CGA members took part in a field trip to the limestone caves at Killavullen and Castletownroche in the valley of the River Blackwater. Co. Cork on Saturday, 8th February, 2014. The trip was led by Professor Peter Woodman of U,C,C, who has done much work on Ice Age deposits.
The main bedrock in the area is limestone from the Carboniferous Period about 300 million years ago which was later pressed and deformed during the Variscan Orogeny. This resulted in many folds and fractures. The different types of limestone present are quite permeable so there are many springs along the valley, including some warm water ones.
Some of the caves in the Killavullen area, at least, are known to have been inhabited at various times in the past. Excavations in one of the caves in 1934 revealed remains of deer, brown bear, wolf and reindeer. Other caves near Doneraile and Dungarvan have produced remains of hare and mammoth.
Our final call was to the Labbacallee Wedge tomb, one of the largest of its particular kind in the country. They are so called because the two rows of stones are higher and farther apart at the front and become lower and closer together towards the rear. The approximately 400 of these wedge-shaped tombs in Ireland are mostly confined to the south and west and are very rare in the midlands and east. The Labbacallee tomb is almost 14 metres long and like many of them has its entrance facing southwest.
Below are some photos of the trip,