getting punched’. Things strangely became civilised again. An hour later and back at the ranch, Gay dog appeared again and within minutes mysteriously vanished ( who could have done that the git ! ). A few more drinks later and the beds were found, some were a lot more occupied than others.
Next morning an early rise was necssary (??) 10:00 am and with breakfast in us the lot of us split into two groups - The SRT’ing group for Poll na gCeim (DES, JD, SMN,ARMIN,GD, JMG) and the lazy gits group for Pollnagree (SMC, ED, AW, TJ, KH, RJ, KA)
Pollnagree situated somewhere in the Burren(??) was entered under an aging water pump and down a 45 degree angle slope until the cave enters an area of crawling and through into tight canyons again. After what seems like an hour of walking sidewards the lower part of the canyon becomes too tight necessitating a high level traverse with a few people not necessarily liking this a decision was made to exit the cave.
Poll na gCeim
Can’t say much about this trip as I wasn’t there but based on the smiles of certain people it was a damn good trip.
(It was a damn good trip – JD)
After exiting the caves dinner was made (my stew special with the special Eoghan Mullan ingredient) and we drifted off back to the pub whereby a rejuvenated Johnny awaited and managed to keep us all entertained for well over 3 hours (to think we thought he was in a depressed mood earlier on)
-The Japanese cyclopse
-I’m going to talk to someone sensible
-The Rock joke (Well Johnney didn’t say it but he laughed at it a lot)
Later on back at the house we had one of the shortest parties ever Aisling and her new found friends, sorry potential victims, arrived and quickly left.
Next morning and with one member suspiciously missing and then later found in a cupboard under the stairs, an early morning wash in the sea was needed. With the sensible people wearing wet suits and the probably drunk people not, most people jumped into the sea and subsequently jumped quicker out of it. Later on with the house and gear cleaned the trip back home was undertaken With short stop overs in Galway and at Les’s and a moment of hallucination by John (Not good when you are driving) Belfast was reached at 1:30am.