Doolin Cave & Visitor Centre – Experience the Great Stalactite!
Visit a world-class Wonder of Nature, the award-winning Doolin Cave and Visitor Centre, located 4 kilometres from the centre of Doolin village, in the heart of the Burren, County Clare. Discover one of the longest Stalactites in the world…
Discover Doolin Cave, an extraordinary underground caving experience in the Burren, County Clare. Take a fully guided tour of one of Europe’s most compelling cave attractions, and go over 200 feet under the limestone of the Burren landscape. Travel back in time over 350 million years and see how the Burren was formed. You’ll journey through a system of passages before emerging in a large chamber which is home to one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, the Great Stalactite – which was once beautifully described as “the palest gleam in the darkest deep”. It is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the northern hemisphere! At 7.3 metres long and weighing an estimated 10 tonnes, it naturally suspends from the cave ceiling like a chandelier. It is hard to believe that this enormous calcite formation was formed from a single drop of water over hundreds of thousands of years. Doolin Cave is a truly authentic visitor experience, and is the only opportunity to see such a large free hanging stalactite anywhere in the world.
Open daily year-round 10 am – 6 pm (last tour @ 5 pm)
Doolin Cave Covid-19 Safety Response
A Guided Tour of Doolin Cave
Step back in time with a guided tour of Doolin Cave. Descend over 70 feet underground, 127 steps, down a metal staircase to follow in the footsteps of the great explorers Brian Varley and JM Dickenson. Once you have reached the bottom of this staircase you will be given a hard hat and told the story of Varley and Dickensons discovery. Your guide will also point out the opening in the cave through which the two men first crawled, making their way to the chamber that houses the Great Stalactite.
Along the way, your guide will describe the development of the cave and the unique method of tunnelling used during the excavation, evidence of which still remains on the tunnel roof. Your guide will also point out some of the formations that are evident along the way before bringing the tour to a stop just outside the main chamber. You will then be brought into the main chamber in complete darkness, re-enacting the environment faced by Varley and Dickenson in 1952. Your guide will then switch on the cave lighting to reveal the Great Stalactite, and take you to another viewing platform located at the base of the main chamber, giving you a 360 degree view of the formation. From here the tour moves onto a second cave chamber and you will get the opportunity to walk through an area that was once a seafloor, where the fossilised remains of sea creatures are clearly evident. Also within this chamber straw stalactites, pillars, bell jars and helicite formations are pointed out by your guide. The tour ends beside a river that flows through this chamber, disappears underground, reappearing just before it flows out on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Journey to the Great Stalactite
Visit the award-winning Doolin Cave and Visitor Centre located 4 kilometres outside the village of Doolin in the heart of the Burren in County Clare. Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers Brian Varley and JM Dickenson and re-live their 1952 adventure to discover the Great Stalactite in the cave’s main chamber. Estimated to weigh over ten tonnes and measure 23feet in length, the Great Stalactite is a true wonder of nature. Don’t miss your chance to view this spectacular heritage attraction. Tours depart daily (year-round) on the hour. Open times: 10 am – 6 pm (last tour @ 5 pm)
The Farmyard Nature Trail
A farmyard nature trail surrounds the visitor centre at Doolin Cave and this one kilometre looped walk is home to many indigenous flora and fauna. Visitors who take the trail can avail of a bird’s eye view of Ballinalacken Castle and the surrounding countryside. The trail ends at the original entrance to Doolin Cave where visitors will also find a fairy village constructed by local school children.
Doolin Cave Pottery
The Visitor Centre also has a gift shop which stocks a range of great gifts including Doolin Cave Pottery. Caireann Browne throws each piece of Doolin Cave Pottery from glacial cave clay which has been hand-dug 120ft deep within the caverns of Doolin Cave. Treat yourself or someone special to a unique piece of Doolin Heritage – It is available to purchase in store or online.
Wild at the Cave
There is a Wild Catering Company café at the visitor centre where you can enjoy some delicious treats, tea/coffee, light lunches and more before or after your cave tour. Picnics can also be provided to enjoy out on the farmland nature trail.
Awards and Accolades
Doolin Cave has received the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence on multiple occasions and was awarded a Gold Award in the Best for Natural Heritage Tourism category at the Irish Responsible Tourism Awards. It has also attained Gold certification from Eco-Tourism Ireland, recognising its commitment to sustainable tourism practices. The management of Doolin Cave are committed to educating visitors about the natural world and local culture.
In the Media
Epic cave trip.
I recently visited Doolin Cave with my other half. We first did the lovely wildlife walk around the grounds of the the visitor centre and took the cave tour after. I have to say it was a fun trip down to see the stalactite. Even though our guide was new to the job and young. He was very knowledgeable and gave loads of interesting facts about the discovery of the cave itself, and the formation of stalactites.
Really enjoyable, well worth a trip if you are in Clare .
Very informative, also had an amusing tour guide,who made the whole event entertaining as well as Epic!. Beautiful grounds above the cave to self-tour when cave tour ended, which was unexpected and delightful!! Highly recommend this as a great side trip. So pretty.