One of the things that visitors to Ireland often comment about is how difficult it can be to find sacred sites, archaeological points of interest, or even special places in the local landscape. Many people remark on how surprised they are to see a wedge tomb in the middle of a farmer’s field, or a standing stone (menhir) near a gate beside a quiet road way. Very few of the special places have signs and those that do are often happened upon by chance.
Thankfully, slowly but surely, sign posts are popping up here and there to direct travelers to some of the jewels in Ireland’s crown. The government is finally beginning to understand that the things they take for granted, things that are part of their heritage and local colour, are actually respected and honoured by outsiders. It’s as if Ireland is a touchstone for those looking for a lost magic and mystery, or a sense of belonging that other places have lost over time.
One such jewel is a little place near Ardgroom, called the Cuas Pier Caves. It’s an unassuming little place at first glance: a small path, a couple of caves, and the sound of waves crashing against the stones. The magic of the place creeps into your bones the longer you stand and listen, the longer you allow the landscape to be absorbed by your senses.
The caves tunnel out from the shore to the open sea. One day I might venture into one of the caves when the tide goes out, but on this day I was happy enough to peer in and listen to the cacophony of drips and splashes, gurgles and murmurings arising from the darkness. There were a few times when the hair on our arms stood on end as we listened; we swore we could hear voices talking among themselves; once we were convinced we could hear a woman calling for someone and whispering earnestly. Nothing like a dark cave and the wild sea to fire up the imagination!
A pathway climbing up the hill affords splendid views of distant mountains, and interesting islands. The cliff views are magnificent. It was amazing watching multitudes of sea birds wheeling around the jagged rocks below us. The path is part of a longer walk known as the Pulleen Loop. I’ll be sure to explore Loop in the summer time when the weather is better and the paths safer. ‘Til then I am off to explore Kilcatherine Cemetary, and pay a visit to the Hag of Beara (I personally don’t dare to call her a hag, in our house she is the Lady or the Cailleach). From my home to yours I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!
Click on the map below to be taken to Google Maps: The inlet to the left of Dreenavogig is where you will find the caves.